One morning I was up before Lynne and skipped to the beach to play in the surf. I think the tide was coming in. There was a strong wind, which was causing the waves to be bigger than the previous day. I spent a half hour or so, diving through the waves, getting knocked down, and just having a wonderful time, acting like a 6 year-old kid at the beach.
When I was worn out, I went to sit on my beach towel at the ocean's edge. A woman of about mid-thirties age came up to me and commented that I seemed at ease in the surf. I told her that I had been practically born a swimmer and was quite comfortable in the water. She said she did not swim well, but wanted to play in the waves, anyway. She asked if I would watch her in case she got into any trouble. I told her that I would go out with her and would look after her, if she had any problems. Out we went. She seemed to have a good time and she certainly did not drown on my watch.
When she was tired we both went to sit on our beach towels and dry off in the sun. She asked if I was staying at the inn. I told her I was and we both commented on how perfect it was.
"You are from Seattle, aren't you?" I asked.
"Yes, I am. How did you know that?" she asked. I could tell that she was concerned that I had information about her that she had not volunteered.
"I have a good friend who is a doctor. She is from Seattle, too. Your accents are similar. I am from Indiana and we do not meet too many Seattle people in the corn fields there. Your accent is quite distinctive." She seemed relieved that I wasn't an obvious creep.
"Are you here for fun or business?" I asked.
"I am here to take a class in Miami", she said.
"What are you studying?" I asked.
"I am going to school to study channeling for a week," she informed me.
Now before I go further, I acknowledge that I can upon occasion be pretty ornery. Couple that with being an obnoxious lawyer and I can make myself difficult with people. This is particularly true with people who are perceived by me to be flakes. Such turned out to be the case here. I should be shot for this, but I saw the opportunity to have some fun with this curious person.
"Is that where you try to contact and communicate with people who have passed on?" I asked.
"Yes," she said. "That is it exactly."
"Well, tell you what. I am going to be dead very shortly. I wonder if you might like to channel me in a couple of months," I stated with a perfectly straight face.
"That is not funny," she said. "Are you making fun of me?"
"Absolutely not ," I said. "I don't think my dying is funny at all."
"You shouldn't kid around about such things," she responded.
"But I am not kidding around. I am terminally ill with gall bladder cancer, they tell me. The doctors say that I am not going to last much longer. Maybe a few months." As the commercial for MasterCard says, the look on her face was priceless. She was at a complete loss of words.
"So about this channeling business, do you need my name, or what?" I wondered if I needed to volunteer my date of birth and Social Security number. I thought of it, but did not have the heart to further torment this poor soul. And what about the class? A whole week? What were they going to talk about? Were all the spirits (channelers?) going to be converging on Miami for a week?
Would there be vaporous armies of dead loved ones stacked up over Miami like airliners in a holding pattern, waiting to talk to the channeler? Does it take all week to contact one dead person? How do they pick who to contact? Does the teacher pick? The students? A group vote which would be democratic? Do they ask Obama? Who decides what questions to ask? I mean, I'd like to know what happened to my prized baseball glove that I lost in sixth grade. Could I ask that? Could somebody ask for me? If that's possible, then I have a whole list of questions someone could ask on my behalf.
I'd start with, "How's the food?" I'd also want to know if anyone had run across Amelia Earhart and could anyone tell us where to look for her? I could go on but I won't.
"I am very sorry to hear of your illness," she said with what I could tell was genuine compassion.
"Yeah," I said. "It is the pits, but what can you do? What I usually say to most people is that we all have to play the cards we are dealt as best we can. That is pretty flippant, but most people do not really want to talk to a person who is dying. At least, that has been my experience. It makes them uneasy, because they know they could be next, I think. And they don't know what to say, anyway."
"Well, it has certainly been interesting to talk with you," she said. "I have to get packed, because I am leaving this morning for Miami."
"I hope your class goes well and you find out whatever you are looking for," I said. She walked away toward the inn. I haven't seen her since.
I cannot help but think that with the trouble she had dealing with a very much alive, but terminally ill person, that to actually talk with an already deceased person just might be more than she bargained for. I probably should have given her my email address, but then that would have been ornery, wouldn't it?