Adjusting to life's changes with hope… through poetry, haiku, and commentary

Odds and Ends No. 63


The alarm went off at zero two thirty
as planned. On the road to the
airport by zero three fifteen. The

only thing I asked myself on that
drive was, “Where in the heck are
all these people going at this hour?”

She had to get there two hours before
her flight because of construction—
so, it was now about four. I pulled

away from the terminal. Where did
the sign go? Where did the turn off
go? The next sign I saw let me know

that I was about to get on the wrong
highway heading East instead of West.
I got off at the next exit to turn around.

I was thinking coffee, food, or sleep. I
made my way through downtown
Phoenix back on the 17 heading

North to the 101 and exit at 67th Ave
going North. All the things I thought
about were for nothing. Looking left

and right as I drove North. Donut shop,
closed. Egg and cheese, closed. Burritos,
closed. Bagels, closed. Nothing open yet

at four in the morning in my neck of
the desert. Bright lights ahead. Gas
station. I was dying. Their fresh fast

food (oxymoron alert) counter wasn’t
open yet. There it was sitting under a
heat lamp marked down to a dollar—

a lone wrapped sausage biscuit from
the previous business day. It was mine!
Well, of course it was; it had to be okay.

I was sure it had enough chemicals in
it, plus the heat lamp all night. The
chances of it killing me were slim.

I sat in the car, took a sip of coffee and
a bite of my first food of the day. The
biscuit stuck to the roof of my mouth.

I took another sip of coffee. (Would
have Army field rations been a better
choice?) Bite, sip. Bite, sip, bite, sip

and I was on the road again. A few more
miles to go and I was home. This stop
set the stage for a bad food day. I was

too tired to cook anything and too over
tired to go to sleep in the middle of the
day. I wanted to watch episode six of

of the Vietnam War film. I ran out for
fast food and watched it. Did some
writing, then watched episode seven.

I’m sitting here in shock at the huge
amount of lying at high levels. (My
emotional response is unprintable!)

The film told amazing stories. Like the
one about a young North Vietnamese
girl (of hundreds of them) who drove

trucks at night on the Ho Chi Minh trail.
Her boyfriend was an engineer working on
a different section of one of these roads.

When the film narrator showed a picture
of them both then, but said they found
each other after the war and got married,

I cheered, thanking God they made it. Well,
what do you expect? My hiking boots are
made in Vietnam; the pho soup in my

pantry is made in Vietnam. The war, thank
God, is over; but I have three episodes left
to watch. I hope I can live through them!

Tough going watching this series. But I’m
glad. My memories of Vietnam remain my
own, but the film is adding information

and perspectives I didn’t fully understand
before. But some things don’t change. I
still love all of Vietnam and all of her

people hoping that my love for them is
becoming more like the Lord’s love for
me. Crazy long day. Crazy long emotional

day revisiting Vietnam, too. But all is well.
Looks like PB&J or pho while I watch the
next episode. Then bed; I’m whipped.

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3 Responses to “Odds and Ends No. 63”

  1. jazzytower

    As I read this I turned on the TV to see if it, Viet Nam’ was on at this time of day. It was. I don’t know what episode I’m up to. It all still grabs you by the throat and you ‘can’t believe’. Oh, they just said it, I’m coming up on Kent State. Episode 8. I get the feeling this is a repeat. This was a good write, I enjoyed reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • alslaff

      Thank you. I watched episode 10, the final episode last night. The whole series was difficult for me to watch, but I felt that it was important for me to watch. Worthwhile from an historical or personal perspective. Watching the series has motivated me to finish the book about Vietnam I’ve been writing more than ever! As a linguist in Vietnam, Vietnam was a very important part of my life experiences. Still plugging away at both–the book and life.

      Like

      Reply
      • jazzytower

        Those talking heads at that time…a bunch of big fat liars weren’t they!! Getting the book done can only be a good thing I think. Like a purging, so to speak. And then you see where you are from there. Good writing then:)

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply

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