My blog title has a humorous story behind it. A story that I had a dramatic (nonspeaking) role in. ‘Twas my birthday. Yes, the day of my birth. As I remember, it went something like this:
My parents were ranchers in rural northern Idaho so home birthings were not uncommon. So, Ol’ Doc Christensen informed my dad that when mom’s labor pains, with yours truly, reached a certain intensity, he should summon him for the 30 minute drive to the ranch house.
With mom screaming in the background, Dad made the call. “Now would be a good time Doc.” In fact, “NOW would be a really good time.”
Doc: “Hate to say this but a young boy just showed up with a broken arm I need to attend to first.” “But, come on down and fetch my black (of course, aren’t they all?) instrument bag so that Plan B could be implemented if needed.”
Plan B meant that Aunt Margie, a registered nurse, would have the instrument bag available for her use if urgency was suggested. One wrinkle in Plan B, however, was Aunt Margie was enroute, but about an hour away.
Poor mom and I were left backstage while dad skidded around all the corners of the steep, graveled grade both to and from town to transport the crucial black bag. Upon arrival, mom was in a tither. I can understand her excitement, but why all the crying and fuss?
Hey, urgency was suggested, but still, no Aunt Margie. No problem. Dad discovered a Plan C. Inside the black bag was a shiny silver can of ether. Now what loving, caring husband wouldn’t have done the same thing my dad did to comfort his wife under these circumstances? Yep! He’d seen it done before. A tiny sprinkle of ether on a handkerchief gently lifted to the nostrils should do just fine in pain management therapy.
Dear reader. Picture this next scene in slow motion. I have decided it’s time to enter center stage. Mom disagrees and protests with anguished screams that probably made the grazing cattle lift their heads and stare. I imagine the startled horses with alert ears cautiously circled the corral at trot. Even the birds stopped their spring day singing and held their breath. Dad unscrewed the lid from the silver ether can. But what’s this? A continuous layer of aluminum covered what he thought should be a hole from which to pour the ether. “Oh God, Emil, heeeeeelllllp me!”, mom contributed.
So, my ol’ Pa came up with a solution on the spot. With a strong grip, he simply ripped the aluminum top off the can. Now, you and I both know that the top was not meant to be ripped off, but to be pin-pricked with tiny holes to allow miniscule amounts of ether to be dispensed on to a handkerchief. Instead, gaseous fumes of ether silently, invisibly filled the room with a cloud. And, you and I both know that one characteristic nature of ether is: “It’s FLAMMABLE!”
Enter stage left, simultaneously and still in slow motion, both Doc and Aunt Margie to the rescue. Dad was congratulated on his heroics as the ether can was wrested from his grip and properly capped. There were no fireworks that day. My memory gets a bit sketchy here, but I remember a “whoosh.” I saw smiling faces gazing on me as I sucked in my first breath of…..well, ether cloud. Dreamy, elevated, surreal ether cloud.
The birds caught their breath again and resumed singing. The horses settled and the cattle lowered their heads and again tore mouthfuls of grass.
My paradigm shifted. Where was my true home? I found myself in two atmospheres. When I open my eyes, surely I am earth-bound. But with eyes closed, just as surely I am at home in the ether cloud. That mysterious atmosphere twixt outer space and heaven. From there I will describe to you my observations.