Leaving town on Thursday headed the list of dramatic events. My weekly routine had already been disrupted and although I was partially packed, I was still unsure as to the weather in Oregon over the coming weekend.
Monday was as normal as a Monday could be. It was a beautiful day in the capital city of Texas and I swam at lunchtime, returned to the office for the afternoon and Dana took me to the diner for dinner. I attempted to relax in the evening but my mind was like a Ferris wheel, turning around, and stopping with me in the top car, looking down over the rest of the busy fairground, wondering what to do first when my feet touched the ground!
My friends had offered to bring dinner for our Tuesday night gathering, and I had, surprisingly enough, agreed. I 'whipped up' a chocolate mousse in the morning, before vacuuming the living room, only to be told later that dessert was part of the package. Whilst I mourned the lost time, Samantha busily took the individual pots of chocolat and poured them into a larger container, to take home and devour!
The work poured in on Wednesday. I had visited Joe the previous day, when I had also collected Dana's car from the mechanic. ArrivingArriving at the office early, I cleared my desk of the initial paperwork, and went to have my nails painted. As I returned to the office, the Fed-Ex guy dropped off an expected package full of papers to be sent out by certified and registered mail. A trip to the post office was required! I had thought about postponing swimming for the day, but as I was not going straight home after work, Dana suggested I needed to unwind (in the nicest possible way!).
The line at the post office was long. My packages were in the wrong envelopes for international transportation. I could not believe that I had forgotten the parameters for these items, and was in a state of utter dejection. Taking pity on me, the nice man behind the counter suggested that I take the envelopes that I had purchased, (weighing up the options, it was better to buy overpriced containers from the facility, than to go back to the office and start over,) address them, and bring them back to the counter where he would supply the brown tape that needed to be applied to seal the openings! I did as I was told, and went to return to the counter, just as the nice young man took off for lunch! Fortunately, the lady with whom I generally have a 'put the world to rights' conversation had replaced him and she took over where he had left off! "You know I would not do this for anyone", she stated. I nodded, thankfully, that she did not send me to the back of the line with a purchased roll of sticky tape!
I do not remember Wednesday afternoon, as I was entering data into the computer at the speed of knots! Finally at around 6:30pm, Dana said that it was time to go, if we were to get parked at the venue to which we were heading!
James Taylor is still magnificent! Watching James Taylor live was magnificent! Watching James Taylor live from front row seats, which were won in a contest, was beyond magnificent! It was probably the only concert to which Dana would accompany me willingly! It was not the usual 'bopping' concert, but more relaxed and calming, although the fans were far from calm as he sang 'Fire and Rain'. Explaining that a twenty minute break was 'required', although he knew not why, he walked of the stage, and if I had taken two steps from my chair and extended my arm, I would have been able to touch him! Yes, we were that close! Instead of taking the 'required' break, he returned to the front of the stage to sign autograph!
Dana and I arrived home quite elated! I had entered the contest several times after my win in the hope of obtaining tickets for Jerry, who had constantly attempted to find 'something else' for me to do that evening, so that he could jump in and take my place. I had succeeded to win a second pair, albeit not quite the same calibre of seats! However, sadly, Jerry had to spend the evening with a fried who was departing this world, and missed the concert. His neighbour, however, had a blast! "Do you want to see James Taylor" Jerry had asked. With a resounding "Well, heck yeah", (or words to that effect; his neighbour is English, so it may well have been," Not arf!",) he asked as to when. "Tonight?". It did not take long to find a plus one, and the tickets were handed over!
Thursday was not as busy as Wednesday, but it was busy enough. At 2:30pm, Jerry loaded our cases into his car, and drove us to the airport. We checked our bags, and headed to security. Samantha sailed through. My bag caused concern. My daughter had decided to take the fascinator I had made her for a friend's wedding, and we had placed it in a metal based cake tin to keep it from squashing. Rather than put this in her 'checked' bag, she had asked if I had room in my carry on! It was causing all kinds of problems! The guard assigned to deal with me was rather apprehensive he opened my bag, but relaxed when I said, "I think it is the hat in the box". It was! Our flight was delayed by about an hour and a half but we used the time wisely. I continued to complete the back of another cardigan while Samantha crocheted legs and arms for the giant unicorn she is making! Finally our flight was called and we went to stand in line. I stood in line '2' and she took up position in line '1'. "Stay in your own line", she ordered. Although I am the one with the 'status' and the one who had just been given a complimentary upgrade, she was the one who was allowed to enter the plane first! "I am with her!" I said as we walked to the tunnel!
