The Charlie Bravo Story


A long time ago on a incredibly hot, hot, summer day, I was poking around in an old dried up creek bed back in the woods behind my Granny Tucker’s farmhouse. I was tired, hot and bored, and I also had snakes perpetually on my brain. But I wasn’t skeered, as I was sufficiently armed (I thought) with my trusty lever-action Daisy BB gun.

Then I heard the most distinct rattle, origininating from somewhere down around my ankles; I absolutely froze. Not a muscle twitched, knowing that a massive timber rattler was poised and ready to strike. I scanned as best I could without moving, my eyes swiveling around independently in my head like an spastic chameleon’s, but no rattlesnake was visible, so I ventured another step.

Immediately, there it was again, a slight rattle right at my feet. I almost swooned, but that would have involved collapsing on the very thing that I was trying to avoid, so collapsing like a southern belle with a case of the fantods was NOT an option. So I waited, sweating like a Kardashian at a spelling bee for what seemed like an eternity. Surely he must have slithered off by now, I thought, so again I started to move, and again, the rattle. Words cannot describe the mental anguish of what seemed like hours spent in a deadly standoff with an unseen rattlesnake.

Except it wasn’t a copperheaded rattlemouth at all; every time I started to move, a few BB’s broke free and rolled down the tube of my trusty Daisy, and this sound was what I was interpreting as the rattler at my feet.

Sound familiar? For weeks, even months, we’ve been hearing the rattle of the BB’s rolling down the barrel, singing their song of misinformation. Man-made at a superlab in China or organically spawned at a open air market in Mulan? Mask or no mask? Three feet of social distance, six feet if you’re exercising, now six feet all the time, but two counties away is preferable? This won’t be over until there’s a vaccine or “this virus is so slippery that any vaccine would have to be reinvented more often than a politician during campaign season?”

The most depressing thing about any situation is when that you never seem to receive all the bad news, and it just keeps wearing at you like the steady drip, drip, drip of water torture. This was the case when Jo Ann contracted breast cancer: first the lumpectomy, but the margins were negative; yes! That means we’re done, right? Oh no, that means double mastectomy with reconstruction. Do what? Don’t you try clipping toenails before the amputation of feet? (This comment did NOT go over well with the haughty surgical oncologist). So then we’re done? Not even close. Now the chemo, the radiation, the hair loss (yes, Mr Winingar, ALL the hair), the hysterectomy and resulting early menopause and on and on; Jesu Christo, will the bad news ever end?

During this time we were flooded with all things pink; pink pamphlets, pink socks, pink ribbons, pink panthers pinkpinkpinkpinkpink. It occured to me that how would we ever rise above the situation if all we ever did was dwell on it exclusively? So into boxes and under the bed and up in the attic all of the pink flotsam and jetsam went, and we began to get on with life. Many years later, all is well, and it’s almost like the whole thing happened to someone else.


So here were are today, wherever they tell us “here” is supposed to be; should we disregard the possible rattlesnakes in the rocks or the litany of medical precautions facing us in the coming months? Of course not. But they that would control us are never going to come clean as long as we’re willing to wallow in the mire of their own creation. If I learned anything from the two previously stated situations, it’s that nothing is ever as bad as worrying about it. “Worry is interest paid on a note that’s not yet due”

Strength and honor from the Casa del Whackos.

Dad out.

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