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May 20, 2007

A Summer Off

Tom McLaughlin

My best-laid plans for the summer crashed and burned the other day. The person I had relied upon to take care of my Alzheimer's patient father became unavailable. I won't go into the details. Suffice it to say she was a lover. It was because, well, there was violation, not of the sexual kind, but of trust. I had to ask her to leave.

Now I am seeking care for Dad. I am trying to keep him in the townhouse. But, as many of you know who have walked this walk, it is not easy. I can't put him in a nursing home. Not yet.

I am not ready for him to take that journey although it would be easy. This nasty old codger who has hated my guts since as long as I can remember will stay while I am away. I have a few leads. I will send him to the old folk's home when he can no longer remember. Remember what, I am not sure. I want to give him the best send off prior to his walk with the Lord.

My youngest graduates from Middletown High School in a few weeks. College is in her future. September. Like most of us were, and I still am, she doesn't know what she wants to do for the future. Social work, counseling, teaching, health related field. She will explore for the next four years.

Did I do a good job in raising her? That question will never be answered. One thing she has promised me, though. She will vote Democrat. In that sense I have succeeded beyond my wildest expectations. Yes, I did a good job. We are going on a trip together this summer. I want to give her a good send off for college.

The trip? Kuala Lumpur, Sandaakan, Kuching, Mulu, Kota Kinabalu, Melaka, Singapore, (get out a map) Brisbane, the Great Barrier Reef, Sydney, Melbourne over three months. And Kuala Pilah.

We will be working with the monkeys in Borneo at a resettlement camp, those that have lost their way because of logging. Assisting research in a jungle canopy. The Sydney Opera House and Kola Bear hospital. People say my daughter will not be the same after this trip. They call it a life changing experience. Maybe I can get her to talk to you about it.

I am walking back to the past. I will be looking for an old girlfriend of 30 years ago. She was a Malay girl from the kampung where I lived. We had one of those passionate secretive loves, hiding behind trees, daring not to let others know. Was I going to bring her back to America? I can't answer that.

I was in a horrible traffic accident. They had to fly me back to the states. It took a couple of years to put me back together. Then graduate school, marriage, Saudi Arabia, kids. You know how it goes.

But I am finally going back. I wonder if she is still there. Did she get married? If so, which wife? (Remember this is an Islamic culture, they can and do have up to four) I hope she is the first one. Higher status.

I found a nice couple to live in with Dad. Passed private investigation. I was close to hiring an agency, but they would have had several people coming and going on 12 other shifts. Besides, many friends from Frederick will be coming and going this summer, old friends from Salisbury and townhouse neighbors will be reporting to my brother Jeff, who will also come for a while.

I will try to send The Tentacle a column or two, or three while on my journey. A picture or two to share. I will watch out for Internet cafes.

Have a great summer my friends and I will try to keep in touch.

Yellow Cab
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