For those of you who like to reminisce during the holidays, there is one memory I would personally prefer to forget. But alas, such will not be the case. In light of the fact that a few of the girls and I paid homage to the new 007 James Bond film this past weekend, (which I loved!) I felt a little walk down memory lane of sorts might just be in order.
It was Thanksgiving and I was visiting my mother (as all good daughters who live hundreds of miles away do). There was a question regarding an appliance in her house and it occurred to her that the neighbor might have the answer. So, with gift plate of goodies, or what I felt was actually a peace offering for our “Can you come over and help us?” plea, we set out for the 20-yard trek next door.
While my mom chatted up her friend, I began conversing with the woman’s spouse. It was when he got to the part about a taxi cab, the country of Turkey, and the 1950’s that I laughed out loud and jokingly announced, “So, what? Were you a covert operative or something?” At that point, the room froze. I was begging the floor to open up and swallow me. But it was Mexican tile. And it didn’t move.
The woman, a salt pillar at this point, merely opened her mouth, looked at her husband, and then stared back at me. With shock on her face she choked out the words, “He’s never talked about that.” He then mumbled something about languages and Germany. As I nervously tried to cover, it only got worse. “Uh, yeah, a friend of mine was married to a guy. They were stationed in Germany. He posed as an auto mechanic. Spoke Bosnian. You know, Uh,…” but the verbal decline only plummeted. The woman, yes, his second wife, now just stared at me even more dumbly. At this point, I was physically growing ill.
Oh, for a tornado from Kansas to suddenly sweep me away. But no. I had to weather this one alone. My mom just stood there with the usual, “Why do you have to talk so much?” look on her face that only a mother can give.
As the man walked me to, and out, the front door, I figured he was quickly thinking and preparing how to kill and dispose of me within the next three seconds that he had before the other women exited the house and caught up with us. But instead, he had this amazed smirk on his face. “How could you have known?” was all he asked incredulously. Relieved, yet horrified, I began apologizing profusely.
“I am so sorry! Please forgive me. Don’t kill me. I am a huge fan of this stuff. I traveled with Col. Oliver North on one of his book tours. I read all of his books. I’m a huge CIA fan. My dad worked for NASA. I just, I just, you know… know this stuff. I mean, c’mon Bob! What normal American guy was in a taxi cab in Turkey in the 50’s for cryin’out loud?! Give me a break!!” With that, he just laughed. And I gratefully lived to die another day.
When we returned to my mom’s house, I pondered if, when we left for Thanksgiving dinner a few moments later, neighbor Bob wouldn’t slip in, take the jewels and return to his domain. I warned my mother to lock the safe. But then remembered, “Oh, wait. We don’t have any family jewels. Or even a safe for that matter.”
I did manage to collect a set of the Oliver North fiction books soon thereafter and delivered it a few weeks later at Christmas. My peace offering of sorts. It was the least I could do.
All that to say, I highly recommend, whatever you do this Thanksgiving, don’t “out” your mother’s retired, covert operative. It’s just not the polite or merry thing to do.
With that, just my thoughts during this festive week prior to our national celebration. A precious time where we give thanks for the wonderful country that Providence has allowed us to create and in which we dwell.
And here’s to all the under cover 007’s that really do exist out there and fight for this sweet, sweet place we lovingly refer to as “home”.
Shaken, but not stirred,