Date:         Wed, 19 Jul 1995 18:27:53 EDT
From: gilbertsmith <>
Subject:      WHTMILN 1
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <>


1)  When I found out that my daughter thought I was arriving at 7
p.m. and could not pick me up at airport at 12:30 pm., I realized
that I had a free day of car rental on my AA certificate.  Phoned
Avis, who tries harder, and got a car for 2 days: Thursday noon
through Saturday noon, for $21 plus extras, such as insurance.  WLM
alert: the specter of extra rental car insurance put me in a snit.  I
never buy it, but the recent discussion made me wary.  I should call
my insurance company and inquire about coverage.  I forget.

2)  At the Avis counter, she asks: Do you want accident insurance? NO.
Do you want liability insurance? NO.  Do you want personal property
insurance?  NO.  Do you want hospitalization insurance?  NO.  I begin
to sweat, thinking what will happen to me after refusing these offers
of bliss.  Do you want a full-tank-of-gas-return-the-car-empty?  NO.
So, I have to initial the form in six different places to signify my
resolute NO.  I tell them to rent the car for me until Monday, but I
will probably return it Saturday.  O.K.  Til the 17th.

3) I walk out of the airport and almost fall over:  It is 107
degrees.  But dry.  Reminds me of West Texas.  My car is white, a
Chevrolet something-or-other, midsize car.  I drive out of the
airport lot and notice the tank is 3/4 full.  I have to go back and
complain.  She writes:  Out at 3/4.  Melanie.   Melanie apologizes
and I drive away.  Into town, I notice that the car has a sign saying
that the lights come on automatically during the day and brighten at
night.  Everyone keeps blinking their lights at me.  So I get out and
look.  The lights are on.  Then I notice the car has no license
<plate>.  In the window, a sign for Nebraska In Transit or something
with a huge handwritten expiration date:  July 14.  That's Friday, the
day *before* my reservation ended.  I think:  Oh well.  It's not my

4)  I drive by the Penis On The Plains, admiring the building as I
always do.  Have a few hours to kill before my babies wake up from
their afternoon nap, and do not want to be subjected to the nanny's
repetitious conversation until later, so I go to the Sheldon Art
Gallery on the UNL campus.  Very heavy on the American
Impressionists.  *Very*.  Oh well.  A nice Rothko, a Morris Graves
bird that I like, and one very dumb special exhibit of engravings (18
of them) of various combinations of one-inch lines criss crossing in
ingenious ways:  no two alike.  One extraordianry special exhibit of
huge collages made of wood and metal and mesh and cloth covered with
acrylic paint that looks like mature vomit.  I am transfixed.

5)  I finally get to the house, the heat is now 108 degrees, and the
nanny is happy to see me to see me.  And the older babe is happy with
the ambulance I bring, complete with an assortment of sounds, bought
at the local K-mart from a woman who assured me that *this* would
drive the parents crazy and was appropriate revenge.  What
grandparents are supposed to do, part of the fun of being old.
The younger babe (6 months) looks at me and starts crying.  I say: "It
must be the beard."  The nanny nods and says:  "... be the beard."

6) Then I find beside my bedside table a stack of newspaper
clippings.  My son-in-law the administrative assistant to the
president of the UN system, chief lobbyist, secretary to the Board of
Regents, is the center of a scandal.  I am the father-in-law of a
famous person, like O.J. or Charles Starkweather, who, incidentally,
coincidentally, ironically, is buried along with some of his victims
in the local cemetery, which, I remember, is a *must* *see* on this
-- ggs

Date:         Wed, 19 Jul 1995 19:25:40 EDT
From: gilbertsmith <>
Subject:      WHTMILN 2
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <>


7)  On the last trip my daughter told me about the nanny:  a lot of
things were lying around and there was a mess to clean up, which
the nanny did out of the kindness of her heart.  When my daughter got
home, the nanny said:  "I got everything cleaned up and stored away,
but I didn't know what to do with your husband's liquor."  This is a
woman born and reared in middle America.  The liquor is always the
husband's, the liquor must belong to J.B. (the son-in-law).  When I
settle down, the nanny inquires as to whether I want some <pop>.

