Hunting for a taste of Atlanta

This piece is over 500 words

I’m Back home in the great state of Maryland. Really enjoyed my trip to the west coast to see my son Jamie, whom I haven’t seen in eight years. There were several very important added pleasures and must. I got to meet the set of grandkids I haven’t met yet – seven year old Vera and 18 month George. Also I was able to hug Jamie’s wife Reya again and meet her mother Julie. What a great vacation in Oregon.

I’m going to write several short stories about the trip that I think are mildly interesting. This short set of words are about hunting for a taste of Atlanta, GA.

In order to purchase fairly inexpensive round trip plane tickets I had to prepare and except certain itinerary changes up to point.  On the way home I had a three hour layover in Atlanta. After adjusting my belt in a restroom I found my departure gate in concourse ‘A’, then set out to find a bite to eat. This airport was huge and had almost anything you wanted to eat, including many of America’s national chains. However, I decided I wanted a taste of Atlanta and asked a guy that worked there, where that could be found. He told about Pasqual’s.

He pointed and said, “Take that escalator down a level, get on the train and go to ‘E’.

I thought train, then said, “I don’t want to take my belt off again and go thru another security check point.”

He replied. “Oh, it’s not like that, you won’t leave the airport and you will enjoy their catfish.”

“Thanks man.” Then I headed for the escalator.

Once downstairs the train was on the right, but I decided to walk and get some steps in. I walked from ‘A’ to ‘C’ before I decided enough steps and take my chance on the train, which was an airport subway – pretty cool actually. I stepped off at ‘E’ and went up to the concourse. After walking around for a while I realized, as usual I need help. I went to the information desk and asked the ladies, “How can I use a Chevy alternator in a Ford.” They looked confused, then I said, “This is the information desk right?” Of course I forgot they couldn’t see my big grin with my mask on, but they got it anyway and we enjoyed a laugh. After that little interlude I asked, “Where is Pasqual’s?”

One of them looked it up, then pointed to another escalator and said, “Take that escalator down then get on the train to concourse ‘B’. I laughed to myself and gave them both my card, turned and left. I give my card out generously, trying to build my writing network. Now that I’m an old hat at the airport train I took it to Pasqual’s and had a really nice Catfish Meal.

I apologize for not taking a photo of my food or the restaurant. I got this photo off their website and it was taken by Daniel Klein in April of 2018.

How ya like my hat? McDonald’s hat

My hat stories could be fact, fiction or a mix of both.

I started this story in 2019 and set it aside for a while, because I had writers block. The hat photo was taken by a fellow classmate at College of Southern Maryland (CSMD) during my Communication 1010 course, on November 26, 2019. I have an assortment of McDonald hats, since my name is McDonald.

Last week I went in one of my local McDonald’s, because I had a hankering for one of their new Bacon Big Mac’s. After I ordered my meal I noticed my server was wearing a new McDonald hat. I thought of my story category called, “How ya Like my Hat?” and asked if I could speak with the manager and when she came over I pulled out my wallet and showed her my driver’s license pointing to my last name – McDonald.

She said, “Oh”.

I told her, “I collect hats, especially McDonald hats.” I then pointed to my server and asked, “Can I get one like that”.

She replied, “Because of the M?”

Of course I said, “Yes”.

“Let me see.” She turned and went to the back of the store and returned with the hat I’m wearing in this photo.

“Thank you so much.” I adjusted the band, put it on, grabbed my food and walked out the door.

I immediately felt that something was wrong in my universe, but I had food so the universe had to take a back seat. I pulled out of the parking lot and headed north toward the CSMD La Plata campus for my Thursday afternoon Communications class. I noticed a car full people behind me wearing Burger King hats, but didn’t think much of it till they got real close and followed me down Mitchel Road toward the college.

I was a little concerned with my tailgater as I moved through the shady crooked Mitchel Rd., then I saw another car full of people behind them and they were wearing hats from Wendy’s. At this point my food took a back seat to the immediate threat of the hat brigade.

Luck has a way of finding me when I need it the most and as I was pulling in the campus parking lot I saw a large crowd of people. Everyone in this crowd was wearing CSMD hats – there were hundreds of my fellow Hawks (students) coming to my rescue. Somehow the universe let my friends know I was in trouble. When the Burger King and Wendy people saw this they turned and slipped quietly off the college grounds.

Of course with my plot thickening type of mind, I thought it was all about me. However, there was pep rally happening that very moment and I was the bearer of that good luck because of it.

Amazon author page, https://amazon.com/author/jimmcdonaldjr

Jim McDonald Writes, https://facebook.com/poetryandmorewords

Website – J F McDonald, https://jfmcdonaldjr.com

Mom’s Miraculous Death

By these photos, taken by my friend at Arlington National Cemetery, you might feel this is a post about Memorial Day, but it’s not. My mom’s birthday falls on Memorial Day this year. I have wrote about mom’s death before, but I’m going to take another swing at. Warning this piece might be considered a little long, over 600 words.

