Petrified in Atlanta | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

I left my heart in Lake Worth, Florida. We had a sweet visit but it was way too short. It always is when you are with someone you love and don’t see often enough. Time runs out so quickly.

What a precious treat it was. And I am grateful.

I spent Mother’s Day there with my youngest child, her husband and my two lovely granddaughters—one almost a senior in high school and the other one entering junior year at Florida Atlantic University.

It was a joyous “homecoming” for me; but 10 days later, I tried to hide painful tears as we hugged goodbye.

Somehow as one grows older, it becomes more difficult to say “see you again soon.” The words are barely out of my mouth and my heart is asking, “Will you really? Are you sure?” One can only hope and pray.

Tomorrow is never promised. We only have now.

So one must grab today with both hands, embrace it and make it the most special and memorable moment of our lives. Because it is.

On my last night, we dined at Prime, a high-end steak house at the Diplomat Hotel on Ocean Drive in Hollywood, just a few minutes away from our borrowed home, a luxurious 29th-floor condo, courtesy of our sweet, thoughtful and unbelievably successful doctor friend and dinner host.

Everyone had filet mignon, but I ordered the delectable grilled red snapper on curried sweet potato. It was to die for.

I spent a fabulous five days in Dr. Mario’s beautiful get-away, which has a glorious wrap-around view of the Atlantic Ocean and the intercoastal waterway of Hollywood, Florida. My friend Pam, whom I call my seventh child, joined me from Arizona. We wanted to extend our holiday.

Welcome to Atlanta

Knowing I would soon be with my sister made leaving Florida a bit more bearable. My Delta flight arrived in Atlanta, on time, at a little past noon. It was a short, uneventful 90-minute flight, and as we taxied into the terminal, we were informed of the current high temperature near the 90s and warned that to linger in the tube was extremely dangerous, especially for the elderly.

By the way, I couldn’t help but notice that cabin service on Delta has been raised several levels. Perhaps that nasty incident on United has made the airline industry sit up and take note. I have had several not-too-happy brushes with uppity cabin crew whose attitude was not acceptable. But this flight was a thoroughly pleasant experience. I was happily impressed.

Now if only they stopped charging for checked-in luggage! How come Southwest Airlines can give free baggage allowance for two pieces? Just asking.

Anyway, bravo, Delta!

Our trusty friend Mizan, who drives us to and from the airport in his beautiful Town Car, met me at the baggage carousel. His rates are higher than Uber, but he is a wonderful man and has become our friend and part of my Atlanta family. He is polite, solicitous and meets us or sees us off with a warm hug. Arriving in Atlanta would not ever be the same without Mizan.

Heavy traffic

Traffic was heavy on Highway I-85. This has apparently been a problem even on weekends since that unexplained fire that melted the pavement and underpinnings of one whole overpass causing it to collapse. That portion has since been rebuilt and completed way ahead of schedule but there is residual work still being done around it; hence, the congestion.

Just as the stop-and-start pace came to an end and we could finally pick up speed, a man wearing a colorful helmet zoomed past us on a huge bike. The driver seemed agitated and wove in and out of traffic. He was a few meters away from our vehicle when we saw him brandishing a gun and pointing it at the BMW one lane to our right.

I felt I was part of a scary movie and was overcome with fear. I moved away from my window and slid to the floor, craning my neck to see what was happening. I felt our car pick up speed and zigzag several times to stay away from the roaring bike.

I forgot about political correctness and prayed out loud. With all my heart, I called on the name of Jesus. I think Mizan is Muslim. No matter. I am sure he too was praying to his Allah.

I saw the man wildly waving a gun. Pointing. Aiming. Weaving between the cars. No shots were fired.

It felt like a nightmare.

A few seconds later, the BMW took an off ramp. The biker disappeared. It was over.

We heaved a sigh of relief. I could hear my heart pounding.

Gone crazy

I suddenly remembered my phone tucked in my travel bag. I should have taken a video. But I was scared. Petrified. I missed it. There goes my career as a journalist. Whatever.

The world has gone crazy. That man on the bike was angry or insane. Terrorists at the Manchester concert were on a mission of hate. A deranged car driver attacked Times Square. A war rages in Mindanao.

Let us pray.

I just read “Fearless” by Max Lucado. It reminds us of the many times in the Bible that Jesus tells us not to be afraid.

And Lucado suggests: “Imagine your life wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats?”

Think about it.

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