Each year, a few days after my birthday, I undergo my annual physical, a procedure that produces the usual bit of apprehension.
I’m always relieved when Dr. Hollon reviews the numbers and finally says, “You seem to be doing fine. See you next year.”
Last week while in Dr. Hollon’s waiting room, I leafed through a Psychology Today magazine and discovered a story about dreams. “Dreams are the stories the brain tells during sleep. They are a collection of images, feelings, and memories that involuntarily occur during slumber,” the article said.
Soon after Dr. Hollon completed my examination, Brenda and I headed to Dayton for dinner to celebrate our wedding anniversary. As we drove, I mentioned to Brenda the article I had read about dreams in Dr. Hollon’s office.
“Brenda, do you mind if we stop at Sam’s Club in Beavercreek? I’m going to do something I only do a couple of times a year”
“Let me guess,” Brenda said, “I bet you are going to eat a hot dog. Please don’t spoil your dinner. Our reservations are in an hour. Anyway, you know hot dogs usually make you dream.”
I bought a hot dog, walked over to the comfortable outdoor patio set, sat down in a soft lawn chair, and ate my hot dog. In no time I began to feel sleepy.
“Brenda, I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to go to dinner tonight. I need to go to Cleveland,” I told her.
“Go ahead. I will get something to eat later,” Brenda answered.
The curious trip to Cleveland from Beavercreek was a quick one. It only took 15 minutes. That should have been my first inkling something was wrong with this scenario.
I could think of no good reason why I was in Cleveland, but soon found myself on bus number 6 at Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street. We stopped at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a man in a blue sweater boarded the bus.
He sat down across from me and picked up a newspaper. He was wearing mirror sunglasses, like Boss Godfrey in “Cool Hand Luke.” He began to hum to himself as we rode along.
For some reason, the humming brought back a quote from Mrs. Meredith Brown, our seventh-grade music teacher.
“I like to hear a man hum,” she told our class at the time.
We passed Prospect Street and the man in the sunglasses pulled the cord above his head. “I need to get off here,” he told the bus driver.
As he left the bus, he stopped and said to me, “I want you to have this special watch. I think you will enjoy it.” Over my protest, he handed me the watch and began running full-speed down Euclid Avenue.
At the next bus stop a young man about 20 years old dressed in a blue blazer with a lapel pin, gray pants, and an Ohio State tie, sat down in the seat the other man had just vacated.
He stared at me and said, “Sir, I need that special watch you are wearing.” I ignored him and quickly hopped up from my seat and began to sprint down a side street in a very rough end of town.
I was running like I was 20 years old. I ran for blocks. I stopped at an intersection and a man on crutches asked if I wanted to buy some oxygen. I didn’t need oxygen but thought, why not, and bought a large cannister with “No Smoking” labeled across the top.
After hoisting the cannister over my back, I continued running. I saw a group of men in an ally shooting craps. “Would you guys like a squirt of oxygen?” I asked.
“Sure, man. Bring it on,” one man responded. He took a big whiff as he passed the oxygen cannister around to the other men sitting in the circle.
I took off running again, and noticed my special watch had a phone, text, and video. It also had magical powers. When I arrived back downtown, the young man with the Ohio State tie jumped in front of me and shouted, “I need that special watch!”
He chased me down an alley toward the Cuyahoga River, past Lake Erie before we finally entered an old warehouse, one like you might see in a mafia movie.
Just then, the phone on my watch rang.
“Pat, Mike DeWine,” the voice at the other end said. “Would you do me a favor? Fran and I were supposed to watch the Indians play the Reds this afternoon, but we were delayed. Would you run down to the stadium and call me back on your watch with the score?”
“I sure will, governor,” I answered.
I sat in a seat behind third base and called the governor. “Mike, the Reds are leading 4 to 3,” I said.
The sun was hot, so I decided to rest since I had been running for over an hour. I soon fell asleep.
About 40 minutes later, an usher approached and began to shake me.
“Pat, wake up! I knew those hot dogs would do that to you.”
I opened my eyes and discovered it wasn’t an usher it was Brenda, and I wasn’t in Progressive Stadium, I was in Sam’s Club in Beavercreek still sitting in that comfy lawn chair.
“Were you dreaming?” she asked.
Pat Haley is former Clinton County Commissioner and former Clinton County Sheriff.