2004. Waiting for an Epiphany

allisonsI started this story in 2004 and stumbled on it the other day when I was moving files from my dead laptop drive to my shiny-new-full-of-promise laptop.   When I wrote it, my boys were five and nearly two years old.  It put me right back there: exhausted, fed up, frustrated, and loving them too much.

I had two people say I need to do something with the story. The underlying weird “power” she discovers she has is one I wondered about all my life. Wouldn’t it be cool if I could….

Yeah. It would.

“She just wanted more of a “say” in what happened in her life. She felt like an actor onstage being told what to do by a director that did not want her input and who kept changing the plot of the play every few minutes. On top of that this director seemed to enjoy watching her stagger about completely in the dark as to what would happen next.”

(c) JPPeranteau, Waiting for an Epiphany



darth-on-cat (1)Eddie Murphy

Alan Alda, in MASH.

My friend Gwen.

The only way to describe their laughter is you hear it and want to make it happen again.

As I navigate the world of medicine, not wanting to hear things I need to, and have things done to fix things, I realize laughter is freeing and healing. For awhile I forget.  Just for awhile I am normal.

If you can count a snort-producing laugh normal.  Jon Stewart, MASH, Hot in Cleveland, Airplane…

I will keep watching. Keep producing those healing endorphins. And try to face things that aren’t so great, knowing they are temporary and laughter is forever.

Italy: Terra Inconita – Coming along nicely


“Mike was ecstatic. She was there. He was sure it was her. Her and all her smells. The person who had taken him out of the cold wet dark place, when he hurt was back. He had to thank her. He loved her. She was back. She was back! He leaped up at her, his entire body morphing into a giant wagging tail. Ari got down on her knees and the overjoyed dog sat in front of her pawing at her with his feet, whining. “Hello baby.” she said breathlessly, focused on him, but knowing John was standing in front of her and staring. “I guess you healed up just fine.”
(c) J P Peranteau. Italy: Terra Incognita. All rights reserved.

Flashback to 2006 – Italy

cropped-sovanashops.jpgMy mother has never been out of the United States.

Well, that is not exactly true. When I was about 11 years old, she went to Cancun, Mexico alone on vacation. I dimly remember her returning with a beautiful blue scarf with dolphins on it – for me. I put it up on my bedroom wall for a few months.

But this was truly the trip of a lifetime – just the two of us… alone for two weeks.


A trip.

Not a vacation to Italy. Does a person “vacation” in Italy? Parts of it felt like an education. That’s not a bad thing though.

What will I remember from my 14 days in Italy?

1. My mom snoring and being awakened every morning by 7:30AM to follow an itinerary that left no time for respite.

2. The mini bus that we boarded far too frequently to go to yet another beautiful place.

3. Beautiful places (see #2). So many they have now all blurred together into some sort of disjointed collage. I took 400+ photos and I can barely identify the towns.

4. Shouts of “CAR” while on a walking tour of a town with streets 10 feet wide that did not allow car traffic. (hunh?)

5. The group of 14 we traveled with (among them, a relentlessly talkative Puerto Rican lady named Alba that we dove down alleys to avoid walking with; a wonderful couple from Vermont who are full of substance and life love, and a friendly, educated, very patrician woman from New York City who dressed impeccably the entire time).

6. Constantly forgetting the location of every item we brought with us due to a lethal combination of new purses, re-packing every 3 days, and tiredness.

7. The wonderful Italian woman in a cheese shop in Orvieto, who did not speak a word of English, but was able, (through Pantomime) to understand I wanted some Pecorino, shrink wrapped for travel – insert sucking noise- ; that my mom was with me – insert hugs; and that she had a large family and shop had been written up in the Chicago Tribune in 2000.

8. The sense of humor our trip leader slid into when we all acted like petulant three year olds on the one day it rained.

9. Dirty, nasty, “for Godssake don’t touch anything” restrooms, that you have to pay 50 Euro for the privilege of using and sometimes were just a hole in the floor (and I have the pictures to prove it!).

10. Asian tourist ants pouring out of 36 foot long tour buses to invade the town we were exploring that day.

11. Barbarian Italian children doing the same as the Asian Ants.

12. Wishing the days would speed up and slow down at the same time.

13. Coming around a corner and being stunned into silence by absolutely breakthtakingly beautiful countryside (after we got out of the city) that went on forever, and was cut through by roads that the landscape had forced into curly-fries the bus had problems navigating.

14. Business class. Yes Business Class.

15. Frothy, dark-thick-but-not-bitter cappuccino. Hanging salamis, wheels of cheese, bottles of wine, bars of dark dark dark chocolate and unsalted bread with olive oil. Tirimisu until I was sick of it.

15. Deep intakes of breath.

16. Lots of laughter and love.

710 Miles Down: Woodbridge,VA.  October 13, 2006

I wrote this in 2006 when my mom and I were driving from Florida to Maine to move her, after my father’s death a year before. They had moved to Florida from Maine because my dad longed for warmer weather. My mother was never a fan. She’s Norwegian and from Wisconsin. She never complained about snow. She never mind shoveling. My dad on the other hand… 

As soon as he passed, my mother knew she had to return to her soul home. Maine. Even though it meant leaving me and my two small kids in Florida…not sure what was going to happen next.

It’s suspended. 

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