Becoming  Megowan

Part 1

Posted 4/11/09

Well, I gotta tell ya, getting to this chapter has been difficult… Not because I didn’t want to write it, but because I’ve been busy… distracted… unavailable… lazy…

So, ready to proceed to the next chapter, I showed up at the front door of the Megowan estate…  It was the beginning of  just about the best year of my life up to the time I went into the Navy… It was a blast!

I must have knocked on the front door, and somebody must have answered because I ended up inside the house. Honestly, the first thing I remember is not getting to the house from the bus station, not being greeted, not walking into the house, not meeting everyone in the family – I don’t remember any of that stuff…

The first thing I remember is Mr. Megowan and I alone in the rec room with the door shut… He had a pipe in his mouth…  I had teeth in mine…  He looked me in the eye… I looked him in the eye… And Then it began… The inquisition…

“So tell me about yourself”…

“So tell me about yourself.”?

I wasn’t actually expecting that exact question, and I went into an immediate Brain Fart – and it was about a twelve on the Richter Scale… This wasn’t just a deer in the headlights moment.  I don’t believe that the analogy has yet been developed to adequately describe whatever it was… I literally saw my life flashing before my eyes in an attempt to pick out something good to say…

So, with Kathy from the seventh grade in mind, all I could think of to blather was “Well, there’s not much to tell.”

Looking into Mr. Megowan’s face, I could easily see that this was not really the answer he was hoping for, so I continued the mental review of the events of my life in hopes of, quickly, coming across something that might be more acceptable a response…

Finally, after a mercifully short eternity, I clearly remember picking out what I thought would be appropriate facts about Bill.

  • I told him that I was the oldest of eleven living children.
  • I told him I was heavily influenced by my Irish Catholic grandmother.
  • I told him that my dad worked for Sears.
  • I told him that I played the guitar.
  • And, culminating my litany of self aggrandizement, I proudly proclaimed that I was way out of his daughter’s league…

Of all of the facts I had just put forth, this last one seemed to brighten his face up more than the rest…

I should interject here, that when I was in high school, I was the guy that all of the girls mothers wanted to have date their daughters.  Why was that?  It wasn’t because I was rich, or smart…  Pathetically, it was because, when a parent got to know me, I was generally considered to be safe.

Yes, I was the safe choice for a boyfriend for your daughter… Some parents even had a nick-name for me.  I was called… (Eesh – Do I really want to do this?)

They called me… They called me… This is difficult… They called me…(Deep breath)…

“Harmless”…

Yes… “Harmless.”

And, for better or for worse, it was true… I had never met a girl’s mother who couldn’t trust me.

Anyway, the point is that Mr. Megowan allowed me to stay.  The deal was that I could stay until I found another place to live…  That actually happened about a month or so down the road, but I’ll get to that later…

Just about immediately after my initial conversation with Mr. Megowan, I was made to feel right at home.  It was almost as if Mr. Megowan had exited the rec room and loudly proclaimed to the entire family that “You can all relax! This guy is way out of Colleen’s league!”

I would be bunking in with Colleen’s younger brother, Patrick, and one of her older brothers, Blair.

Pat was just starting the seventh grade, and Blair was home from college for the summer…

Blair had an interesting summer job, actually.  He was a courier for the blood bank (I think – or maybe the local hospital), and was on call just about 24 hours a day.  If I remember right, a shipment of blood would arrive at the Greyhound Bus station, Blair would get paged, hop in the car, get to the bus station, pick up the package and deliver it to the hospital or other appropriate place.

The interesting part was that he often got paged in the middle of the night, and being roomies, when he got paged, I got paged. There were some sleepless nights until he went back to school…

Being the curious sort, I asked him if I could go along with him sometime just to see what a blood courier did… Who knows? It might be something I might be interested in pursuing some day when I went away to college (it could happen – I was already away at high school, and it didn’t seem like that much of a stretch to going away to college.  As it turned out, it was a pretty long stretch…).  And it wasn’t long until I got my chance to get a first hand look at the intricacies of moving blood from point A (the bus station) to point B (the hospital).  (It would be a few years before I got to see the journey from point B to point C (the patient).)

I remember it like I was awake at the time…

…3:00 AM – the pager went off.  Blair and I each sprang from our respective beds, put on our respective pants, etc. and headed out the door…

What we encountered when we walked out the door was exactly reminiscent of the phenomenon known as Tulle Fog (pronounced “tooly fog”).  Tulle fog is an extremely dense, low lying layer of fog that inhabits the Central /San Joaquin/Sacramento valleys of California during the fall and winter seasons. I have driven through it from below Bakersfield almost all the way to the Oregon border.  The stuff may rise only ten feet above the ground or go as high as a thousand feet, but the altitude isn’t what gets you…

For those of you who haven’t experienced tulle fog, imagine a thick coat of oatmeal spread out over your windshield as you drive down the road.  Visibility can range from literally zero (0) to maybe six hundred (600) feet.  Most often, I have experienced between ten and twenty feet…

Ventura doesn’t get much, if any, tulle fog, but they do get sea fog, being on the coast. For some reason, tulle fog is what the sea fog was pretending to be on this particular edition of three O’clock in the morning…

Blair drove slo-o-o-o-wly…

We eventually got to the bus station where he picked up the package and headed out to make the delivery at the hospital…

We quietly drove along the freeway, not seeing where we were going but doing a good enough job of getting there anyway.  After awhile, we actually started a spirited conversation…

The topic of the newly invented and installed “lane bumps” came up immediately after we woke up…

__________________________________________________

Next… Chapter 24, maybe…

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