By the time this sees print I will be in San Francisco on the first leg of a yearly sabbatical that will take me to Seattle to see grand and great grandchildren, Florida to see my youngest and her two daughters, and Atlanta for a monthlong visit with my sister.
I am traveling with a cousin who came all the way from the Gold Coast to keep me company. We come home via Vancouver, where there is still more family.
It will be hectic for the first couple of weeks, so I may be absent from this space for a spell.
As I get my stuff ready, I realize how tedious it can get. But I have sand in my shoes. As much as I hate to fly, I love to travel. Does not make much sense, I know.
And almost on the eve of our departure I ask myself, for the umpteenth time, why am I doing this? Am I not a little too old to be traipsing around? Isn’t it time I take to the rocking chair?
Yes, I talk to myself quite a bit these days. My old fears surface, and there are even some new ones that start to creep up, thanks to all we read online. Why is it that fake news always “goes viral”?
But I will pack my bags and kick up my heels while I can. The time will come, perhaps sooner than later, when I will be “overaged” for the jaunt. Only then shall I reluctantly retire my bright red Delsey bags. They are starting to look old and tired anyway, just like me.
And as I write this, only days before I take off, I am all excited. No, I am not traveling light. I never do.
I must admit I am a bit paranoid and have decided to bring all the documents pertinent to who I am and what I have done for the past lifetime.
Although I am assured that entering US borders is not half as bad as media likes to paint it, I have had a couple of nights of tossing and turning. I keep wondering, what if they give me a hard time? Will it matter that I’m a senior?
The images of the merciless removal of a passenger from a United Airlines flight have not helped. And we are told in no uncertain terms that the airline companies have every right to do so. Apparently it’s in the fine print.
They overbook and we get the boot? Does not seem right.
Keeping in touch
I heard from a long-lost friend recently. I had missed her. I don’t remember exactly why we stopped keeping in touch. But I do vaguely recall a disagreement over politics.
That was last year, and tempers were hot. I must have come on too strong. She was adamant. We both said a few harsh words. And then the calls stopped; the messages, too. But I never bothered to check why.
Anyway, both our candidates lost.
I was annoyed at the time. And so was she. Maybe she was too hurt to take the first step. I was still smarting from defeat. And we preferred to stay riled up and estranged for almost a year and missed out on the joys of our friendship. Silly.
I was emotional when I got her message. Just two words: “Lunch tomorrow?” I didn’t hesitate to reply with the time and place.
When we met it was like old times. There were no words of recrimination. No explanations were asked nor offered. It was enough that we met and broke bread. Our prayer before the soup was, “Thank you Lord for our friendship.” God is good.
Sorry is the hardest word?
A young housewife asked me what I thought was the best way to make up for an offense. I know of no better way, other than to admit fault and say “I am sorry,” and then to make amends.
It is not easy. But it is foolish to feel guilty and miserable, but do nothing.
Why do we waste our time making up excuses for staying away instead of just picking up the phone or sending a message? In this age of instant communication, is it so hard to type “hello” or “sorry”?
Of course this isn’t to say that a friendship can be restored so easily. Sometimes you try to reach out and get nothing.
I read somewhere that if you text and get no reply, it means they have chosen not to react. If, when you try to reestablish a connection, you don’t hear back, you can stop wondering. Chances are it means they simply don’t want to. It has nothing to do with your provider.
And if the non-response follows a spat, you can bet good money that it is more than just an oversight.
Maybe you should examine the situation. What did you do? Have you hurt their feelings? Don’t look for excuses. Do something about it. Go quickly and apologize.
And if it is still quiet, perhaps there is your answer.
Maybe silence is their reply.
Eloquent silence, someone called it. Greek tragedian Euripides wrote, “Silence is true wisdom’s best reply.”
Think about it.
Saturday, my “bestie” delivered on a promise. Never mind that it took more than six years. It was worth the wait.
I had dinner and listened to ’70s music with PNoy. Himself!
What a privilege to sit next to this decent, respectable human being who, despite global celebrity, remains humble, warm and down-to-earth.
I was beyond thrilled.
I got home way past my bedtime. My night prayers were profuse with gratitude.
And I checked another item off my bucket list.