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BY COLUMNISTS

| Joe Charlebois | Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Norman M. Covert | Hayden Duke | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Edward Lulie III | Tom McLaughlin | Patricia Price | Cindy A. Rose | Richard B. Weldon Jr. | Brooke Winn |

DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


October 9, 2005

Meat Loaf, Cookies, Cake, Cooking and Ocean City

Tom McLaughlin

I wanted some comfort food and decided to make a meat loaf. The thing could have caused a major concussion if thrown at someone or several stitches if the corner hit above the eye. It was that awful.

The recipe called for bread crumbs. Instead, I grabbed some slices, tore them up and threw them in the mixture. It called for two eggs, I broke three. I asked mom what to do about it. She said pour some tomato sauce over it. That didn't help.

Next, I went to the grocery store and looked at some of those skillet dinners. You see, Dad and I are batching it now that mom is in the hospital. The directions on one of the meals said it would be ready in eight minutes. It was worse than the meat loaf.

Dad and I both have a sweet tooth. The urge occurs after dinner and consists of a small piece of pie, cake, and cookie, chocolate of course. I drove to the Super Fresh and bought a store made cake. Dad and I enjoyed a piece after dinner.

The only problem was, I had developed a milk allergy and forgot to check the label. About an hour later, I noticed the bloating. The beach house has three large decks where ocean breezes and sometimes gale force winds blow constantly. I was able to rush out in time to expel gas that had built up.

“Why do you keep going out there, Tom?” Dad asked.

“Mars is rising over the sea and I am watching it,” I lied as I made another mad dash to the porch. This kept up as Mars rose and set. I moved a cot onto the deck so I could expel and sleep at the same time.

Since I had not exercised for awhile, I joined the Ocean City Health Club across the street. The problem was the machines were different from the one in Fitness First in Frederick.

I had to make an appointment with a trainer who turned out to be 23 but looked 14. We went over the regime and I asked him if we could go bar hopping together. I would hit on the younger ladies while he could work on the older females in the great mating game. He was not to keen on that idea.

Atlantic General Hospital is where mom was residing until her movement to the Rehabilitation Center a stones throw away, both in Berlin, MD. I don't care what anyone says, the Intensive Care Unit can scare the hell out of anyone. When you look at someone all hooked up in there it resembles the Frankenstein movie before the dwarf yells “It’s alive!” It’s alive!” There are more gadgets in that place than on the Space Shuttle.

We got through that; then to rehab. Dad and I are the rooting section as mom starts to learn how to walk again. I yell 2-4-6-8 who do we appreciate? Go Mom go!

I beg her to hurry so she can come back and cook. I tell the rehab girls that to take her home she has to be able to push a vacuum cleaner from the wheel chair. I keep hitting on the younger ones asking if they like older men. They think I am cute. I hope.

I can't keep my mind on the book I am reading, John Irving’s new one, Until I Find You. I now take an old 1940’s collection of sea stories to the beach and sit in my sand chair. Most of the bikini clad girls are gone now. We are talking about radiation for the inoperable lung tumor.

That scares me. I don't want her hurt. I don't want her to be in pain. My tears taste the same as the sea. Hey Big Guy, I yell, meaning God. Where the ocean meets the sky, take her sailing! A paraphrase and prayer, from the song.



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