17 May 2011


It didn't have to happen that way.  Any of it.  It could have been different -- and difficult.

After several days of preparation Tal and I left home this morning bound for the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, beyond that our present location, the Johnson and Wales Inn in Seekonk MA, and ultimately tomorrow The Grande Mariner, a 183' long, 40' wide, three-deck ship, at the Blount Small Ship Adventure Dock in Warren RI.  I have to admit to having been "journey proud," in that I didn't sleep well, fearful that I wouldn't hear the alarm, most anxious about the almost three-hour drive to Charlotte and safely depositing the car once there.

I heard both alarms -- the cell phone at 4:00 and the bedside clock at 4:10.  We were on our way only five minutes past our desired departure time of 5:00.  Our Garmin took us from Edgefield to Saluda to Newberry to Whitmire to Chester to I-77N to I-485N to Wilkinson Boulevard.  No turkeys, no deer, no school buses, no multi-car pileups.  Whew.

After a right turn onto Little Rock Road the very next right was, miraculously, into Long Term Parking #1 where two attendants pointed us into a parking space and the shuttle bus waited for us to gather ourselves and walk-not-run to its open door.  We were in the terminal and had divested ourselves of luggage by 8:00, were through security very shortly after that and ordered our breakfast at 8:23.  I know, I know.  Simply unheard of.

Now, admittedly, the aircraft we were to fly out on didn't arrive until very nearly our scheduled departure time of 10:00 and the runway US Airways was using was handling both incoming as well as outbound aircraft.  We became airborne at 40 minutes late.  But, we were only 10 minutes late arriving in Providence, the baggage appeared on the carousel as if by swift magic and the shuttle from the Johnson and Wales Inn had waited for us.

I could spin a different sort of yarn over the condition of Tal's luggage ...  Fret not, it arrived. 

His bag is considerably larger than mine so he volunteered to transport the small day pack we'll use when we're off the ship and two aluminum bottles which we'll use for water.  Those two suspiciously-shaped items, those metal bottles, must have set off an alarm with the TSA because Tal's bag had been pretty much unpacked and -- sort of -- repacked.  So much for all that ironing I'd done.

And, our pills.  He had counted out 15 days-worth for each of us, all secured in those small snap-top, seven-day cases.  Every little lid had been opened and seemingly every pill dumped into the suitcase loose.  We were, first of all, astonished and, secondly, oh so calm.  We unloaded the contents of the bag, refolded and repacked, making a mound of pills as we went.  And then, we re-snapped them into the pill cases, missing only a few and none of them essential.

I said I could spin a different tale.  But, I won't.  What would it help?  And, I don't want anything at all to negate the hardest part of the trip -- getting from home to the airport.  So very much could have gone wrong.  But, it didn't.  Having a plan unfold like clockwork is something of a rarity for us.  For lots of people. 

I am enormously grateful that the part of the trip over which Tal and I had any control at all wasn't a compete disaster.  The rest is somebody else's doing.  But, there's still control to be had -- control over myself and my own reactions.  And, today I -- and we -- did pretty darn well.

(One photograph at my Flickr page.  More in coming days.)

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