8)  A workman, Steve, is trying to fix the sliding screen door to
the patio, which has a tendency to slam shut on little Bennett's hand
several times a day.  But now it wont do it and Steve looks
inquiringly at the nanny, like, are you *sure*?  The nanny says:  "I
know I'm not crazy, and I haven't been into J.B.'s liquor."

9)  So the President decided to give J.B. a more important job with
more responsibilities and in exchange for the extra work a total of
$32,000 in raises in two years.  One Regent (who, like all, is
*elected* by the people) decides this is excessive and writes a
letter to the Pres, with a copy to the local newspaper, complaining
and claiming that, though Mr. Milliken is "savvy, suave, and superbly
qualified", his job could be done for half the price by, say, a
retired Colonel from the local air force base.  Editorials and
letters to the editor follow in both the Lincoln and Omaha papers.
My reaction is to consider retiring to Nebraska where someone can
support me in the manner to which I am not accustomed.

10) My daughter wonders aloud why they have no money when her husband
makes in the low hundreds and she makes in the middle high five
figures and they live in Lincoln Nebraska.  I suggest it might have
something to do with the lifestyle, and she agrees reluctantly.  I
did not raise her for this.  It is her mother's fault.

11)  I bounce babies and first wonder what I will do here for five
days, then on the second day realize what a luxury it is to be away
from the office, away from home, this is the life.  Maybe I'll stay.

12)  We go to a benefit cabaret concert for the Repertory Theater,
preceded by a snack and sip party in the restaurant of the Cornhusker
hotel, owned by the famous Mr. Murdock of millionaire fame.  I meet
the President of the system, two past governors, the current governor
and his wife, who is behaving badly, and see at a distance the
daughter of Rosemary Clooney, who is married to Mr. Murdock and looks
very much like her mother in the Bing Crosby-White Christmas days.
Also, several regents, but not the one who wrote the letter.  I ask
my daughter why Miss Clooney, who looks to be about 35, would marry
Mr. Murdock, who is probably a few days over 65.  My daughter simply
says:  "*Daddeeeeee*...  He's rich."

13) The cabaret performance is by Julie Wilson, who at age about 75
is a <babe> and secure enough to wear a strapless, very low-cut
sequined gown as she sings Cole Porter and Sondheim and a song given
to her by Joe E. Lewis when he got too sick to sing it any more.  A
real blow-away performance that left me screaming for more.  My
daughter kicks me every time she hears another Porter song
that I sang to put her to sleep 34 years ago.  After the show, we go
back to the bar/restaurant for a drink and encounter Emmit, or is his
name really Terrance?

Date:         Wed, 19 Jul 1995 19:49:56 EDT
From: gilbertsmith <>
Subject:      WHTMILN 3
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <>


14) So, J.B. has encountered this bartender several nights before
when he was in the bar with the outgoing Chancellor, who has taken a
cushy job at Penn State, running the system.  The bartender said:
"Are you *really* the Chancellor?  Neat."  When I realize that this
is the same person, I brighten up.  One of the wait staff says:
"Emmit, can you get me a bloody Mary, please?"  So, I say:  "Let's
talk to Emmit."

15)  I ask if he is from Lincoln, and find out that a) he is from
Chicago, *Illinois*, but that his mom moved him to Palo Alto; b) then
she moved him to Colorado and he lost his in-state tuition; c) and,
yes he is a student at UNL in architecture.

16)  "Oh, I say.  Have you ever seen a Frank Lloyd Wright house?"  A
WLM, suddenly.  "No, but a lot of his stuff is like the stuff I do."
"Like what?" I ask.  "Like my furniture.  I design this furniture
that is, like, not to sit on but to look at.  UNL is *not* what you
would call the best school in the world, but in Architecture, it's
the best."

