Adventures with my husband, his PTSD, and two enormous service dogs
Chosen Ozark Writers’ League Book of the Year, 2013.
Read a review: Memoir Finds Humor in Touching Tale
$1 from the sale of each copy of Clueless Gringos in Paradise and $3 from the sale of each copy of My Life with a Wounded Warrior will be donated to Freedom Dogs.
Mel Brooks claims that “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”
Mel Brooks would enjoy the heck out of Clueless Gringos in Paradise. Author Pamela Foster and her Vietnam Veteran husband, Jack, sell everything they own, pick up the leashes of two 150-pound service dogs, and emmigrate to the “tropical paradise” they expect to find in Panama. Jack is a former marine with raging PTSD, and the service dogs are mastiffs who are never further away than the end of a leash. The story takes readers through a hilarious and harrowing journey in airplanes, taxis, high-rise hotels, buses, boats, restaurants and cat-infested fish markets. Add a liberal dose of high anxiety – how could it not be hilarious?
My husband, Jack, and I sit in our recliners – you know, the ones you see on TV with old people in them – and watch CNN while we pet the fur-covered, 150-pound trunkless elephants we call dogs, and contemplate another winter in the high desert of Arizona.
“You know what?” I ask rhetorically.
Jack doesn’t answer. We’ve been married long enough that, first of all, he knows one of my lead-ins to a discussion about our lives when he hears it and, secondly, he’s trained his brain to simply filter out nine-tenths of what comes floating out of my mouth.
Knowing this, with no encouragement whatsoever, I continue, “It feels like we’re just sitting here waiting to die.”
He turns his head and looks at me.
A minute later, he says, “Yeah. It does, doesn’t it?”
After breakfast, I say, “Let’s move to someplace green and warm with a beautiful blue ocean.”
This, right here, turns out to be the equivalent of saying, “I’ll bet we could strap these two giant dogs to our backs and just leap right across that rocky abyss over yonder. Don’t worry about those loose boulders. We’ll be fine.”
Why would I even consider such a thing? Because Jack’s my hero, and he came into my life when I really needed a hero.
“From the dry Arizona desert to tropical Panama, Foster shares the adventures she experienced traveling with her Vietnam veteran husband with PTSD and their two gigantic service dogs. By weaving charm, wit, and humor throughout the story, Foster masterfully brings to light the daily challenges faced by veterans with PTSD and their spouses. Insightful, endearing, funny yet sad, Clueless Gringos in Paradise brings understanding and hope to all those who deal with the unseen wounds and scars of war.”
~ R.H. Burkett, author of Soldiers in the Mist