I’ve always been a control freak. After all, that’s the reason I have a very long resume. College would not have been possible for me without my working long hours as a cashier at Kroger’s to pay tuition. And anyone who has ever received a Ph.D. knows that dissertations require having a schedule, maintaining it, and keeping a host of bits of information in order in addition to the research and writing. As a CEO of colleges in Kentucky, Texas, California, and Missouri, I was required to have a handle on a host of things from students and their issues to the contractors engaged in campus building projects.
So, I’m having a bit of a problem with adjusting to all over which I have no control with the coronavirus. To tell the truth, it’s more complicated than “a bit of a problem”: on certain days I’m overwhelmed.
When my son Quentin called me yesterday to tell me that he had wrecked his truck, had run into a turkey, I started to grin. He was furious as he detailed all the damage that this turkey had done to his vehicle: “Bloody turkey feathers wedged in the seams of my truck and in the trim.”
I asked if he were hurt and was relieved to learn that he was fine. Within hours, all the reports had been done (only because with the virus fewer vehicles are on the road now and even fewer are having wrecks, so there is less work for insurance companies), and I was inspired to write a little poem:
A turkey was trotting through the trees
When it spied Quentin Blevins through the leaves;
“I’ll play Chicken with him,” the old bird said,
And before she knew it, she was lying there dead.
“Damn,” said Quentin, “didn’t you have more sense
Than to tangle with me in a forest so dense
That I didn’t see you on this foggy road?
So, I hope you’ll like your next abode.
“Heaven or Hell, which shall it be?
I don’t know, so don’t ask me.”
“White or dark meat?” the host inquired of his guests that evening.
My next decision was whether I should share it with Quentin, because as I said, he was really furious about the accident. He’s a bit of a perfectionist and takes great pride in his vehicles. Me, I’m a control freak with academic studies and work but care very little about order in my home or in my car.
I usually use the back seat of my car for trash after I have filled the floor of the front seat. It was embarrassing for me recently when I offered a student a ride to her car after our evening class was finished. When she opened the door and looked a bit dubious, I said, “Just sit on all that stuff in the seat and don’t worry about where to put your feet. It’ll be all right.”
I did a test run on the poem with Quentin’s dad, Jack, and his brother, Lance (Jack initially thought the whole turkey thing was a belated April Fool’s joke). Then, I thought, Why not just give it a shot?
So, I did. As I started to read, Quentin was not happy. By the end of the poem, he was laughing. By 9 P.M. that evening, he had requested a copy. I sent it, and his response was, “Bravo!!!” As I went to bed last night, I smiled.
Vivian B. Blevins. Ph.D., a graduate of The Ohio State University, served as a community college president for 15 years in Kentucky, Texas, California, and Missouri before returning to Ohio to teach telecommunication employees from around the country and students at Edison State Community College and to work with veterans. You may reach her at 937-778-3815 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.