Twists and Turns

14 Aug

This afternoon I got into my truck to drive into town and saw Widget, my Australian Heeler, walk out from his place in the shade of the mock orange bushes on the side of the house. He’d come out to see me and the least I could do was return the favor. I got out, knelt down and rubbed the sleep from the corners of his eyes and when he was looking square into mine I asked him to please come find me in heaven. I told him I’m going to need his help and that I hope he’ll meet me whenever I show up. Widget’s brown eyes showed no sign of comprehension, but if you don’t ask, the answer’s always no. So I asked, and personally, I think he’ll be there when the time comes.

Back in the truck and driving down the long driveway past the barn and stables, the arena full of weeds, and out the gate I thought about the time with Widget and about the changes that will happen in my life because of how I spent those two minutes. Each decision changes everything that follows and each day is filled with an almost infinite stream of moments. Twists and turns that lead to….more twists and turns. And whither then? What’s out there waiting round each corner? The only answer is the one the grizzled New Englander whittling on the front porch of the general store gave to the tourist asking whether it was going to rain that day; “Hard tellin’, not knowin'”.

Tomorrow I’m taking grandkids to a resort hotel down on the coast. They want to go on a water slide that corkscrews for a hundred and twenty feet of distance and thirty or so feet of elevation change and empties into a pool near a cave-like grotto. Almost twenty-six years to the day, the very same hotel was about to open its doors to customers and I was doing punch list clean up work for the terrazzo company I was working for. The pools had just been filled and were being inspected for leaks and new hotel staff was being trained. Most of the construction crews were long gone but there was still quite a few workers like myself on the grounds, aware that very soon we were going to have to move on, find other work or take a long unpaid vacation. (A resume of mine had been in the hands of the Operations Manager of Atlantis Submarines in Kona for a few months but that’s another story, and at the time I had no idea what, if anything, was going to happen there.)

Four o’clock rolled by and someone put three garden hoses at the top of the water slide and turned them on full blast. Another someone found a bottle of dishwashing soap and slicked up the first twenty feet of the slide walls with it. Word spread fast and in no time there were about ten construction workers stripped down to their blue jeans and whooping and hollering as they followed each other down that slide to splash into the pool overflowing with soap suds. We were celebrating, that much was clear, but what?  The end of the day? A job well done? The unknown that waited somewhere out ahead of us?

It didn’t take long for someone to chase us out of there, but for a few beautiful minutes we were just kids having a good time, the first of many to come, sliding happily down that slide and headlong into the future. Tomorrow I’m going to have to pay for the pleasure of revisiting my past. My grandkids will think I’m there with them, little knowing that I’ll be time traveling with a big smile on my face, moving backwards along the twists and turns of the past decades until I meet myself one hot afternoon a long time ago, the first guy down the water slide.

(the slide now)

18 Responses to “Twists and Turns”

  1. billgncs August 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    reminds me of the Robert Louis Stevenson quote when asked if he thought dogs would be in heaven: “I tell you, they will be there before us”

    good story, as grownups, we sometimes forget to play

    • dmmacilroy August 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

      Dear Billgncs,

      You’re a fast reader, sir, and right about dogs in heaven. Thanks for going down the slide with me.



  2. rochellewisoff August 14, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    My philosophy in life has always been, “Getting older is inevitable. Growing up is optional.” That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Let’s never forget how to play.

  3. Sandra August 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    Enjoyed the trip down the water slide, and down the years too. Don’t play too hard now…

  4. Carol Deminski August 14, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    I think you should purposefully tell your grandkids that you helped build these water slides – they can’t help but be impressed! Share your past with them, even tell them the story that you were one of the first people to slide down the slides, and that you filled the pools with bubbles.

    These are the kinds of stories that kids remember, and it’s important to share who you are and your history with them.

    Now, if the kids are really little (5, 6?) then they won’t remember, but if they are older they almost definitely will.

    I have very fond memories of my grandmother from when I was a child, and she had a tremendous influence on me.

    Spread your love Doug, I know you will.

  5. 8teen39 August 15, 2012 at 2:20 am #

    Doug, you have a real talent for drawing your reader in, making them feel what you feel. I hope you are sharing these posts with family, too. They are lucky to have someone like you in their lives.

  6. Running from Hell with El August 15, 2012 at 4:28 am #

    This also resonates with me, Doug! It’s like we wrote about life and memories but from opposing viewpoints!

    I grinned at the thought of y’all flying down those water slides in your jeans!

    I really appreciate the way you write. I was right along there with you.



    • Running from Hell with El August 15, 2012 at 4:34 am #

      Doug–I want to share this on my FB page. May I quote the last two paragraphs, or is that too big of a chunk? My readers are lazy about clicking through unless they get a big enough taste (and even then, they often do not click on the link–sigh).

      • dmmacilroy August 15, 2012 at 5:10 am #

        Dear El,

        Just got back from the water slides, sunburned and smiling from my trip down memory lane. Talked with a lot of workers at the resort including the guy in his high beach chair controlling the line at the start of the water slide. He said, “No way!” when I told him.

        Good day, good times. Thanks for reading and commenting.

        And yes, of course, I’d be honored to have you post any of this on your stellar blog, El. Go for it.



      • dmmacilroy August 15, 2012 at 5:18 am #

        Oops, El, Yes, post on FB or anywhere for that matter.

        Ciao, D.

  7. valeriedavies August 15, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    He will be there for you. he’s already there for you…I’m an authority on dead dogs, having had seventeen live ones that eventually went to heaven. Sometimes we had a message back – the scent of the flowers that went with them, or some other sign.
    How do I find my way back to your poetry site, please, Doug?

    • dmmacilroy August 15, 2012 at 7:38 am #

      Dearest Valerie,

      I believe you and will add your thoughts to the energy message I send him every time I ask him to meet me there. Thank you.

      I’m not sure what you mean about my ‘poetry’ site, Valerie. All I have is You might have to scroll backwards a bit. I think I have written three, maybe four poems. (I’m always repeating The Three Toed Tree Toad because it bears repeating, but i didn’t write it, sad to say.)

      I’m so happy to see you here. Trying to download some pictures of the day for possible inclusion into a wrap up post. We’ll see.



  8. Russell August 15, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    I think there’s a country song that says, “if there ain’t no dogs in heaven, I don’t want to go.” Personally, I think God created dogs to for an example of how we are supposed to love – unconditionally.
    I enjoyed the flashback and it brought back memories of my days in construction and some of the guys I worked with. Like 8teen39 said, you have a great way of drawing us into feeling what you feel. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • dmmacilroy August 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

      Dear Russell,

      Thanks. I always feel kind of nervous posting ‘current event’ items like that. (“Tomorrow I’m going to the hotel I helped build a thousand years ago…”) Your kind comments reassure me that every now and then it’s okay to slide down memory lane.

      I’ll bet working on your construction crew was a hoot, Russell. Lots of laughter always make the hot days go faster and the hard days seem easier.

      Consensus on the dogs ability to help me is that I’m going to get my wish. Cool. Now someone just has to tell Widget.



  9. Jeannie August 16, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Love these precious moments in time! And here you are making new ones with the grandkids. Carry on!

  10. tedstrutz August 16, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    Nice remembrance, Doug. And the thoughts that went along…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: