Saturday, April 18, 2015

Light in April

I can now say I've been up for morning civil twilight in Memphis, which, for those keeping track, precedes sunrise.

And a civil waking time.

But we had an airport shuttle to catch, so we had no choice. A middle-aged couple sat behind us on the shuttle and despite the ungodly hour, looked pretty happy.

When I inquired where they were from, the woman hesitated, smiled and said, "Mars." Venus and Mars jokes ensued.

"We're one of those long distance couples who met on" he informed us. "I'm from Illinois and she's from Arkansas." Although their relationship was only three months old, they were en route to Maui. My friend was sure that this meant that they were already sleeping together.

"So at least I know she won't break up with me this week," he joked. Or the week after, if only out of gratitude, I would think. When we parted, I wished her good luck and he questioned why I hadn't wished him the same.

It's all about the sisterhood, mister. You're on your own.

Our plane ride to Chicago was uneventful and once there we grabbed lunch to eat at our gate. There we found a large group of freshly-minted sailors, male and female, dressed in their bell-bottom blues and looking impossibly young.

Apparently our seas are being maintained by teenagers. This was news to me.

Once on the plane, we were delayed because the plane was overweight and needed to be adjusted.  While in the air, I finished my Jacques Pepin book and napped intermittently, still tired after that crack of dawn wake-up call and less than six hours of sleep.

High in the sky, my friend shared her grandmother's secret to longevity (she lived to be 103): box wine and peanut butter. If it were only that easy.

It was back on the ground that the U.S. Navy caught up with us. At baggage claim, the only things coming off the conveyor belt were duffel bags, most of them camouflage duffel bags. Turns out that when a plane's overweight, it's the civilian bags that are jettisoned, not the Navy's.

A long line quickly formed at baggage claim where we were told that our bags would hopefully make the trip from Chicago on one of the next couple of flights and be delivered to our houses tonight. One woman was half hysterical because her special food was in her suitcase and it was perishable.

My friend had the right attitude. "At least it didn't happen on the way there."

And she calls me a Pollyanna. True, the make-up and cute summer dresses can be replaced, but I'd hate to lose the Faulkner that I actually got to read in Oxford.

Or maybe it's the perfect southern Gothic finish to my first trip to Tennessee and Mississippi.

Requiem for a suitcase with caution and dispatch. It's a fable, of course.

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