“Paris is always a good idea.”

— Audrey Hepburn

It all started when, to the surprise of everyone on both sides of the aisle, the New York former casino owner won the presidential election. And those of the far left, near left and East Coast elite panicked, and started looking for their passports.

I don’t know what they all expected, myself included, but it was the feeling du jour since things began to look wobbly for us in the polls.

Being Irish, I always expected the worst.

What if, we thought, Donald roared into the White House with a bone in his mouth and a golden machete, planning to throw all of us leftist writers into concentration camps?

I know this all sounds like paranoid hysteria, but that’s the way writers are, even those of us who write with a humorous edge.

I know I overdo the Irish thing, but you have to remember that all of my grandparents fled Ireland in their youth for various reasons, hunger being the most prominent. But one of my grandfathers — I can’t name him in case he’s still on the wanted list — got out with just one clean shirt and his brother’s socks.

So if many of my “friends” on my Facebook page were really planning to leave the country rather than live under the heel of what they imagined to be a crazy right-wing dictatorship, what should we do?

She, who still has another year to go on her teacher contract, couldn’t just suddenly grab her Coach bag and go. Besides, she clearly wasn’t buying any of this paranoid hysteria. Thanksgiving was her main concern at the moment.

“Bush didn’t put you in a concentration camp, and you wrote terrible things about him,” she said, as I was poking through drawers, “and what is it you’re looking for again?”

“Our passports. Where are our passports?”

“We don’t have passports. We’ve never had passports.”

“You’re kidding. Why don’t we have passports? Everyone has passports; our dentist has a passport. I’ll bet Dave who does our lawn has a passport. Our best friends, the Dobbers, have passports,” I screamed.

“They have passports because they went to France last year; we went to Camden.”

I hate it when she uses my humor against me.

I went to the attic and got out all of the old travel folders we had collected some years ago when we still had money, pushed aside her breakfast and laid them out on the table.

“I’m trying to eat breakfast,” she said. “I have to be at school in an hour.”

“How can you think of school when my name is probably already on their list?”

“Do you really think Trump’s campaign reads the Morning Sentinel?” she asked.

“All of my columns for 30 years are in my book, and it’s for sale on Amazon. Those people have hacked Amazon, I’m sure.”

“Your doctor hasn’t even read your book. Why would Trump?”

I showed her a couple of places where we might find refuge. I showed her Ireland. As all of my grandparents were Irish-born, I had heard that they would immediately give me citizenship.

“You remember ‘The Quiet Man’?” I asked, “where John Wayne went back to Ireland and bought his grandmother’s house? We could do that.”

She kept eating and flipping newspaper pages. “Your grandmother’s house is probably a parking lot now. That was hundreds of year ago. And besides, I’m not Irish.”

“They’ll take you. Just practice that brogue I taught you.”

By the time she had left for school, I had downloaded some possibilities: Italy loomed large; we had always wanted to live in Tuscany. Argentina popped up; my friend Kenneth Silverman has a place in Argentina and was planning to escape there. All the Nazis went there after the war; why not us?

Travelchannel.com had dozens of pages on Sweden, Finland and Poland, with a special section that said, “Holiday Cocktails around the World.” That brightened me some. Of course, Ireland was realistically out of the question; that’s the first place they would look for me. Canada was out of the question; it’s just a bigger Maine.

Mexico? She teaches Spanish. Forget about that. Donald had forged new relationships with Mexico. And besides, what if he really built the wall, and we changed our minds and wanted to come back and couldn’t get in? How long can you live on tamales and margaritas?

By the time she came home from school, I was so exhausted, I had fallen asleep face down on my laptop keyboard.

She shook my shoulder.

“Did you find us a place?” she asked. “It better be warm, because we won’t be left with money for heating bills in Sweden.”

I hate it when she uses my humor against me.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.


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