Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Part II of a series
(part I of this adventure is at dorucak na granici , there will more to follow)

"BOOOOOM!!!" My eyes were instantly open.  Instinct propelled me to drop and roll.  Of course dropping and rolling from a prone sleeping position placed me on the safety of the floor between the bed and the wall. My brain wasn't on yet.  I couldn't get it on.  My brain doesn't reboot from my sleep any faster than my computer reboots from its sleep.  

After that one single "BOOOOM!" everything was silent.  No dogs were barking. No cats were miauing.  No possums (we call them tlacuatches here) were rustling.  No night birds were clucking.  No bat wings were flapping.  I listened intently for the soft sound of my tarantulas scuttling through the grass.  Nothing.  Not a sound. 

No sound even of a truck on the freeway not far away.  Odd, even at that hour. I kept my head low as I eased over to the computers near the foot of my bed.  One was black.  The other had just rebooted.  The computer's clock told me that it was 0300.

I concluded that the "BOOOOOM" was not mortar fire.  By this time I was awake just enough to decide that it wasn't a shell from a cannon. I couldn't hear any AK47s firing and heaven knows there are plenty of those around here which people fire off on Christmas, New Years, Fourth of July and whenever else they get drunk.  Anyway, we weren't being invaded and it wasn't the sound of a border drug war like we hear the sounds from all too often  from just three or four miles away.  It was still silent as a graveyard.  It couldn't have been a katyuska - who on earth in their right mind fires off just one of those things and expects to do any damage?  

I was still groggy when I remembered that the Iranians were sending warships toward the coast somewhere. Maybe they had lobbed an atomic bomb at us.  People have always said that it would take an atomic bomb to wake me up in the night after I have gone to sleep.  That seemed logical then.  The Iranians must have bombed the Port of Brownsville.  I was way too sleepy to handle that, so I went back to bed and slipped back into a sound sleep from which I didn't awaken until late this morning.

A few weeks ago, Nenad Bach called me.  He was so apologetic and concerned that he had awakened me.  Nenad is a kind and considerate man.  I assured him that if I had been asleep, I wouldn't have heard the phone.  That was the truth of course -since it takes an atomic bomb to wake me up (see above).  Actually, that was not an atomic bomb last night.  I can't blame the Iranians.  Even so, the noise was so loud it was heard all over the city.  This morning on Facebook Brownsvillians were trying to triangulate the source of the sound until the weather service explained that we had some unusual lightening along with an inversion layer which amplified the sound.

Gotta learn more about how this works.  Imagine getting control of this phenomenon somehow and placing a rock band in the middle of it someway so the sound would go out over a whole city.  Awesome thought.  Someone should work on this sometime.  

Anyway, that night a few weeks ago, Nenad told me about "Ethnic Day" at the White House in Washington DC.  He wondered if I might be interested in being part of the Croatian - American delegation.  Of course I wanted to go.  There were a few details to work out and all that went well.  While I was in Houston for Ambassador Paro's presentation at the Holocaust Museum we planned for the delegates to meet with him at the Embassy while we were there, so everything was set. Washington DC here we come!

We have all heard stories about how the TSA sometimes gives people a hard time during their screenings.  I'm an old guy so too much hassle could be a problem.  I picked up the phone and called the TSA to find out what to expect and what to do.  The man explained everything to me and told me to be sure and let the agents at the airport know that I am partly disabled.  

At the airport, I was received with great dignity.  Security found a way to check me and my luggage out without any hassle at all.  I like the idea of flying safely and I like the idea of being treated with some decorum.  The TSA accomplished both.  I was so impressed that I called the TSA help line again today just to say "thank you" because somehow I doubt they hear a "thank you" very often.  Soon I was on the airplane traveling to Houston and on to the capitol city. 

There was one detail I learned after I was in the hotel in Washington.  The White House was insisting on two things:  1. That we present identification which matched the identification which we had sent in earlier and 2. That this identification be US Government issued.   

I was depressed.  I've been around the block a few times, in the US military and so forth.  I know that there is exactly such a thing as US Government issued identification.  There are military driver's licenses, passports, and border crossing cards.  I had given my Texas Driver's license number.  Texas is Texas and not the US Government.  There is a difference.  Here on the Texas border we are acutely aware that this is an important difference.

It wouldn't have mattered a lot really if the White House had refused my identification. Somehow seeing where the President lives was not nearly so important as meeting one of the greatest musicians of our time. Nenad Bach was live and in person there at the rendezvous point.  My purpose in being there was accomplished.  It was good to meet my friend for the first time in the flesh.  The rest of the adventure would be icing on the cake. 

The rest of the delegation are all especially fine people too - the sort that make a person extra proud to be a Croat.  We will talk more about them as we go along.

The Croatian - American delegation approached the first White House check point and it seems that our state driver's licenses were quite acceptable after all.  Apparently what the White House had meant to say was that we had to have identification issued by an official entity of the United States, such as one of our respective states.

One observation on this experience so far:  All of us hyphenated - Americans speak on english pretty darn good (except perhaps when I write miau instead of meow for sound cat makes) but it really might be helpful if the Americans would learn to speak on english also.    

There is more to this adventure, so do please stay tuned .......

do sljedeći put, blagoslov - until next time, blessings,
David Byler a.k.a. Canovals
12. veljače 2014

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