My mom died on February 6, 1998 from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and spent most of ‘97 in and out of two hospitals. The closest one was Malcolm Grove on Andrews Air Force Base and the other was Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. She was always in a room with two beds no matter which venue we were at. As it worked out the other bed was never taken by another patient during any of her visits and I was allowed to sleep in it. Guess the Doctors new mom wasn’t long for this world and the bed was mine if it wasn’t needed.

Mom loved us kids and her grandchildren and was constantly praying for us. I drank and drugged for years and she prayed that I would stop and I did nine years before her death. I was given the blessing to give back the kindness and love that she gave me all my life and was able to move her in with me for her last year on earth. As a result of that year I lost almost everything I had after she died, because I neglected everything and concentrated on her. The one thing I did not give up was sharing the Gospel Message in the Charles County Detention Center (CCDC) every Thursday. I would go home to wash clothes and re-up for another week at the hospitals, then go to jail and give the message, before going back to mom the next day.

Here’s where the miracle takes place. She was moved from the west wing of the fifth floor at Malcolm Grove to Bethesda four days before she died. Side note, dad died at Malcom Groove in 1975 on the east wing of the fifth floor. The Doctors said she had two days to live, so they wanted to move her to a special bed. It was a noisy bed because of the movement needed to combat bed sores. I used the other bed to either sleep in or study for the next message at the CCDC. In order to concentrate on the message I needed to turn the TV up as back ground noise.

Picture this: I’m in the hospital room with mom, the noisy bed, loud TV and all of my study material is on my bed. All of a sudden the world went silent. The TV made no sound, even as I saw the actor’s lips moving, but no sound came from them. I looked at mom and she was fixed as I had grown use to – no change. The bed was muted, but it was still moving as normal. There was no sound from the hallway or outside, the wind was blowing the tree tops but hushed. I got up and walked to mom’s right side and cupped her right hand with my left one. After a few seconds God gave me the opportunity to wipe mom’s last tear from her right eye. I knew she was finally at peace – so was I. Then as an afterthought, all volume returned.

I packed my belongings, turned the TV off and stepped to the hallway after one last look at mom and the room. Standing outside of that unforgettable room I nodded to the Doctor down the hall on my right, then turned left for home. God gave mom and I that special moment to say goodbye. Mom is buried on top of dad and they share the same headstone.

How ya like my hat? Gary Clark hat

Is this story fact or fiction?

It was a nice indoor event with a lot of people hoping to meet one or all of the Redskin players that were in attendance. One former player was Sonny Jurgensen, and the two active players were Darrel Green and Gary Clark. I liked all three of these men, but I really wanted to meet Jurgensen, because I was wearing his jersey. That was a no go from the start, his line was so long but the Green and Clark lines weren’t short either. Stopping to survey the venue once I walked in, I noticed I was in Gary Clark’s line already.

I was hoping that my girlfriend Lisa would come with me, but she roots for another team, so she went to lunch with a Cowboy fan. Standing in the line for what seemed like hours, I remembered a recent conversation between us.

Weeks earlier I bought a Washington Redskin hat at a yard sale and gave it to her, but she

said, “I’m not wearing that filthy thing!”

My reply was, “It’s a gift, bought especially for you.”

“I don’t care. Get that thing away from me!”

The hat was actually bought to add to my collection of Skin hats and of course sit on my head till another hat came along. Later I noticed it was tight and barely fit me, so I thought maybe I’ll turn it into a gift for Lisa and it might turn her hatred for my team to at least respect – that didn’t happen. Realizing when I put the lie on my head it wasn’t a big lie, but a lie all the same.

However, while at the ‘Fan Fest’ I was in line hoping Gary Clark would sign the hat. He graciously did. After that I looked at the other lines and decided to leave for home. After I walked out the door I heard a commotion to the right, so I walked toward a crowd to see what was happening. Low and behold there she was, my girlfriend in the middle of a Dallas Cowboy rally. I stepped closer to the crowd unaware I was setting myself up for ridicule. I had no idea that Lisa overheard me explain the little lie to a friend and she set out to teach me a lesson. I got closer and closer to the crowd, then she pointed at me and shouted through a mega phone, “That’s him, the Redskin liar.” At that point I realized that cowboys and Indians didn’t mix and this relationship will probably never work. It reminded me of a country song where the wife gave the husband an ultimatum of fishing or her and he told the listener in the song, “I’m going to miss her.”

Amazon author page, https://amazon.com/author/jimmcdonaldjr

Jim McDonald Writes, https://facebook.com/poetryandmorewords

Website – J F McDonald, https://jfmcdonaldjr.com

Quote by Jim McDonald

My latest quote is “Write it in pencil, because life changes”

The photo below is of me on the left and my brother George Brian McDonald on the right. It was taken in Camp Busac, France, probably in 1956.