For the first time in over forty years we broke with Jan’s family tradition and left town for Christmas. I take the blame for this. Because our children are grown and scattered to the three winds—we only have three sons—and have commitments, no one could come home.
Not wanting to endure another dismal holiday like 2014, this pushy Jewish mom invited herself to Chicago to spend it with our youngest son Christian. To my joy, my suggestion was met with enthusiasm from both my son and his fiancée, the lovely Sarah Adams.
Our flight out the Wednesday before was uneventful and short. When we arrived at the kids’ apartment we were met with a beautifully set table of fruit, veggies, cheese and wine and hugs.
Food is always a challenge when we travel because of my annoying dietary issues. Sarah went out of her way to accommodate. She made such things as gluten free blueberry pancakes and lactose and gluten free macaroni and cheese.
I won’t bore my readers with all of the details but will try to hit the high points, the top of which would have to be spending time with the kids, Sarah in particular. If a mother could handpick a woman for her son in this day and age, she would be my choice. She’s a talented artist as you can see in the picture below—only a small example of what she’s capable of.
The pinnacle for me came when she opened my present to them, a watercolor portrait I did from a photo I snapped last summer. Sarah cried and said that no one had done artwork for her before. She’s always been on the giving end of that.
Saturday following Christmas I met for lunch with Annie Milne, a friend from high school and before. It’s been at least twenty years since we last spoke in person. Since both of us have food problems, we ate at a nearby restaurant called Lyfe’s Kitchen where we inundated the server with questions and instructions. Silly though it may seem, we both enjoyed not being ‘the only one.’
Our lunch lasted four hours and it wasn’t long enough.
Sunday night we took the EL downtown to meet with Sarah’s twin Katie and her boyfriend Sebastian and few others for supper. As we boarded the train on the Purple Line we were greeted by a woman named Lauren, who like me, was also wearing all purple. We chatted a bit and I mentioned my blog ‘Addicted to Purple.’ She said, “I’ve read that.”
I found that Lauren’s also a writer and enjoys blog challenges. I expect to see her for Friday Fictioneers in the near future.
Within ten minutes of her departure, my phone sounded the WordPress chime. Lauren followed my blog, liked my ‘About Rochelle’ page and left a message saying how nice it was to meet me.
Throughout the week Jan and I enjoyed the fact that while it was a little damp and cold, it hadn’t snowed.
“If I’d known, I would’ve driven,” he kept saying. “We could’ve saved plane fare.”
Perhaps he tempted the Fates once too often. Monday morning the national news was filled with icy snowy forecasts between Chicago and Kansas City. Naturally this was the morning we were scheduled to fly home.
The airport was packed. Check in wasn’t terrible, although Jan was divested of the port wine cheese in his carry on—an unopened, sealed tub. After that we managed to find seats at our gate. Boarding time was delayed by about thirty minutes. Not terrible. Right? Wrong. Once we seated, we waited on the tarmac while they de-iced the plane.
Two rows ahead of us a woman took out her knitting. Jan turned to me and said, “Those ten inch knitting needles are much safer than my cheese.”
The pilot kept us abreast of everything causing our delay. The plane was overweight so there was discussion about unloading some of the baggage as we were carrying baggage from some other delayed or cancelled flights. An hour later, our pilot said he’d “won the argument” and no one and nothing would be bumped.
We finally took off at 10:46, a mere two hours past our original takeoff time. As we came into Kansas City we had to circle the airport to burn excess fuel. There’s logic to that, right?
At last we landed on terra not-so-firma. We came into ice and snow. After sitting for about 45 minutes, the pilot informs us that the jet bridge at our gate is frozen so we’ll have to move to another gate. Mind you, by this time everyone is standing with their carry-ons at the ready. We sat once more. Another forty-five minutes or so pass as the plane rocks gently back and forth. The pilot explains that he’s trying to get enough traction on the ice to take us to the other gate. I think this is where I dropped my head into my hands. It was either laugh or cry.
Once we finally deplaned and gathered our luggage we were met with yet another challenge. Our car was frozen shut and we had no ice scraper. Snow continued to fall. After a white knuckle ride home that took another couple of hours we rolled into our garage at 16:00.
At any rate, I’ll not complain. I slept in my own bed that night while hundreds slept in O’Hare Airport. I’m not sure but we might’ve been on the last flight that managed to leave Chicago for the next few days.