17)  My son-in-law says:  "I'm the vice president of the University
so you don't have to tell me about it."   Emmit replies:  "Oh, yeah,
you're the guy that was in here with the Chancellor."  When Emmit
inquires about the next Chancellor, he says:  "I sure hope he can do
a good job.  Not like Bush.  Reagan did all these great things, and
then Bush came in and couldnt pull it off."  J.B. observes: "I'll
remember to tell the new Chancellor about your analogy."  Emmit asks:

18) On the way home, I commented on how much I enjoyed Julie Wilson
and Emmit.  My daughter was beside herself with embarrassment over
our treatment of Emmit and J.B. insisted his name was not Emmit, but
Terrance.  He saw it on his name-tag:  Terrance.  We had a lenghthy
argument, unresolved at bedtime.   Most of all my daughter and I
wanted to know why Emmit/Terrance said Chicago *Illinois*, but only
Palo Alto.  Like we would know Palo Alto but not Chicago?  I
regretted not having worn my Chicaigao shirt.  Emmit/Terrance would
have had trouble with that.

Date:         Thu, 20 Jul 1995 13:16:53 EDT
From: gilbertsmith <>
Subject:      WHTMILN 4
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <>


19)  So it is Sunday.  My daughter takes the babes to church and J.B.
and I lounge around in the absence of juvenile noises.  Then I decide
to return the car to the airport and coerce J.B. into coming to pick
me up, giving me about 20 minutes lead time to fill the gas tank to
3/4 and check in the car.  I stop at a help-your-self station and
keep checking the gas gauge to be sure I dont put in too much gas.
At the airport, I look at the car and see a little dime-sized chip
off the brand-new white paint on the rear bumper... Ohmygod!  I
should have bought the insurance.  I ignore it, check the NO box on
the return stub after the question "Did the car <experience> any
damage while in your possession?" (IOW, it happened when I wasn't
there), paid my bill for three rental days minus one free day ($45),
then waited 45 minutes for the recalcitrant son-in-law to show up.
He said:  "I thought you didn't care."  It's true.  I didn't care.
Spent the time watching hordes of teenagers in soccer, cheerleader,
and twirler uniforms trying to get flights home after big sports

20)  Monday, I meet my daughter and her hubby for lunch in the
Cornhusker Terrace Grille, during which he tells me the story about
the nice suburban white guy who gets put in jail for mail fraud.
Gets stuck in cell with big, burley Black dude, who looks him up and
down and asks:  "Hey, Man, you gotta decide: you wanna be the husband
or the wife?"  White guy thinks a minute, then says "I prefer to be
the husband."  Black dude says: "Fine, man.  First thing you have to
do as the husband is get over here and suck your wife's dick."

21)  After the waitress takes our order, J.B. says:  "Uh oh.  Maybe
Terrance's name really is Emmit.  Her name tag said:  Terrace Grille.
So, maybe he's not Terrance."  We berate him for his error and laugh
at the final -e on Grille.  The Terrace Grill-ie, that's what it is.

22)  I bid goodbye to the nanny, telling her I'll be happy to get
back to some normal weather.  She nods, confirming "... some normal
weather."  We go to the airport and little Bennett runs around having
fun, then they decide they cant wait for plane and I send them off in
the car.  I tell him I'm going off in the plane and he pats his chest
and says "Me me me me me me me!" while little Caleb grins at me and
squeezes my fingers.  Hard to leave them.

23)  *Really* hard to confront the reality check of returning home.
Only the prospect of reading this listbunch carries me across the
clouds, tearless, chin up, ready to face the music.  I get home, the
Miata is still there, the house is still there, the mess is still
there, though not in the living room, which is uncommonly clean.
Nick has that guilty <i had a party while you were gone that's why 
everything is straight and all your beer is gone> look on his face.
At least he's not in jail.

24) I can't have a beer so I go to sleep and dream about a
chicken with a tatoo of a beagle sawing somebody's house in
half with a chain saw while sucking on a tube of K-Y jelly, singing a
song about lovin' my man cause he beats me so.   Strange.