Tuesday, April 27, 2004

"If You don't have anything nice to say..Sit next to me"-embroidered on a pillow in the home of Alice Roosevelt Longworth

This is the "Hay-soos" story.
It was a nice day in Philly then the rain,wind and cold returned.
I found some old photos of our first trip to Key West, Florida in 1998. It was our 5th anniversary and Mrs. Pratt and I wanted a week of fun and sun and headed to Margaritaville. Key West is amazing. The bars, restaurants, the people- it was a fun week- then Hurricane Georges hit...and we were trapped on the island.
Like Gilligan- we had "no boat , no light , no motorcar" after the storm- fortunately our innkeepers(Frank and Larry at the Blue Parrot Inn) had let us stay without charge- we repaid them by helping clean the debris from the property. 2 days after the storm passed we had heard that Greyhound would start up again going to Miami (All the rental cars had been taken the day before the storm and with the airport closed for a few more days it was our only option)
What happened next is known as my Jesus story(no- not the "Passion of "guy but the spanish prounciation phonetically "hay-soos")

The Key West Greyhound bus station was the setting for the following psychodrama. The cast of characters that joined me and Mrs. Pratt would make Fellini reach for a camera or Dali a paintbrush or barbed wire. No wonder Tennessee Williams moved here.
We bought our tickets and was told by Clean Cut Clerk that yes the bus would arrive from Miami in one hour-Rt.1 the only road in and out of Key West would soon be open to traffic again.

We sat down- I glanced at the other people waiting: a Shifty Eyed guy with a scar running down his cheek, a brown/blonde mullet and a "Triumph" tank top. A roughly 400 pound bald man wearing shorts and a half -shirt- yes - a half shirt..A grizzled guy maybe 45 whose luggage consisted of a bowling ball bag filled with liqour bottles that would clink around- I named him Capt. Drunky. A teenage couple who called each other Sugar every sentence-"Sugar get me a Coke" "OK Sugar". Also a dumpy guy with a toupee and a high nervous laugh whenever he talked to his partner- a bronze senior citizen wearing acid wash jeans and a polo shirt.We tried to sit still and read an old newspaper killing time until the bus. We waited and waited..the bus had been delayed announced Clean Cut Clerk- another hour wait.We had to- it was our only way home.Then the door opened.The evil had arrived.

It was a party of 4. Consisting of a mother who resembled Jabba the Hut and Roseanne in the really really early episodes before the plastic surgery and gastric bypass. She had on a mumu that draped like a tarp over a statue unveiling. Think Johnny Depp's Mom in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape".Her sister was there- huge platform shoes lime green pant suit,sunglasses. Talking oblivious on a cellphone while she bought bus tickets. Then the children...of the damned!!
There was a baby- we couldn't tell boy or girl -it had a wild mop of hair that looked like it had been styled with an eggbeater. Wearing nothing but a diaper
this baby also seemed to had recently been finishing up the chicken pox..we called him/her Scabby Baby. Scabby Baby had a brother.This was Jesus(hay-soos) He was about 6.it was more like 6-6-6.

He may have been named after the big J.C. but he was the exact opposite.
This was the absolutely the most horrendous little child ever put on the planet.Forget Damien in the Omen- MacCauley Caulkin in "The Good Son"..Junior in the "Problem Child" films..or even Chucky! I'm telling ya its evil I tells ya!
You would need Ritalin shot by an elephant tranquilizer gun to calm this chiild down. Quite simply, he threw the biggest tantrum with only slightly less damage than the Second World War.

I must say it woke up the sleepy waiting room. Capt. Drunky was trying to mix himself his third cocktail in a Big Gulp cup and his bowling bag contents.
Scabby Baby started the ruckus by running around screaming a high pitched wail that could only be heard at the Westminster dog show...and he wanted to touch everyones suitcases..he pushed over 400 lb. guy's backpack.
Jesus meanwhile started up- he ran to the soda machine pounding on it screeching "Iwantdrinkiwantdrinkiwantdrink".*BOOM*BOOM*BOOM* Jesus then goes to the rest of the vending machines beating on them-"CANDY CANDYCANDY!" Nervous laugh guy was on the pay phone across from these machines and looked down at Jesus,
"Heehehee little fella stop that."
Poor shlub was trying to get a flight so it was an important call. Jesus snatched the pay phone cord next to him and started bashing the receiver. Then at his feet he found a bottle cap which he began kicking around the bus station. One kick sent the bottle cap ricocheting of Sugar girl's purse and hitting Shifty Eye scar guy in the head.
Shifty just muttered a few words of profanity-Jesus just screamed back at him and tried to mock punch him while scabby baby ran his hands on the luggage. They were getting close to our seats. By the door was a giant Gumball machine- Jesus still kicking the bottle cap around and sending it caroming in any direction like Kennedy's Magic Bullet when he spots this and louder than any screech before"IWANTAGUMBALLIWANTAGUMBALL!"

