It’s Saturday, May 21, 2011, 7:25 pm, and I am in Bellingham, a medium-sized town about 80 miles north of Seattle, give or take. I was not whisked here at 6:00 but drove here quite intentionally before noon, so Bellingham can’t be heaven, or wherever it was I was supposed to go when the Rapture hit. Furthermore, there’s been no sign of earthquake activity or other varieties of devastation anywhere in western Washington, as far as I can tell. On the other hand, maybe Jesus showed up, looked around town, shrugged his dusty shoulders, and moved on.
I don’t think the Rapture came to Moses Lake, either. That’s a small town in eastern Washington. My fourth grader and her dad were there for a math competition today, along with hundreds of other math whizzy kids and their proud parents. No earthquakes there, either. But I mean, what kind of jerk would Jesus have to be to kill a bunch of mathletes? So maybe he just skipped Moses Lake, too.
Seattle, on the other hand, could be gone for all I know.
My daughter Tigger and I came up to Bellingham for a little mini-vacation, you know, to get away from the fireballs raining down from the sky. We spent the day bopping around “Historic Fairhaven,” a part of town that looks entirely too new to be historic but still has quaintness in spades. We visited a cool indie bookstore and I bought the newest novel by Joshilyn Jackson, Backseat Saints.
A few years ago I belonged to an online writers’ group called “momwriters.” Some of my xanga pals were part of that group, too, as was Joshilyn. At the time, she was just publishing her first novel, and we were all breathlessly waiting to see how it did while simultaneously writhing with jealousy. Also at that time the group imploded from the weight of our collective egos and our sniping and pettiness and who knows what else. So that was the end of that, but I still like to see Joshilyn’s books on the shelves of the few remaining bookstores.
Later, Tigger and I wandered into another Historic Fairhaven bookstore—the kind with rows and rows of bookshelves groaning with used books of every type, categorized in some indecipherable manner, with additional piles of books on the floor, everywhere. I said, “Oh, this is one of THOSE bookstores.” Tig said, “This is EXTREMELY one of THOSE bookstores.”
From one of those piles, I picked up The Egg and I, by Betty MacDonald. Yes, the author of the Mrs. Pigglewiggle books. This one is a memoir of her days farming in the Pacific Northwest in the 1940’s. It looks charming and I’m excited to read it. But what really got me was the inscription scrawled on the inside of the front cover by a previous purchaser of the book. It reads:
For my best friend, who has made our time on The Egg and I the most peacefull (sic) and loving time of my life. Thank you for teaching me how to relax.
Remember, I was at the bookstore this afternoon, pre-Rapture. So even though I don’t know Gordon and no one has ever credited me with teaching him to relax or presiding over a peacefull (sic) and loving time, can you blame me if I wanted to pretend that the inscription was for me, for just a few hours before the earthquakes came?
In case you were wondering, Tigger chose a Guide to Demonology to have in her pocket when 6 pm rolled around.
Well, I hope the Big Guy skipped over your part of the world, too, friends. But I’m not turning on the news to find out. Maybe Bellingham is the last remaining town on earth, and if so, I can wait til tomorrow to learn that.