09 January, 2012

Florida Connection - Finis

(Note: Long ago I found a way to change the date on my posts - so instead of being dated when I publish them, I can have them chronologically dated for when the events happened.  While keeping things in order, this means that not every entry was posted in a timely fashion.  Take this one, for example.  In real-time, it's June.  I only mention this because I know I haven't been updating regularly - it's been, say... five months or so?? - and I have more entries in queue.  Bear with me while I get back to this whole blogging thing, will you?  I mean, if the twelve or thirteen of you haven't gone off and abandoned me already since I've neglected your trust in me to provide... something... more frequently than TWICE A YEAR...  Ahem.)
We spent our last evening having dinner with family friends I haven't seen for more than 20 years.  (It doesn't seem right that I'm old enough to have known someone that long ago.)  In a complete coincidence (and thanks to Facebook), we found that Sam and Pam were in Florida for vacation at the same time we were there for Greg's running mania.  I'm absolutely amazed, and a bit shocked, that we could be so far from home and hook up with friends from Idaho (of all places), just because a picture from Olive Garden was posted on Facebook.  How cool is that?!? 

I have to admit that I was a bit nervous - I mean, what am I going to say to these folks after so much time?  And what do I call them?  I mean, I'm an adult now, but they were adults when I was a child so is using first names acceptable?  But Mr. and Mrs. just sounds way too formal...  And I also admit to being a little concerned that they wouldn't approve of me in some way.  (I choose to think that was a throwback to my childhood days and remembered authority figures, rather than an indication of deep-seated self-doubt.)  It didn't help my nerves that we were running behind, went to the wrong pickup spot, then had to backtrack to finally get connected.

As soon as we were together, it was easy as pie.  We spent the few hours we had catching up on family goings-on and glossing over the intervening years of separation.  Almost like going back in time, only better because now I can more fully enjoy the interaction.  They're almost unchanged from what I remember - or else my new memories are superimposed over my old ones - a little grayer around the temples, perhaps, but still the same. Amazing to think of how time has passed, and so totally wonderful that we could get together - I was sad when our time together ended, but glad of the new memories we have.  God bless and keep you, Sam and Pam.
It's been an amazing trip.  Between the sightseeing, getting acquainted with friends, Greg's running accomplishments, and the wonderful surprise of connecting with old friends, it's almost hard to leave.  And yet... home beckons.  Not the cold (it's been below zero for almost the whole time we've been gone), but the friends and family who are waiting for us.  And, I suppose, the knowledge that I have not yet found the job that will pay me to not work.

And so we're down to the final adventure: the trip home, where I almost lost my wallet, Greg shoplifted from the Disney store, we barely made one of the connecting flights, and I saw another new vending machine (with makeup, a mini boom box, sunglasses, and eye covers for sale).
After we checked our bags and were heading for security, we decided to use the restrooms.  From there, we stopped at the Disney store to browse for souveniers.  I found some chocolate covered pretzels but when I was heading up to the counter, discovered my wallet was missing.  I handed everything to Greg - rather abruptly, I might add - and raced back to the restroom, praying all the way that someone had turned it in, and where is the lost and found anyway? I don't care if they take the money, just please, please leave the ID so I can get home...  Miracle of miracles (thank you, Lord), my wallet was on the floor just outside the stall I'd used, where it must have fallen out of my pocket.  I gathered the recalcitrant item (and my racing heart, and my dropped stomach) and headed back to find Greg, only to discover that he had followed me out of the store and half way down the long hallway.  I marched him back into the Disney store so we could pay for the pilfered items, and then we were on our way home.  (To be fair, I guess the pretzels got wrapped up in my coat, so Greg didn't even realize I'd handed him an item from the store.  But it's much more fun to say that he shoplifted...)  Only one delay, one mad-dash race to the gate for the connecting flight, and now we're home, dreaming of sunny, warm Florida while attempting to avoid frostbite from the frigid weather.


Janet said...

I don't care if you post once every ten years...I'll still follow :-) LOVE your blog and you!

Penny said...

Thanks, Janet! Love you too!! =)