Now the whole time of this Krakatoian explosion the aunt was on a celllphone telling someone named Popi that they are "at the bus station and they weren't coming back no matter what he did." My guess was after being cooped up with a hurricane indoors and outdoors it was a blessing.
Jabba the Mom- reacted to Jesus's antics with a very tired flat nasal monotone "hay...sooooos"
"hay...soooos" "hay....sooos" an occasional "beagoodboy".But she didn't move from the chair she was poured into.Mother of the Millenium.

So throughout the scenes of mayhem- we have Capt. Drunky trying to determine the right amount of Slurpee and Jack Daniels, Shifty Eye Guy eyes glued now on the flying bottle cap, contemplating violating his parole by stabbing Jesus. 400 pound man eating Cheetos - wiping his hands on his shirt(Ladies he just might be single!!) scratching his ample belly. Nervous Laugh guy still trying to get through to the airlines and going "heeheehee".while his overly tan friend lookign at his manicure.The Sugar Couple holding hands and maybe rethinking the baby that will be the hit of their GED prom. The Lime Green Aunt still yelling at Popi-Jabba the Mom saying her mantra-"hay-soos" "hay..sooos.""hay..soos" Then God laughed at us some more.

Clean Cut Clerk-who seemed oblivious to bratapalooza announcing that due to a propane truck flipping over on Rt.1 the bus would be delayed 4 hours. A huge groan filled the room..and then we all saw the giant gumball machine falling to the ground. Jesus had managed to wedge his way behind the machine by THROWING a small potted palm and getting back there. He then deliberately pushed the machine over- it was a big plastic thing on a base but a glass bowl on the top and it stood about 4 feet tall. At the very last moment before shards of glass and gumballs flew everywhere Sugar Couple guy had speedily moved out of his seat and caught it."hay-sooos."hay-sooos""hay-sooos"
It was becoming our "Nevermore".

Then Mrs. Pratt snapped. I'm a patient person and despite my shock and annoyance was utterly amazed at what was occuring. Mrs. Pratt did not share this bemusement. She stood up- stormed out of the station with a "I'm going for a walk." Maybe she was looking for a rock.

Jesus found some travel guides and hotel brochures in a display- he promptly was talking them out of the slots and throwing them on the floor and kicking them- if he had access to fire I'm sure they would have been lit. Scabby Baby continued luggage tag and 400 pound man was trying to hold his bag up so the baby couldn't get it- sadly this only made his half shirt expose more of his girth.
Smelling salts are available in the lobby for the faint of heart. More "hay-sooos-hay-soos hay -soos"
About 10 minutes later Mrs. Pratt came back in- and in hushed whispery tones just said-" I found a car - get a refund -NOW!" and runs out. Clean Cut Clerk said it was only 3 and a half more hours until the bus. The good news was the road opened in the direction going TO Miami.Nope - wanted a refund.and got one.

As I pulled our bags toward the door, Scabby Baby was trying to stick his hands in the vending machines and Jesus had discovered the automatic sliding entrance door. He was stomping on it to open and close.yelling"CLOSECLOSECLOSE"."hay-soos""hay-soos""hay-soos" filled my ears as I left.
I should have nicked him with a suitcase on the way out.
In the glorious sun some of the other waiting room occupants were outside with a smoke..Shifty Eye Guy-Capt. Drunky, and Sugar Girl-they asked if I wanted a smoke..a drink ..or possibly from the looks of Sugar Girl, a rash.

Mrs. Pratt came roaring up in a beat Cavalier-"Get IN!"the bags were thrown in just as I hear Shifty and Drunky saying "heeeey they have a car..." I envisioned a coup de Cavalier.gulp. In exact Dukes of Hazzard fashion- the Mrs. gunned the car sped to the Rt. 1 entrance- stopped briefly by a cop and told wrong entrance- did a u- turn in front of him just as he was thinking Shifty looked familar and sped off to Miami and a plane back to Philly.

What happened was.. the bus terminal is attached to the airport and she wandered outside next door to the terminal - where the rental car places were. There were no flights in or out but a person was working at the Avis desk.
"Got any cars?" she asked, "Oh why yes.. one was just returned a few minutes ago" said The Angel of Mercy Who Was the Avis Clerk. It was a done deal..that's when she came to get me and we escaped from our new found friends.

Some nights the visions return... a thumping soda machine- a flying bottle cap- a teetering gumball bowl- but that voice"hay-sooos""hay-sooos"hay-sooos" will haunt me forever. I can only imagine what happened when the rest of the characters got on the bus to Miami.





Saturday, April 24, 2004

Another bunny photo-Introducing her royal majesty - diva of all the bunnies- Princess Jewel of Philadelphia and all the surrounding territories..Huzzah!Huzzah! Bow before her peasants!

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Thursday, April 22, 2004


Special appearance by my mini-lop Greyton L. Hare.

