As I flew back from Reagan-Washington DCA to Bush-Houston IHC it occurred to me there was a bit of a theme to my spring break trip.
It started Day 1 of my trip. An English gentleman standing in the security line in front of me asked how many tubs I needed to go through security, kindly offering to gather up the necessary tubs for me while he was gathering his. Thinking out loud I named off “my purse, jacket, boots…I’ll need two.” AND I noticed I was only steps away from clearing security unlike another line that weaved back and forth about six lines deep.
He informed me, “You don’t need to take off your shoes or your jacket.”
“Since when?” Skeptical, I hardly knew how to act.
“If you’re in this line you’re TSA Pre-ckd.”
“Huh?” I couldn’t believe it as I simply placed my purse into ONE tub. How did I get so lucky? I took another look at my boarding pass and sure enough at the top it said “TSA Pre-ckd.”
The TSA agent waved me on. I walked through the security gate with my jacket and boots on. All was good. No worries, after all.
On the other side I simply picked up my purse, slung the strap over my shoulder then paused to sit at a bench, not to put on my boots but to text husband, sister, D1 and D2. “Guess what? I just got ushered through security without taking off my shoes or my jacket or emptying my pockets! No long line.” Feeling a bit giddy, I even texted Dianna at These Days of Mine the same message adding “I think this is a sign it’s going to be a great trip.”
Good luck continued. Sister was at the security clearance gate to greet me. All we had to do was to meet up with SIL who was flying in via Chicago and arriving not long after me. No waiting except that D2 and GS2 were arriving the next day.
Then came Day 2. We picked them up and drove back to sister’s house with visions of the great Greek food we were going to eat at a favorite family restaurant with my brother and his family. Ten minutes had not gone by when 18 month old GS2 took a step down into her back room, fell and came back up with blood streaming down his face. There was no hesitation, SIL and D2 scooped him up, stopped the bleeding, applying ice and pressure to the cut in his forehead. Sister ran to the car with us in tow and I texted brother to cancel the evening’s plans. We were bound for the ER! No, a tasty gyros was not going to happen this night. Within 10″ we were at the hospital. Sister dropped off the parents to check in, and then she and I parked the car. As we entered the waiting area filled with adult patients, we didn’t see GS or parents. We inquired and the staff directed us through the hallways to another waiting room where we were told the patient and parents were already seeing a doctor. Good news, there was no line and no wait. Bad news, we were in the ER within two hours of getting off the plane. We couldn’t believe it. We four adults were standing right there and none of us had saved him from his spill into a planter by the sofa. The doctor glued his wound together with medical super glue. No stitches…she used super glue. An hour and a half later GS emerged all grins with a “Batman” band-aid in the center of his forehead and clearance from the doctor that it was safe for him to fall asleep. We all slept well that night. Whew!
In spite of all the excitement the night before, SIL and D2 were ready to do some sight seeing on Day 3. My sister suggested that since it was Sunday morning, it would be a good time to take in the memorials at the Washington Monument end of the Mall: Viet Nam, WWII, Korean, Lincoln, FDR, MLK and Einstein. Little traffic. No lines on a beautiful and cool morning. By noon they had covered their destinations and my sister and I returned to pick them up.
Day 4 SIL’s uncle picked them up to tour the Pentagon where he works. No lines.
Day 5 I joined them to tour the museums starting at the Capitol Building and working our way down the Mall. We greeted the ducks in the pond at the foot of the capitol steps. GS squealed and was all grins.
D2 spotted a carrousel in the Mall and the two of them whirled and whirled about waving at Daddy and Grandma with each turn. We found a kiosk and snacked on all beef hot dogs while GS chased the birds taking a bite of hot dog after each chased bird flew away. Tired of running GS crawled into the stroller for a lift to the Museum of Natural History. SIL was amazed with no lines and no admission fees. GS’s mouth became an O as he took in the giant mammoth that greeted us on the main floor.
The dinosaurs were scary and he favored Mommy, looking only if she was holding him. His favorite was the aquarium with colorful fish including the Nemo variety. He protested as we scooted on to see other things like the Hope Diamond in the Harry Winston Gallery.
Leaving the MoNH we moved on to the Museum of American History. By then GS had crawled into the stroller and hunkered down for a nap that lasted for hours. He woke up in time to get his picture taken in front of the gates of the White House.
Over the years I have seen all the seasons of Washington DC. And I thought of the many seasons of my life that I have spent in this city. There were no cherry blossoms to behold this trip, yet I thought back to when I was fortunate enough to see them on other trips. I remembered the snow covered mall when we had brought D1 and D2 to view the Vermeer exhibit in ’96. I remembered the fall of ’97 when Rick had attended the Million Man March with church friends for Stand In the Gap. I remembered how as a college student I had taken a bus to Washington to participate in the November moratorium of ’69 while my future husband was in the Bay of Tonkin thousands of miles away. I remember celebrating a milestone birthday June of 2000 at the Kennedy Center. This year this trip was not about setting out on a mission but being a grandma and being with family and friends.
On Day 6 we drove south to Hanover to meet up with Dianna of These Days of Mine and her husband. Several weeks previous to our planned reunion, we had made reservations at the Hanover Tavern, a good half way point for each of us. No lines.
I recognized Dianna and her husband right away. She was the beautiful lady with MM who walked in with her camera in hand. They had arrived early to Hanover and decided to tour the small township. Dianna had taken pictures as MM obligingly stopped. Imagine that! As we waited for our table, I could tell Dianna had something on her mind. She shared with us a curious photo of a hundred running shoes or more piled up and tied together. She asked our hostess about it and she told us about a very recent tragedy in their town. Like the lens of her camera, Dianna’s focus was sharp and clear as she asked questions and we listened to the story. Paying tribute to the jogger who lost her life, Dianna wrote about that tragedy here on her blog last Thursday.
Her husband delighted us with stories of their travels to the West Coast, points in TX and the midwest. They told us more about Bride and Groom Swan, the ducks, the deer, Sundae and Gypsy. I know they were disappointed not to meet my husband who had stayed home to tend to the business of selling our city house. And, I know Rick and MM could have swapped quite a few stories. I was grateful though, that D2, SIL and GS had accompanied me on that special trip for them to meet as I have written about them too, on this blog. We could have just kept talking and visiting. I didn’t want our visit to end, but GS2 all full of himself with his now changed to “Spiderman” band-aid was getting a little
rowdy restless and the weather was changing fast. I had texted Dianna the day before concerned about the drastic weather forecast of storms and temperatures dropping. I didn’t want them to risk traveling in icy conditions. As we left the restaurant Dianna and I posed for a photo by the tavern entrance. On cue MM took Dianna’s camera, my daughter took my camera, and SIL pulled out his smart phone to take this memorable picture. As we left it started to rain. Thank you, Dianna and MM for braving the elements and making this adventure happen. Aren’t they the greatest?
More posts coming regarding this past memorable week.