The tornado warning was canceled during the night, and the morning was sparkling clear for our planned visit to a Minnesota Twins game.
“Twins suck!” came raucous shrieks from the Oakland A’s stands. The Minnesota baseball team’s winning record isn’t so great, but I’m from Mariner country. What do I care? The new Target Field Stadium in Minneapolis is beautiful, and it was Dollar Dog Day. Perfect!
Only a day before, I was sitting in the basement of my son’s home in the Minneapolis suburbs, waiting for the screaming sirens to stop and I was a little nervous. The sirens, signaling a tornado on the way, began to blare while I was doing what good grandmas do – cooking for my youngest grandson.
“We don’t put milk in our scrambled eggs in Minnesota,” he said, throwing all of the weight of his six years behind his dictum. How was I to know? They didn’t ever mention this on the cooking channel.
No grandma wants to be thought inept and I was gamely fluffing up the milkless eggs just as I heard the first screech from the sirens situated in the park just two blocks down the street. I know the drill. I learned it from this same little boy on a visit two years ago.
Very calmly, I turned off the gas, pushed the skillet to the back of the stove, grabbed up an assortment of pillows and blankets and we headed for the basement. “Are we going to die?” he asked in an interested but not especially concerned tone of voice. He’s at the age when storms can be scary things. So am I. “Oh, no,” I assured him. “I’m very old, so I’d be the first to know. We’re going to be fine.”
We sat on the bathroom floor with our backs against the tub and we took turns creating characters for a story. We’d just reached the place where a miniature spaceman turns an apple into a ship and shoots off for home base, when the sirens stopped. I felt like Noah emerging from the ark, and looking cautiously around. The weather report predicted twisters for the whole weekend.
At Target Stadium the next day, the Twins were warming up as we stopped for a family photo with the larger-than-life action bronze of Kirby Puckett. We peered up at our seats at the very top of the stadium, apparently just beneath the throne of God. I began to toil up the stairs. Because my lower being is composed of various nonrecyclable parts, mostly plastic, I am slow on stairs but I was very surprised when one of the countless guest services reps on duty raced forward to ask if we wouldn’t like better, more accessible seats? Well, sure. Another guest services agent rushed up with a wheelchair.
“No thank you, I don’t wheel,” I tried to say but I found myself being pushed rapidly through the crowd, my family flagging along behind. It was like a scene from an Alec Guinness movie – before “Star Wars.” It was almost fun until my escort clipped a lady on crutches. She was actually very nice about it as soon as she was able to stop screaming. The seats were great, the vista was lovely, and the Twins absolutely could not score. I felt right at home.
Dollar Dog Day naturally meant we all had to have hot dogs. We didn’t buy hot dogs when my son was little because he always dropped them on the floor. As host of today’s festivities he came back with dogs for everyone except himself. “Where’s yours,” I asked? “I dropped it on the floor,” this father of small boys replied.
My mother believed that a person must learn something new every day in order to stay vital, and I certainly have learned about facing the unexpected challenges of daily life from the unflappable, unstoppable nature of the people who live with these violent storms, but don’t pay them much attention.
It was an educational visit. I learned that you can’t put milk in scrambled eggs in Minnesota and that little boys may grow up to be daddies but they don’t change much, which is a comfort to their moms. The Twins won.
Dorothy Wilhelm is a professional humorist and national speaker. Her teeny tiny book, “No Assembly Required, Volume 2,” will be available at the end of June. Details at sixtyplusdatebook.com or contact Dorothy by email at Dorothy@itsnevertoolate.com.