Until the End of the Ninth

Beth Mary Bollinger


Well, this is a short entry. Because I got rained out at the Metrodome.  I was scheduled to be outside on the Twins Plaza, which theoretically means there are a lot of people milling about before the game begins, looking for things to buy and conversations to have.  But then it rains.  No one is coming early to the game to hang out at the plaza, and everyone is rushing in to the stadium when they do arrive.  It is too late for the Twins’ people to organize it so that I can move inside (though they do try).  I do enjoy meeting the people with tables nearby mine before the rain really sets in.  The time-share guys let me stand under the awning during the worst of the rain.  I do get to try some Minneapolis food – a special kind of fish.  Delicious. 

(Note to Minneapolis folks: if you couldn’t find me at the game, and wanted to buy a book, let me know as soon as possible and I will ensure that the proceeds of your purchase are donated to relief efforts for the bridge collapse.) 

And then I think – I just want to get home.  If I’m not selling books, I want to get home.  So I don’t try to stay for the game.  I have a 19-hour drive to get back to Spokane.  Music, music, music.  (And the door burst open wide … and my daddy stepped inside … and he kissed my mama’s face … and he brushed her tears away …) 

I get to Dickinson, North Dakota.  There are only two rooms left at one hotel.  I get one of them.  How in the world are there no rooms left at the inn?  Are we in Bethlehem?  And what are all these motorcycle riders doing?  I ask a group of them – is there something going on?  They look at me like they think I will stereotype them (the irony, of course, being that they are stereotyping me by thinking I will stereotype them).  “Sturgis,” one of them says.  I actually know what this means – there is a motorcycle gathering annually in Sturgis.  South Dakota,” another says helpfully, so I can fully place the event.  I realize how lucky I was to get any room at all. 

And then on Sunday, I just drive straight home.  As I drive the remaining 11 hours, I think: I just want to get home.  I miss my house.  I miss my cats.  I miss my morning newspaper.  I miss my morning coffee, brewed just so. 

I think about where the pieces of wheat ended up.  Three went to women back in Spokane before the trip began.  Three went to women on the road.  There are three left – all looking electrified, all still on the back seat of my car.  Two will go to two friends who were not home before I took the trip.  The ninth, I will keep.  All women for all nine. 

Two hours down, nine more to go…  (ooh, ooh, child – things are gonna get easier … ooh, ooh child, things’ll get brighter … ) Five hours down, six more to go….  (and I don’t want the world to see me … ’cause I don’t think that they’d understand … when everything’s made to be broken … I just want you to know who I am … ) 

Finally I arrive.  I sigh with relief.  Dorothy was right – there’s no place like home.