Friday, June 18, 2010

Sparrow Talk & Erin Joins The Army

After a cool session of yoga last Tuesday with our lovely and enigmatic instructor Beth, I returned to the Las Americas and watered the garden.
"Here little plants," I said to them. "Are you thirsty? Yes, you are, I see that. Drink up! Drink up!"
As I was watering our peppers, sage, and strawberry plants, a little brown sparrow alighted on my left shoulder and began talking to me.
"Pssstt! Psssssttt! Hey Ebu dec Handikcourtsby!" It said.
"Hey, what the..."
"It's me again, Joyce, Sir Thinkencrouser, Knight of the Order of Sparrows, and messenger for Prince Aka de Tagogilein."
"What?" It's not often that birds land on my shoulder and begin talking to me. Besides I had taken my meds that morning so the conversation shouldn't have been happening at all, yet...
"Don't you remember me?" my little feathered friend asked. "When you saved the Prince from a horrible death last year... I came and spoke to you."
"Oh yes," I said. "I remember now." Indeed, how could I forget. (see, Beautiful Little Bird & Friend of the Sparrows) "What's up?!"
"The Prince's wife, Princess Urraer de Arccecaer asked me to search for you and thank you for saving the Prince's life again."
"What are you talking about, Sir Thickenship..."
"Whatever, I didn't save any...
"According to the Princess you did, and she's well, hardly ever wrong about these kinds of things."
"When did she say this happened?"
"During The Great Repairing of the Two Wheeled Monsters. Don't you remember? The Princess said she saw you plain as day, and you were the only one who helped."
"The Great Repairing of the Two Wheeled Monsters?"
"The freaking bike clinic, Joyce! Try and keep up."
"Oh yes, I remember now." (see, Janis Joplin, The Bike Clinic, And The Rescue Of The Prince Of Sparrows) "Is the Prince alright? What was the matter with him?"
"The Prince drinks a bit too much sometimes."
"He was drunk?"
"So that's why he couldn't fly..."
"He could hardly freaking hop," Sir Thinkencrouser observed.
"Yeah... I was real worried... and then some other bird came and sat on him..."
"The Princess, yeah, she slapped the be-Jesus out of him."
"And then they flew off together."
"He was trying to get away from her. He sure could fly after that."
We both had a good laugh at that.
"Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha..." I said
"Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha..." Thinkencrouser echoed.
"Anyway," he continued," The Princess wanted you to know that the Kingdom of the Sparrows is once again in your debt..."
"Well, that's perfectly okay, I was glad to help..."
"...and we wanted to know if there was anything we could do for you, you know, sparrow-wise?"
"Ah, not that I can think of at the moment..."
"Pigeons giving ya any trouble?"
"Ah, not me personally. Huummm, my friends Paul and Erin seem to have some problems with them, well, you know... on their cars..."
"Crapping all over them, are they?"
"Pigeons will do that. I'll see what I can do."
"Do you know which cars..."
"The Maiden of Death, and The Thin White Duke? Sure, we know what cars they drive. Consider it done."
"Wow, thanks I really appreciate it."
"No prob, man. Well, I have to be going..."
"Give my regards to the Prince and Princess for me."
"I certainly will, oh Ebu dec Handikcourtsby, Friend of the Sparrows."
At that he flew away and I went inside.
I went to the case manager's office as it was almost time for the Drama Free Support Group to begin.
"Erin," I said, "you won't believe what just happened..."
"Ready to play poker, Rickers?"
She's been calling me Rickers lately. I hope it's a term of endearment.
"I certainly am, Eriners."
We'd been playing way too much dominoes lately, and I was going to teach Erin, Paul, and if he showed up, my arch rival... Hardy, how to play poker, specifically Five Card Draw. Erin and I had shopped at the Dollar Store just to get Poker Playing Cards. All they had there though were U.S. Navy playing cards, with "Anchors Aweigh," printed on the back. It was either those or Indiana Jones.
We played out in the dinning area. My three students picked up the game quickly, and soon were beating the crap out of me. Erin said, "I like this game." Which was good as it is always nice to have enthusiastic players.
Hardy was hardly enthusiastic, grumping throughout, even though with a little help he soon began winning some hands. We used little pieces of elbow macaroni for chips. Paul actually ran out of his before the rest of us, making him the LOOOOSSSEERR!
Still, I did have to teach some of the finer points of the game to my charges.
"No Erin, it's probably not a good idea to discard a pair of tens to try and get five cards of the same color. You might want to hold on to those."
"But I was picturing how pretty five red ones would be..."
During the last hand, when it was time to give our beloved case managers the boot for the day, Paul kept wanting to bet his little macaronis even though we had finished playing.
"I still want to bet," he said.
"We'll play again someday, Paul. You can bet then," I assured him.
The very next day we went on a trip. I had invited Erin and Paul to the Downtown VA Clinic, as they were having some kind of "VA Welcome Home," affair, and I was allowed to bring visitors. My case managers had never been inside the building and seemed to be excited to go and take a look.
After watching a particularly harrowing You Tube video of a 3 year old girl crying her little heart out for about five minutes over Canadian heartthrob, Justin Bieber, the three of us took off for the clinic.
Of course... Hardy was waiting for us at the front door.
"Going somewhere, huh?"
"Yes Hardy. Do you want to come with us?"
So we all piled into Erin's Range Rover, or whatever it is she drives, and made our way north on Alameda.
Half kidding I warned my friends not to sign anything while inside the building.
"Why?" Paul asked.
"Well, with the way these recruiter's are acting I wouldn't be surprised that if you did, you'd wind up in Iraq or Afghanistan within the month."
"You'd be officers though, but that just means you'd have to be in front while on patrol."
The VA Welcome Home event was designed to enroll veteran's into the VA health care system, especially those who have just returned from service in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our little group didn't have anyone who qualified so we were mainly left to ourselves.
I took everybody on a little tour of the building. The canteen, pharmacy, the special clinic where vets are treated for addiction problems, and where I attend the Depression Group on Mondays.
Erin and Paul liked all of the nice pictures they have on the walls, pictures of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, The Beatles, etc. They are nice.
"See this guy Erin? He's they guy who wrote that song Paul and I sang for you on your birthday. 'Here Comes the Sun.'"
"Oh. I like his haircut."
Then I showed Erin, Paul, and Hardy, the second floor waiting room where vets can hang out all day and watch TV if they want. A bunch of tables were set up outside on the veranda displaying many of the services available to vets in and around the Los Angeles area. Paul seemed especially interested in these and spoke to many of the people there about the various programs offered.
I was listening to Paul speak to a representative of a veteran housing facility in West L.A., when I saw Erin out of the corner of my eye at another nearby table promoting dietary aids for fat vets. It looked like she was about to sign something on a clipboard.
Sign something?
Sign something!
As if in slow motion I shouted out "Noooooooooooooooo!!!!!" as I ran towards her.
But it was too late.
The last we've heard she's already been through boot camp in Alabama of all places, and is now in an undisclosed location within the Kandahar Province in the south of Afghanistan getting ready for the upcoming offensive.
We all wish her well.

No comments:

Post a Comment