Monday, April 19, 2004

"They say a person needs 3 things to be happy in this world:someone to love,something to do and something to hope for."-Tom Bodett

Feather came home today. Her kidney infection has subsided and after 4 days of intensive vet care she was well enough to come home. All the staff of the vet hospital did a great job with her.I could tell she was happy she was home because she immediately dove into some pellets, and drank some water- then later on nibbled on some greens. Instrumental music really makes the bunnies relax so some Hawaiian slack key guitar is on the cd player. She is so appreciative of the petting and attention, and settled back into her favorite spot under the Poang chair.
It was a sunny day about 85..and I was driving around in the new Prattmobile...sun roof down- It will be fun taking trips with it this summer. I have to get it inspected before the end of the month.
Work was extremely busy for a Monday in libraryland. I have 8 students who help me with my office and they do a great job all year. Not only are they juggling their classes and extra-curricular activities but they also find time to put in hours at the library. Usually I do a dinner for them each Spring Semester which will be tomorrow. Its the perfect time because before you know it finals are here.

Movie suggestion: Yesterday I caught the end of "Annie Hall" which is one of Woody Allen's best, but I have 3 other Woody Allen films to recommend:
"Love and Death", "Hannah and her Sisters" , "Crimes and Misdemeanors" Look them up on Internet movie database www.imdb.com
or prowl around the shelves of your video store for them.
I promise to go into more details about some films at a later date.

Song of the Day-" Let Me Go"-Heaven 17 (1983) from "The Luxury Gap" lp
This synth band were ever- present on WLIR in the early 80's and Let me Go was always being heard on their airwaves and in clubs. Part dance song -part break-up song. Infectious chorus.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Here is Feather's picture from my website

"There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts."-Charles Dickens

Its a beautiful day in Philly. Finally, I can see clearly now the rain is gone..wait a sec..sorry got that song in my head. Any way I'm happy that's it going to be a bright bright sunshiny day...damn..did it again!
Bunny Medical update: Feather's dr. called this morning- said she's still doing ok and recovering- more bloodwork tomorrow to see if she can come home. I apologize if my blog was way off track the last few days it was due to my concern for Feather's health.
I had to teach Twizzle about frozen water bottles. On our rabbit website- you may see a photo of the bunnies next to a bottle. When the weather gets humid- we freeze old water bottles and they love to lie down next to them to keep cool. Greyton absolutely is in heaven when he gets a bottle- and for a bunny his size sometimes its the frozen collasal 2 liter one.

I've started rereading one of my favorite books- "Green Grass Grace" by local author Shawn McBride. It has a distinct local color.As the Philadelphia Inquirer books editor,Frank Wilson described it,"The best book about Philly,mind you not Philadelphia." Give it a try you'll enjoy this funny taleabout a boy and his neighborhood.
I was reading the Robert Dallek biography "An Unfinished Life:John F. Kennedy 1917-1963" but it was beginning to drag in the 1950's so now its an unfinished read on my nightstand.
For several years I always started the summer by rereading Jack Kerouac's "On the Road". Maybe I'll revisit one of his other works - I enjoyed "Desolation Angels" and "Lonesome Traveler".

Song of the Day:"Lips Like Sugar"-Echo and the Bunnymen(1987) form the lp of the same name. This was remade on the 50 First Dates soundtrack by Seal but check out the original-great guitars and vocals by Ian McCullough this track still sounds great.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

We saw Feather last night and she seemed to be doing a little better- brought her her favorite blanket and she was happy to see us. Her kidneys are struggling but responding well to meds and hopefully we will bring her home Monday. So far the vets have done a great job with her-she was so close to death on Thursday. We miss her.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Feather update- the vet gave her some IV fluids and she's still not out of the woods. Her kidneys are failing, but she did respond favorabley to all the meds from last night. She'll be in there another day and they'll do more bloodwork to see how her creatine levels are. Her head tilt andis affecting her whole nervous system. Mrs. P. and I will go visit her today and bring her her favorite blanket and stuffed animal friend. The house is a lot quieter without her- its sad. I stayed home today because I was feeling so blue.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

I'm a little sad today. One of my rabbits, Feather is in critical condition at the Vet's. She is old, has kidney problems, and can't walk. She's getting some fluids but tomorrow we will have to make a difficult decision if there isn't any improvement.
She has lived with us for 6 and a half years. She was rescued and brought to the shelter after being dumped at a vet's office in a birdcage- still a baby bunny she was so thin you could see her ribs- the shelter named her Feather because she was as light as one. When I volunteered at the rabbit shelter a week after she was brought in she was so affectionate we decided to adopt her.
Feather made her self right at home- she was well fed for the first time in her young life. She was so good at running and leaping, be it chairs or sofas. She ate the cushion of our sofa once and it was like a snowstorm in July. When I caught her - she ran and gave a little bunny binky leap- as if to say like Bugs Bunny "Ain't I a stinker?" She had a great curiosity in whatever we were doing so any cleaning or opening of doors around her she was always underfoot ready to investigate.
That spark of mischeviousness set her apart from the other rabbits. I believe a perfect day for her was sitting under her Ikea Poang chair while the sunbeam came in and taking a little bunny nap. She LOVED cheerios and was fond of carrots and green leaf lettuce.
She had a rivalry with Princess- at the babygate the two would try to snipe at each other- it was a girl thang.She may have looked innocent but could be firece when she needed to be. But to all who knew her she was a cheerful pleasant bunny.
I know this may be her last day with us, I just keep thinking of a sweet bunny who despite her rough start in llife had a loving home of comfort and safety...and I think was appreciative.