Boarding Southwest for the first leg of what will turn out to be a 25 hour journey, I sat in a front row window seat (how lucky!) settling in for the 2 1/2 hr flight from Seattle to Denver. A young woman sat between me and a reserved, but pleasant, handsome man (who I would guess to be mid-forty. The girl was wearing the rowing team jacket of her 10-15 member group the Tulsa Hurricanes so I asked her about rowing, school, and family. We had a warm conversation for quite awhile. Turned out she was from Tumbler, Texas, an hour from Austin, and is now in her sophomore year at TU. Her parents are originally from New York and California (Silicone Valley where her grandparents sold their million dollar home and moved to Tumbler, buying a home for 125k, to be closer to their son and family) so she has been raised with an open mind and has a zest for travel. Already she did a study abroad with a host family in Dresden, Germany for a couple of months and is heading back to do another in German language and the arts spending 6 weeks in Berlin. She worries about her younger sister and step-sister getting stuck in Tumbler with their safe and secure lives as homecoming queen for the oldest and the youngest emulating that older sister’s aspirations to be known as beautiful in the eyes of the safe small town Tumbler, Texas. They have no desire to travel outside this world of safety. I was glad to hear she loved her now-widowed grandmother who does jazzercize with her mother and bakes Christmas cookies during the holidays. Oh, and I found it very sweet how excited she was to tell me she had stood over the grave of Luther in Germany and loved the movie “Luther” which, oddly enough, I remember seeing a few years ago (having known nothing about the Lutheran religion at the time). She also mentioned that one of her finals papers is on arts censorship so I shared the story of Lenore Kandall and that she sat next to me at my musician check-in table at the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love concert in Golden Gate Park 5 years ago (wow, that long ago already!). She said she would look her up and could add her poetry censorship case from the early 60’s (due to erotica).
The 5 hour layover in Denver went quickly after some time for a healthy enough brunch (I will make a conscious decision to eat well on this trip) and a long phone call with an old friend.
Jordan and I were thrilled to see each other again. We all went to get a quick bite as they had BA coupons to use but had to rush through our reunion, ask the server to take our group photo (I’m finding these to be interesting before and after shots which seem to tell the story of how relaxing we look after a long holiday), and rush to the gate while they are boarding our row numbers. I prefer to not function so close to the wire unlike my son who doesn’t like wasting precious moments in lines or waiting areas.
For our 8 1/2 hour flight, Jordan and I had a sweet 77 year old woman from Aberdeen sit in our row. She is a retired PE teacher and was just visiting her son, daughter-in law and two grandchildren. We ended up talking on and off having a lively conversation about Donald Trump building the golf course and resort in Scotland (almost finished) and how he wanted the Scottish government to move the wind turbines out of the view of his resort as they were an eyesore.
After 16 or so hours of travel, Jordan had her first meltdown on the flight from London Gatwick to Malaga, Spain. (Standing in the Customs queue after landing in Heathrow for 2 hours probably didn’t help matters. Longest wait I’ve ever had there.) She had fallen into a hard fast sleep for the first 1 1/2 hours of the 2 1/2 hr flight. Then our row mate and I had a brief conversation over her head and she woke up very po’d that A) She had a suitcase and didn’t want one any more; B) She wanted off the plane NOW so she went to throw her shoe at the head of the man in front of us, which I caught, btw, and C) She wanted only her mommy and she didn’t want me to even look at her.
After trying to talk her down from the near-hysterics, I buzzed for the flight attendant to rouse her mommy to come see us. Kelly took her to their row behind the blue curtain and all was quiet again.
If I was 31/2, I’d be near hysterical, too. It’s difficult keeping my eyes open for more than brief periods. I doze and have those sleep deprivation dreams that startle me awake.
In less than two hours we will be in our hotel rooms and this will be just a long ago memory of a very long travel day of a grandchild who was glued to her grandmother for 16 of her 18 hours of practically no sleep. In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make, and no one can really fully give that to you except your mom. Bravo Jordan, you did good, girl!