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On being responsible

“I’ll buy a raffle ticket but I never win anything.” I used to say that but for the last few years only bought tickets to raffles that are supporting something I’m willing to make a donation to. So when I heard my wife say into the phone “He what? He has won a trip to Catalina?” I had to think when I had purchased a raffle ticket to the Island of Romance. I remembered doing it—sort of—but from whom?

Part of the fun of living is getting surprises and this was a big one. The tickets for the flight and accommodations should arrive tomorrow, so I still don’t know where on the island we are staying, but I understand it’s a studio suite. I’m guessing the flight will leave at o’dark-30 since it has also been donated, and that’s fine; I’ll sleep on the plane.

I finally figured out the raffle had been a fundraiser for the Soaring program in Coeur d’Alene. By using flying as a metaphor, kids examine how positive actions and reactions influence their relationships, and how they are responsible for all their actions. I’ve seen encouraging results in the teens that I know who’ve participated in this unique program supported by licensed pilots. Upon completion of attaining goals and meeting established criteria, the youth get their big moment, to fly a real plane. This naturally raised a question for me: “Is a thirteen-year-old going to fly us to Catalina?” The answer is “I don’t think so,” since I had to give names for commercial tickets—I’ll know more when the mail comes. 

In the midst of all the trip plans, I had another, somewhat less romantic, surprise, also around responsibility.

Linda had to have a wisdom tooth pulled. Please, no jokes about loss of wisdom, I’ve tried several and they don’t seem to be funny; in fact I always got “the look.” However, what came out of this procedure was a lot of ice cream in the house for a couple days and a carte blanche budget to get more every time I went to the store. A feed to the ego came when she told me she needed a “RESPONSIBLE ADULT” to drive her home after the extraction, and she asked me to be that person.

After jumping up and down yipping and yahooing about being recognized as a responsible adult, I realized the operative word was not adult but responsible. I started to see how this could be a life changing moment for me. But was it going to be better? Or not? One thing I figured out had to do with all that ice cream I talked about; I was going to have to share it with her. That is part of what being responsible means—I have to share ice cream.

When the day came for getting all the ice cream, I mean, Linda’s tooth removal, I had to get up early (that’s part of that responsible thing) and take her to the dentist. Once we were there and she was taken back I thought about what the reliable thing to do should be. I decided waiting for her was a good idea; it made me feel so responsible. Eight in the morning is probably too early to look for a bar anyway.

Looking through the stack of magazines and wondering what a responsible guy would read I finally settled on a periodical about backpacking; it had a lot of pictures, which makes reading easier for me.

After a couple more magazines, Linda came out to the counter. They started giving instructions. That was when I realized they were talking to me. I was going to carry out the instructions, so I paid attention, the best I could. After all was taken care of, I started to get the car so Linda wouldn’t have to walk too far in the snow, I thought that seemed real conscientious. 

As I turned, the lady behind the counter said “At our age the tooth fairy doesn’t bring money.” Boy, that was a relief for me. I hadn’t even thought about needing to find a tooth fairy. Then she continued. “HE brings pearls and diamonds.” That seemed to be directed at me since I was the only HE in sight. That takes this responsibility thing to a different level, one slightly higher then sharing ice cream.

Linda is home and feeling fine, her mouth has healed and we are looking forward to our trip to Catalina Island. So when you are reading this we will be “twenty-six miles across the sea on the island of romance.” Don’t call and ask how things are going, I’ll write about it next month... well, some of it.

I’m still trying to be responsible, though, I have a piece of coal pressing under some firewood hoping to make it into a diamond and when are beach combing on Santa Catalina I plan to open some oysters, looking for pearls.

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Author info

Ernie Hawks Ernie Hawks is a former theater director who has branched into the creative fields of writing and photography. He lives in a cabin in Athol with his lovely wife Linda, and feeds the birds in his spare time.

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