Custard the Dragon

From The Tale of Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash (4th stanza):

Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage’
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

I had a strange, Custard-the-Dragon episode yesterday afternoon and early evening! Odd – – I normally identify with Belinda (though in my case, it’s stubborness rather than bravery). Possessing a partially-tamed Irish temper, sometimes Mustard has felt like a better fit 😉 But Custard?? Nope! Not me! (Well, other than when standing too close to the rim of a canyon. . .Oh, it doesn’t have to be the Grand Canyon – Canyon De Chelly will do! O.K., I admit I’m also a total wimp about our Texas-strength thunderstorms with winds that bring down old oak trees or tear the roof off of my second-favorite restaurant!)

Yesterday, I suddenly became Custard! Last night was the afore-mentioned Employee Recognition & Retirement Celebration. “To all honorees: Please arrive by 6:15 pm.” Somewhere between deciding when I needed to get dressed-up and on my way and actually donning my long, swirly skirt (great for hiding the leg braces!), matching top and make-up (Yes, real make-up!!), I became Custard. I thought very seriously, several times, about simply Not Going!

What caused the transformation? I’m not completely sure, but I can put my finger (or rather, my feet ) on part of it. Maintaining my balance in a large, slow-moving group of people (the foyer, entering the auditoreum, etc.) was going to be problematical. The walk up the very long ramp and the walk across the stage were a recipe for disaster. A sure-to-be-crowded reception in the cafeteria . . . . ditto.

Custard made herself attend, and Christy is glad she did! Though DH and I arrived seperately from different departure points, he arrived well before the crowd started to thicken and I had his arm to steady me through the guests, honorees and family members. He even caught me when the small, innocuous looking door we were standing near before the auditoreum doors opened(marked “Performer’s Mezzanine” or something similar) suddely flew open and launched me forward!

The retirees were presented with their awards after the honorees with 20, 30, 35-39, 40 and one with 45 years of service (!) were recognized. With approximately 130 retirees in the line, the walk up the very long ramp became an orderly progression of step – pause – step. (Yay! I can do that without wobbling too much!) When my turn came, the walk across the stage to the Superintendant was accomplished with only one bobble (one of those disconcerting, right-brace-meets-left-brace moments!) and the passage to the Board of Trustees went smoothly. I received gentle hand-shakes (remember the wrist brace?) from some members, and hugs from those who know me better, and negotiated the walk down the very long ramp (which hadn’t even been part of my concerns!) and back to my seat without any glitches. Hehe – one small glitch; I was so intent on smiling and staying upright that I forgot the “Kodak moment” with the Superintendant! DH seems to have caught a good candid photo, though.

I got hugs from friends and former co-workers, and enough plaintive “Who’s going to do _____ now that you’re gone?” questions to feed the ego. (VBG) It was a wonderful evening – – – -and I am so glad it is over!!

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