Tuesday, May 17, 2016


My granddaughter's graduation from Christopher Newport University was a blast. A beautiful sunny day, happy people, bright colors everywhere and cheering graduates made it a day to remember. I still have a bit of redness on my face from the sun--makes me smile when I see it because it's been quite some time since I was last sunburned. This rainy spring has given us little opportunity, certainly.

I had a fine visit with my sister Theresa who came with her hubby to pick me up at the airport and dropped me back later. They came to the graduation too, and the party afterwards. It was nice to see so many family members come out for Kate, twelve of us in all. I could easily have done without seeing my ex-husband there. That's one of the big surprises that comes with divorce--the constant reappearance of someone you'd just as soon never see again at family events. Well, they are his grandchildren too, so I have to just get through it.

The trip back home was interesting. One of the main exits to the airport from the interstate was closed and traffic was incredible. We're spoiled here I know, but wow. Washington DC at any time is pretty frightful, but with the metro closed and this exit ramp also closed it was a mess. We had left an hour early and that turned out to be very fortunate. God was whispering in my ear, my sister said, when I suggested leaving early. I think she was rigtht.

Once in the airport, I discovered my flight was delayed 45 minutes. Enough time for a glass of wine, right? I sat at the bar since tables were in short supply. And there I met some interesting people:

  • the young black lady beside me, whose name was Tuttu (short for her real, Kenyan name), decided I was okay when I remarked as I climbed the stool that I needed either longer legs or a shorter stool. Tuttu was friends with the bartender and told her, "She's good people." We talked about her mother, who lived in Kenya and was getting her Ph.D. in psychology, about the relationship between mothers and daughters, her job as a mortgage litigator, and many other things before she had to leave for her flight, paying for my wine on her way out. 
  • the young man on the other side of me, who works concessions at baseball games, flying from one event to another.
  • a woman who said she was a traveling nurse, on her way to North Carolina for her next job.
  • a very young, thin girl who arrived sobbing. She'd fallen at her hotel and hurt her leg but had to come on to the airport only to find she'd missed her flight because of the traffic. She was in pain, stressed so badly she was shaking all over. We all talked with her and tried to calm her down. She said, "I was only 25% stable before, but now I must be down to about 22%." Poor young thing, I felt so bad for her. She ordered a glass of wine, and the baseball concession worker put it on his tab. He and the traveling nurse were still talking to her when I left.
  • before getting on the plane I picked up some water at a concession stand. The young man was friendly and helpful, with a great smile. "Where are you originally from?" I asked. "Bangladesh," he replied. "A very long way away. Welcome to the US," I said. His grin went from ear to ear. "Thank you, thank you!" 
  • As we waited on the shuttle bus, a couple told me they had been to watch their son in a baseball playoff. They are hoping for a college scholarship for him. Tired from a long trip just to get to the airport, and facing an hour long drive when they landed, they were still beaming as they talked about their 6 children and their hopes for them.
  • As I sat down in my seat on the airplane, the lady beside turned slightly away, huddled over her phone. She never spoke for the entire flight, and I wondered, what story does she have to tell? I will never know, but her face spoke of sadness and stress. 

And one last story, this one from the flight over. I opened the magazine provided by the airline to find the crossword puzzle, hoping no one else had done it. Someone had--or had tried to. It was impossible to complete because there were so many errors in the answers the person before me had written down, but they had left some notes on the page:

"I love you, Pop."
"I know you're here."
"Go with me tomorrow."

So much conveyed in those few words. We used to call our father Pop too. Whoever this person was, I hope that whatever they were facing the next day went well for them. Surely it did, with their Pop looking over them.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

1 comment:

Nance said...

wow; this post gave me chills. It is highly interesting how we connect with people (or we don't). Keep on trying, Sue. And keep on writing.

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