Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Witless at the Equinox

My day began with great's the official launch of the 85th anthology carrying my work since I began writing my life, story by story, seven years ago. If you're anywhere near Des Moines, here's an invitation from Tending Your Inner Garden:

You're invited to
a book signing
to celebrate the launch of

Fall: Women's Stories
and Poems for the Season
of Wisdom and Gratitude

We're delighted to introduce the fourth and final anthology in our series of four seasonal books, all made possible thanks to the submissions of essays and poems from women around the country and from other parts of the world.

Please join us this Friday, September 20, from 5:30 to 7:00
at Beaverdale Books
2629 Beaver Ave., Des Moines 

I'm unable to attend, but I'm so pleased to be represented in the fourth of this seasonal series with a story, "Autumn Aubade," a variation on a post on my blog just a couple of years ago. At that time I had many friends and relatives facing health and financial crisis, including my brother, Joel.

Today I'm at my brother's home near the Southern California Writers' Conference, which I'll attend tomorrow through Sunday. He's recovered...and we reminisced briefly about those harrowing days.

Then yesterday morning I had a new harrowing moment en transit. Here's what I emailed my son and best friend from Sea Tac airport:

This morning I got up at 4:55, put the cats all outside, put their food and water bowls on the covered side patio....we had more thunderstorms and heavy rain last night, and may for the next couple of days.

I'd finished packing last night, and remembered to include the photos for my brother, the NYMB flyers for the conference, and everything else on my list. I'd also watered the plants and turned off the overhead fan in the entry way.

So all I  had to do was put my luggage in the car, open the garage door, drag the trash bin to the street, and drive to Spokane. It was still dark, but the rain had stopped and it wasn't foggy like it had been the last two mornings. I made the best time logging trucks in front of me or traffic jams going down Division Street to the I-90 on ramp. I'd even gotten my boarding pass yesterday and made sure I knew where the Jet Park and Fly's half the price of airport parking and you get a free drive-through car wash as you exit.

As I pulled into their lot I thought that this was the most effortless trip to Spokane ever. It helps of course that the dogs went to the animal hospital last night. I actually got to sleep all night without any whining, panic attacks, puddles of urine or worse to clean up. I parked the car, noticed the parking lot shuttle bus pulling up my lane, and smiled. Right on time! I hit the trunk opener latch and gathered up my purse and sunglasses and keys.

Then I exited and walked around to my trunk and reached in for my heavy suitcase...and it wasn't there. I distinctly remember putting it into the trunk with my laptop bag this morning. Or at least I thought I had. I remember how heavy it was to heft and how I got another shin bruise. I stood there absolutely dumbfounded.

I thought would be a two and a half hour drive home to retrieve my missing bag if indeed for some reason I'd pulled it out and left it in the garage. But I couldn't remember doing that. I thought, oh, no....dementia is finally hitting me.

All I could think to do was to take the laptop bag and get on the shuttle. At least my boarding pass and all the travel maps, etc. were in my purse. I imagined arriving at my brother's without any clothes, but figured I could buy some stuff tomorrow. The thing that really scared me was not having my cholesterol and blood pressure meds.

My heart was racing but I climbed on the shuttle and looked at the driver who was offering me a ticket with my parking place marked on it for my return trip. I looked down to stuff it in my purse and glanced at the luggage rack....and there was my bag. The driver must have hopped off and got it out of my open truck. I'd been so busy fumbling around packing items in the front seat into my purse that I'd been oblivious of what was going on right behind me.

I'd never done this private parking lot before because I get reimbursed for airport garage when I fly for MQAC. And when I go overseas I have a motel parking arrangement. But I'll like do it again.

It's a relief that I'm not losing my of the scariest moments ever when I stared at that nearly empty trunk.

Got lucky at the airport. They put me on an earlier flight, a big Alaska rather than the little Horizon, so I don't have to exit on a wet tarmac and climb up two flights of stairs to get to the arrival section. I also picked up a penny on the ground near maybe I'll have good luck all day.

My luck held steady the rest of the day...the plane was on time and from my window seat I caught a gorgeous glimpse of Catalina Island, where I spent my honeymoon in 1955. I felt as if I were coming home.

My brother greeted me warmly...and healthily...and we enjoyed the evening reminiscing. We dined on delicious fish suppers at a nifty nearby bistro.

I'm exploring the changing scene of the Belmont Shore and Belmont Heights of my old home town of Long Beach this morning...there's a vacancy in the apartment building I lived in for a couple of years in the late '50s. I'm breathing the Pacific air, noticing the new book shops (I'm writing this at the Barnes and Noble Starbucks at Marina Pacific), and settling into my persona as a California girl once more.

I'm also grateful that I'm not inching towards dementia as I suspected for one brief moment at the Park and Fly yesterday. There's wisdom indeed in knowing what to be grateful for! As my always wise son, Steve Elders, responded to my frantic email:
"What could have been a horror story turns into a funny story. Glad it all worked out."

I look forward to an equinox filled with wisdom and free of further frights! Autumn indeed is a season for gratitude.


1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, what a fright. I'd have been in a panic, too. Only I'd have made a fool of myself and blubbered, "I know I packed my luggage, but I can't find it."