Behind my back the three of them schemed for months
"Mom, would you mind picking up Parker from the airport Friday? I have to be at an office meeting."
"No, I don't mind. What time?"
The airport is the perfect kaleidoscope for people watching.
On the hour drive to the Portland airport it occurred to me that I should have told my daughter Sam that I'd be wearing my magenta hand-felted hat. I hadn't seen Parker since Sam graduated from college last May. Would I recognize her? Would she remember me? Checking the arrival board I realized the flight was an hour late. Perfect for knitting rows on the double-trouble socks.
The plane finally arrived and people streamed off the plane. Watching faces closely, hoping to recognize Parker, I spotted a woman who looked uncannily like my dear friend from high school. A few days earlier we'd talked on the phone dreaming of when we might finally be able to arrange free time to get together. Seventeen years is simply too long of a time between visits with a soulmate! Scanning the faces for Parker, my eyes kept traveling back to the woman. Our eyes caught but she only smiled tentatively and kept walking as she too searched for someone in the waiting crowd. She slightly turned and our eyes met again. Another smile exchanged as she passed me, her head swinging around still searching for the right person. It's astonishing when one sees a person who looks strikingly like someone else. I couldn't stand it, I had to talk to her! Keeping a watch for Parker, I walked towards the woman who'd reached the back stragglers and had swung around coming back towards me. IT WAS HER! (It was the hat that had her baffled!) Husband, Sam and Tiny had schemed since December to surprise me with a week long visit!
It's hard to describe all the emotions that flooded my mind when faced with such a tremendous surprise. Along with the fleeting worry that the house wasn't prepared, and no food stocked ahead for such a special guest. Oh but the joy, the joy. Heart squeezing, jumping up and down, can't believe it, JOY.
The clues were there: Ed and Sam cleaning the yard and deck, Ed installing cedar in the bathroom. For weeks Sam came over every Thursday night while I was at Bible Study to hang out with Daddy. In reality they were talking with Tiny, and making elaborate plans.
Crooked Finger has two gigs coming up, one for a sunrise service and the other at the Oregon Garden. A practice was scheduled for Saturday evening at the church. Tiny didn't mind, she was excited about finally hearing us play. Ed went to visit our neighbor for their weekly Saturday routine of watching a favorite TV show, while we gathered music, stand and violin. We were late so I bounded up the steps leading to the meeting room, and opened the heavy wooden double doors. People everywhere! Pews pushed to the side, tables loaded with food, friends from when the kids were small. Friends from the library I'd worked at, all kinds of friends! Friends from a hundred miles were there! What in the world???
A conception party! This Ed had been planning three years! Having one's birthday near Christmas is the pits, no one wants to party, eat cake or buy more gifts. He devised the idea of celebrating my conception instead. Besides, there was no way I'd remotely guess what may be taking place. Sam had spent the week shopping and preparing the vast array of food. Astonished, overwhelmed, embarrassed and humbled. It was wonderful!
Ed gave Tiny & I the gift of three days at the coast. We went out on a boat to look for whales. No luck though we'd both seen a whale spout the evening before. The weather was perfect, a rarity at the Oregon coast! Three days of not worrying about schedules, business, tax bookwork (nagging at the back of my mind though!), or fixing meals! Walking the beach, looking for agates & shells, talking, watching the waves and a single female surfboarder, soaking up the sun. What luxury!
Weaving and socks were mostly neglected, the violin silent, but it was a wonderful time of relaxation and catching up on a terrific friendship and seventeen years of life! Hashing out old memories and adventures we'd had as teens with horses in canyonland country with no fences and boundless places to ride, hike and explore.
All too soon we were back at the airport, stepping into our normal lives. Orders and packing had piled up, Housework and chores demanded attention. The bookwork still lingers, and gets more demanding. But the oasis in time is worth it!
Today my mother would have been celebrating her 90th birthday. Even after ten years I still miss her.