Monday, June 14, 2010

Near Death Experiences

There are many who wonder about near-death experiences. Enough that the topic frequently becomes a plot twist in TV dramas - especially when the writers run out of ideas.

Take the TV show, Walker, Texas Ranger. Admit it, you have watched this classic show, starring American icon Chuck Norris. Remember the episode in which Walker has been shot. His heart stops. We know this because the monitor flat lines and it makes a buzzing sound. Walker is dead.

But wait! He is only half-dead.

His friends, who have circled his bed, don’t notice that Walker is actually floating on the ceiling. Walker reaches for the white light. But first he has to relive past life experiences – which consist of a montage of previous episodes. This takes about a half-hour. Just as he’s about to go to the “other side”, he hears a voice.

“Walker, don’t leave me!” It’s his extremely hot girlfriend. Walker decides to come back.

Some scientists are skeptics when it comes to Chuck Norris and near-death experiences. They think these experiences are bunk, the result of the brain being deprived of oxygen. They also think Morgan Freeman is not really God.

Personally, I never gave near-death experiences much thought. But then I had one.

You may recall from previous ditties that I tend to be somewhat of a spontaneous “doer” – only pausing ever so slightly to reflect on the possible consequences of my actions. And it really doesn’t matter if my grand adventures involve potentially risking life and limb of others – the more the merrier from my perspective. My grandchildren still talk about the winter of Grandma’s Death March involving the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys on a hot, glaringly bright day. (One granddaughter is still thankful she spent that day in the emergency room in Marathon while the others who participated still wish I had let the police pick up us for trespassing!)

Not surprisingly it has become routine for Barry, my ever patient husband, to admonish me each time he leaves with a stern, “Don’t do anything stupid while I am gone. Be careful!” He assumes that an admonition not to do anything stupid covers every possible scenario. It does not.

I can achieve stupidity with unbelievable speed when left to my own devices! Which is exactly why my twin grandsons will always remember last winter’s Florida Key’s experience known as Grandma’s Wretched Kayaking Adventure a.k.a The Night We Almost All Drown or What Can Happen When Grandpa Leaves Grandma in Charge.

Who knew the wind could come up so fast out on the Atlantic? Who knew that getting to a place with the wind at your back was so much different than getting back home from that place as you desperately tried to paddle a two-person, sit-a-top kayak over choppy seas as the sun was setting and the temperature dropping?

Oh, did I mention said kayak was loaded with a four-year-old grandson and an over-protective Border collie? Neither of which were manning a paddle of their own I might add. I vividly remember at one point wondering if I could swim and drag the kayak faster than I was paddling – one stroke forward, four strokes backwards was not exactly the progress towards shore I was wanting. And it didn’t help that off in the distance I could see neighbors standing on their balconies pointing in our general direction – obviously either impressed with my kayaking prowess or wondering at what point they should call the Coast Guard.

My daughter-in-law, Jill, manning a kayak loaded with a twin herself – having been talked into this insane adventure by yours truly – kept calling back at me; “Are you okay? Do you want me to tow you?” She sounded like my husband, only more patronizing. Who did she think I was? An old, rather chronically ill woman who just completed a series of chemotherapy?

I kept going. My arms screamed. I stopped singing My Paddle Gleaming Bright and started mumbling – and this goes back to near death experiences – Barry is going to kill me! Aaron is going to kill me!

We made it to shore without the assistance of the Coast Guard – none of us the worse for wear except for aching arms, chilled bodies and the concussion I would soon have.

The concussion would be caused when either my husband or my son (father to the twins) would hit me upside the head as they said, “I told you not to do anything stupid!”

Actually, that’s not true. Barry is a loving, patient, and understanding husband – the best thing I ever did for myself. Aaron grew up with me as his mother and knows what to expect by now. But I would rather be smacked upside the head sometimes than endure the torrent of “I told you so’s” from all of them. They think I should give up my adventuresome ways now that I am more mature. More ‘fragile’ as the grandchildren put it.

Why don’t they just kill me now? That way I could float up on the ceiling like Walker. I can see it now.

“Come back, Candis (mom, grandma),” they will all plead. “We didn’t mean it. You can go off on whatever spontaneous adventures you want and we won’t say a word!”

“Well, OK,” I will reply, “But have you seen how much dust is on top of this ceiling fan?”

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.”  - Helen Keller

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