Imagine your phone ringing. You scurry around your house, rushing to locate the handset.
You finally find it.
"Hello," you say, winded, "how may I help you?"
There's a pause.
"Hello," you repeat, "is anyone there?"
Suddenly, without warning, you get your answer.
That above scenario, my friends, would be me calling you.
After my first year of residency, my wife had called me at work, quite excited, telling me she had found an amazing house for us to rent during my last two years of training.
Say what? I was surprised and didn't know we were "looking" to move from our very comfortable, two-bedroom condo just ten minutes from my hospital.
"Trust me," she reassured me, "you are going to love it."
And she was right. I did love it. Leave it to my wife to find such a great place.
The new house was about 35 minutes from the hospital, almost all country driving. It was built by Farmer Ed, an old-timer who we grew to love as family, smack in the middle of his cow and corn pastures. Farmer Ed had built this house for his planned retirement in a few years and wanted to rent it out until then. It sat comfortably on the top of a beautiful mountain range, alongside a curvy, country road where neighbors waved as you passed by. The views were endless and the sunsets spectacular. A small, friendly town sat just a few miles away.
It was not uncommon for us to wake at the break of dawn in our new house, cows milling around our bedroom window, talking to us in their language. Many a times I had dreams interrupted by Bessie's moo. Sometimes, even, it felt like Bessie and her gang were having some fun with us, staging their own version of The Sound of Music. Hey, Moo Trapp Family, go back to your hills in Austria and let me sleep!
Ashamed of myself, I must admit that I rolled over a time or two in my dreams to snuggle up to Bessie and her warm, engorged udder. "Moo," I whispered seductively in her ear. "Moo moo," she answered back, blinking her big eyes and batting her long lashes flirtatiously at me.
Okay, I just made that up. Sorry.
Anyway, my wife loves to speed walk and sometimes, on days when I was home, I would go with her. I always struggled to stay alongside her, but the country scenery and surrounding beauty did much to distract me and make the walks more tolerable and even fun.
One day, as we passed a pasture of grazing cows, on a whim, I stopped and inhaled a deep breath. Plugging my nose, from the back of my throat I forced the air out, emitting a low, guttural "moo."
"Hey," my wife said, "that was pretty good."
And you know what? It was good. I knew because the cows had stopped their grazing to look up.
I took another deep breath and mooed again. And another. And yes, another.
The cows started mooing and began walking collectively toward us. I got a little nervous, the barbed-wire fence the only thing separating my wife and me from eighty misled cows. I didn't want a mutiny on our hands. My wife, however, found this all to be quite funny.
With a little practice, I soon had the "moo" down pat. It sounded good. Heck, I'm going to forget about being humble--it was excellent!
I started mooing all the time, I think to the point where family and friends began avoiding me. I mooed on the phone, I mooed at work, I mooed at home, I mooed at parties. That would have been me who, standing alone in the corner with my drink, mooing, you carefully avoided.
I was a hit, however, with the young kids. I would get calls from our family's and friends' children to moo. Over the phone line, I'm told, my moo sounds even better. On hindsight, though, I think their parents just said this to keep me from coming over and doing it in person.
The biggest place where my moo was a hit? Easy answer--our pediatric ER.
Where I trained in residency, we had a Pediatric ER and it was here where I perfected my moo. If a child wasn't critically ill, I would have three strategies to make the visit easier: 1) Hand out stickers, 2) Hand out a popsicle, or 3) Moo. Let's face it, anyone could do strategies one or two, but three? Sorry folks, I owned that one all to myself. And truly, it was a hit. A smile usually appeared by my second moo.
So, I mooed my last two years in residency and brought my moo with me when we moooved here.
The other day, one of our residents brought his devilish, happy, handsome two-year-old son to visit our ER. He was so darn cute already, but I knew a way to make his cute factor fly through the ceiling.
I took a deep breath and plugged my nose.
At first his reaction was usual--a look of bewilderment. By the second moo, however, I had him.
"Moo," I said. "Again," he said. "Moo," I repeated. "Moo-cow," he said, clapping his hands. "Moo," I said one last time. He laughed out loud and flailed his giddy arms and legs.
As I walked away, I felt like, once again, my moo had made me the cat's meow. I was all that!
Unfortunately, three patients were peering out of their rooms, wondering why there was something mooing in the ER hallways.
"It's okay, folks," I said, "go on back in your rooms, please."
At the nurse's station, I overheard one of our newer secretaries on the phone. "Yeah," she said, "some idiot is out in the hallway mooing-can you believe that?"
I almost bent over to moo in her ear from behind, but I restrained myself. Instead, I went to my telephone and called home.
"Hello," my youngest daughter answered, "how may I help you?"
"Hello?" she repeated.
I took a deep breath and let it out.
"Oh, hi Dad," she said nonchalantly. Then I heard her yell, "Mom, it's for you. It's Dad and he's mooing again."
I could have sworn I heard my wife's faint response. "Tell him I'm not home."
As always, thanks for reading...next post will be Monday, December 14. Have a safe and enjoyable weekend...