Traveled north yesterday...all day. But so much new to write about...
Every seat on the plane was filled so it was a "close" flight. Luckily I had some wonderful seat mates, but it does make you notice and count your blessings. It also makes you think twice before any kind of judgement. S0, after passing through security and proceeding to Gate B17 (yes, just imagine where gate 17 was in relation to security), I sat down proud of my "A" group status of boarding, pulled out my knitting and heard, "Marianne Julie Frost, please return to the security station to retrieve your driver's license." Shit. Now it's 5 minutes until boarding and I can just forget about my "A" status. So quick thinking. What to do? I ask all those folks sitting around me if anyone could possibly save me an aisle seat (so I can straighten my weaker knee if necessary). My eyes lock with a quite fancy young woman, perfectly coifed, donning a briefcase...and she unsmilingly says she will. OK. Thanks. But still noticing. Perfectly hilighted and cut blonde hair. Meticulous slacks and sweater. Diamond stud earrings. Perfect barely there makeup. hardly smiles. And a leather briefcase so creamy looking you can smell the leather even if your nose is stuffed. What would YOU think? (C'mon, I'm not the only one whose little judgemental mind rolls into action).
I'll leave this part there. I race to the security, actually running on the moving walkways to catch every extra second of time. When I get back and board the plane there she is with my seat saved. I offer her a homemade chocolate chip cookie that Shannon sent with me, she declines. (More judgement, you ask?) I struggle with my armload of crap, all discomboogulated, into the overhead bin, with impatient passengers waiting to move past and trying as hard as I can not to drop anything on the heads below me. Phew. Plunk down into my aisle seat, my "seat-saver" in the window seat. Just as she says to me, "Maybe, with any luck, this won't be a full flight." Indicating she likes this space between us as much as I do? At that point I glance up and my eyes lock with the wise old eyes of a solid, strong, colorfully dressed, 70ish African American woman, also with perfect manicure on long nails and wonderfully braided hair, who nods at the seat next to me and smiles. "Of course." I smile back. I unbuckle...stand in the crowded aisle again, and make room for seatmate number 2, who pleasantly fills our part of Airplane World.
Skip ahead 4 and 1/2 hours and we are landing in Seattle. What do I know? Susan, the woman at the window, is headed to spend 3 weeks helping her sister with her 3 children under 5 years old, while she goes through chemotherapy. I listened as she talked and cried. And then in June she is headed from Pittsburg (where she lives with her husband and Golden Lab) to Sonoma for 4 days; and now she has a whole list of favorite spots to experience, from me. She also pulled out a big ham sandwich on a french roll, thus, not such a food purist afterall. And Birdie who sits between us, is retired and headed to Seattle to meet her youngest daughter to attend a seminar with her. In the previous hour I heard all about her retiring from GM and longing to travel just about anywhere. I laughed aloud and teased her about reading the map on the beverage napkin as she spoke about her trips. I think I kept her from punching out the young girl sitting behind her (rocking out to her Ipod and kicking my seatmate "in the be-hind" on every downbeat). I learned that our paths as women were very similar: two marriages each but basically raised our children alone(she's "not the submissive type", nor am I), lots of children (me 5, her 6). All three of us recently lost dogs we loved. And when all was said and done, we all agreed to pray for one another as life passes by. I truly met 2 women who have carved places in my memory bank, in my heart, forever.
Vijay, Swapna and Jahan were at the aiport to pick me up and take me to the train station for the second leg of my journey. Since we had a few hours in between, we headed out to Pike's Fish Market. What an incredible place that is. I can't even explain the feeling there, but we all loved it. Fresh. Wholesome. Funky. Alive. I really enjoyed spending this time on the west coast with my Chicago family, as brief as it was... I picked up a Greek salad and we headed to the train station where I said goodbye to my little jahan for a couple of weeks. I checked in, and waiting to depart to Canada, ate my salad and people watched. It was dusk by now so I wasn't able to take photographs any longer, but the magnificence of Washington state and Canada. Magestic. It was so late when I arrived in Vancouver, yet I still had to smother Satchel in kisses and eat him alive. Oh it was like I saw him only yesterday. Temple was sleeping, and even though Brooke so graciously offered that I could wake her up, I knew I couldn't do that to them...I'd soon be happily in dreamland and they would be up with a baby. but I stared at her and stroked her sweet little cheek.