It is that moment that you can’t quite believe just happened.  Time stops if only for milli-seconds.  There is no sound, very little sensation, except falling.  And there you are again.  Lying flat on your behind (pronounced bee-hind) in front of an audience that you just made laugh and cry a little with your reading.

It had gone well.  The audience was clapping.  It was time to go offstage, you missed a step and performed a swan dive onto the floor of the Walton Arts Center.

That was me two weeks ago Thursday night.  May 30th, the Northwest Arkansas Listen to Your Mother show.  It was a fantastic evening and the audience loved it.  Fourteen of us read our very diverse essays on our experiences of mothering.  They got the jokes, shed the tears we felt fairly certain they would shed, because we had done the same before them.

I can’t say enough about the other women and one lone really great guy who composed the rest of the cast.  Witty, profound, open, caring, intense, introspective, vulnerable.  Some were bloggers like me, many of whom have blogged for quite a long while; some, already book authors.  Others, women from the state who simply had a story to tell.

To be truthful, I have actually always found it funny to watch people fall, so I have to giggle at what it must be like for my husband, for example, to have been there that night, and to see me just disappear.  Kinda like a bowling pin.  “She’s up – she’s…. where is she?  She’s down!”  The gasp from the audience was the big clue that this was not a magic act.

To add insult to injury, I went outside to get a breath of fresh air and compose myself, and thus locked myself out of the concert hall.

Just not my night.

I had to go all the way back to the front to go in, where I was met by some security person,

“Aren’t you the one who fell?”.

“Yes“, I sweetly smiled.

“Are you okay?  I have been looking for you.  I have to check.  It’s policy“.  I reassured her I wasn’t going to sue anybody, that I took full responsibility for the mishap, and went back to my colleagues, some of whom were still performing.   By that time,  I was back to normal and ready to add that moment to a long list of embarrassing moments that simply have to be allowed to fade if you are going to get on with life.

Speaking of bruised, there was another part of me that was far more wounded.

I had to sit on it for hours on a plane to get to Spain the next day to see my son.  I felt like investing in a cushion for my poor aching little rear end.

I did not.

There are just things a good Southern girl doesn’t DO.  I may have fallen on my ass on Thursday night but I would not be seen sitting on a pillow on Friday morning.  No sir-eee.

Andalucia's olive fields - looked liked gorgeous striped cloth from afar

Andalucia’s olive fields – looked liked gorgeous striped cloth from afar; if you squint your eyes, you can see…

Spain – gosh, what can I say?  It was absolutely wonderful.  I was so overjoyed to see our son Rob.  He was ready to speak Spanish and care for us and our journey during the week.  We traveled in the part of the Spain that, I learned, is not as affluent as some other parts of Spain.  Andalucia.  There were rows and rows of olive trees almost everywhere you looked as we drove through the countryside.  The mountains looked striped in the distance due to their planting; it was stunning.

We tried to eat only at very local places, had simple but incredible tapas (small plates) of food that are shared by everyone.  Spinach with garbanzo beans, artichokes, cheese, olives, fried sardines, fried squid, gazpacho, oysters, eggs lots of different ways and Iberian ham,  which is a specialty of the region.  Just to name a few I can remember right now.  Different cities had their different specialties.  Historic art.  El Greco, Murillo.  Centuries old relics, palaces, mosques and cathedrals.  I listened and smiled as I heard Spanish flow easily from my son’s lips and heard him talk and laugh with native speakers.  It is such a wonderful experience to truly understand another language and therefore somewhat that culture.

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There were times when the matador was literally inches away from the bull’s horns…

The first night that we were there and I wasn’t comatose from jet lag, we watched a bullfight on a huge TV in the hotel bar.  I was amazed at how close the matador actually got to the bull and at one point, one of them was caught under the bull’s feet.  The bull was using his horns to fight him; the matador had to be rescued.   Rob kept warning me that the matador was going to spear the bull at the end;  “Mom, don’t look, Mom look away“.  I was once again reminded of how protective he is of me at times; it was a wonderful reminder.  But I looked anyway, I was too curious.  Then I looked away.

We talked to several people about the bullfight.  It’s something we Americans find hard to understand.  We were told for Spaniards, it is a complicated and intricate art form.   It was fascinating to watch.  The bravest of the bulls are saved for breeding supposedly.

Iberian hams hanging in a restaurant - dry, salty and full of flavor

Iberian hams hanging in a restaurant – dry, salty and full of flavor

We traveled to Cordoba, Seville, Ronda, Granada and Marbella.  Our last excursion was to the Rock of Gibraltar and yes, it looks just like the picture in the Prudential Insurance commercials.  Except it is has holes cut out where there have been cannons and lights for wartime.  Owned by Great Britain, funny enough, and neither Spain nor Great Britain is too chummy about that to this day.  We saw the famous Barbary tailless apes, who are pretty damn ornery and who will jump on your head if you are not careful.

Rob and a Barbary Ape - Rob on the left

Rob and a Barbary Ape – Rob on the left.  It was raining, very unusual for Gibraltar.

At least I won’t make you look at ALL our pictures.

We are home and it will be interesting to see how we all live together again.  I was aware on the trip that some things have become important to me that Rob isn’t all that aware of, like this blog for example.  And I learned that he likes to eat nuts.  He’s never eaten nuts.  So okay,  he likes nuts now, or discovered nuts.  Whatever.

It will be interesting to see what other discoveries there are to make.

 

 

 

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