The first flight was two hours. We deplaned and made our way down the stairs and on to the very crowded train that took us from terminal B to terminal A, and climbed the stairs to the concourse. There, we checked to see which gate we should be heading towards, and found that we were departing from terminal B. "We are arriving in Eugene in terminal A....I mis-read it", was the excuse my daughter gave me! Back down the stairs we went, back in the train we went, back up the stairs we hauled our cases, and back along the concourse we walked to the correct gate!
The waitress in the French café was very pleasant. She asked where we were from, and we gave the usual speech, "Originally from north west London, but now from Austin Texas". She told us that she was from Montana, but had settled in Denver a few years ago. "There is nothing much for kids to do where I came from. That's why I had my son at 15", was the information she volunteered. I smiled as I usually do when wondering why people feel the need to share their life story with me!
We enjoyed the upgrade to first class, with the complimentary snacks and although Samantha took advantage of the alcoholic beverages, I refrained. Our car was also upgraded. However it was an upgrade that would have preferred not to have been granted. An economy car is easier to manoeuvre. Arriving just before midnight meant that we got what was left. Although it is nice to have a larger vehicle, the Jeep Patriot is just a little under 'bus' size to me! I am not sure whether Toyota make a different model of car in Oregon, but the lady at the desk assured me that the vehicle was a little smaller than the Rav4! I think she meant to say, "Quite a bit bigger.... oh and it drinks petrol like water!". We are divided by a common language... perhaps that is it!
The hotel was beautiful and the view from our room delightful. We did not experience the 'whole' until morning, arriving a little after 1an, but the lake that ran past the bottom of the garden was full of ducks, and secluded. Breakfast was wonderful and after we had eaten, we headed towards Wal-Mart to pick up essentials. After all what is a vacation without a trip to Wal-Mart! Once we realised that Oregon does no have sales tax, I bought two pairs of shoes, and a swimming costume!
Finally, it was time to head out to Elmira and the grand reunion. I had not seen Lynda since Dana and I visited Portland on our 'Oregon/Washington' trip. I had never met her kids and although friends on Facebook, she had never met Samantha. Seeing Lynda's mum, and sister, for the first time in about forty years, was very emotional. It was like 'coming home'. The kids all laughed and agreed that it was as if they knew each other! Lynda and I chose not to impart 'war' stories as the kids are too old to be embarrassed! Instead, we enjoyed a wonderful evening with friends and family and arranged to meet the following morning, before the main event.
Arriving back at the hotel a little after one, again, (I had not realised that the clock in her living room was an hour slow,) we fell into bed and slept until sunrise, which is early here!
The Saturday market was interesting. Lynda says that part of Eugene never left the sixties and she was 'spot on'. It was 'interesting'. Samantha and I walked to and from the venue, trying not to breathe in, as a certain substance is smoked legally here, ate lunch by the stream and then got ready for the main event.
All I can say was that it was amazing. The bride was stunning, the groom handsome, the wedding party were beautiful, and the weather was perfect. I was blessed to be a part of my friend's special day, as she watched her son commit to his childhood sweetheart in an emotional ceremony, where there was barely a dry eye in the house. As Mr and Mrs walked back up the aisle, we all went to take our places at the tables set out for dinner, and welcomed the married couple back into the fold. The sun shone, and the crowd chattered and wished the happy duo all the best for the future. The first dance was choreographed to perfection, with a break in tradition, where the bride and groom entertained the audience with their own stage show! Lynda's mum beamed with pride as her only grandson became a husband! I danced, some, as most of the tunes were out of my league, and we laughed at how we mocked our parents when they said, "How do you call this music and dancing!" The couple finally left under an arch of 'sparklers' and Samantha and I headed back from Junction City to Eugene.
An early night was welcomed by us both and we fell asleep virtually as our head hit the pillows. With another day in Oregon, and a trip home on Monday, I am sure next week will be a complete anti-climax. However, who knows, as the fourth of July looms, in such a good way, and Austin awaits, in ..... another story!