The day started rather more slowly on Sunday. We enjoyed a
leisurely breakfast and waited to hear from the 'Oregon Chapter', before heading out.
Samantha was busy finishing off crocheting her giant unicorn, a gift for her goddaughter, and I was happily stressing over what time we should leave for the airport in the morning, where I should put the fascinator and other equally benign concerns. Lynda sent me a message to say that the newlyweds had just arrived at her house and she would let me know when they had said their farewells.
It was a lovely day, and rather than be inside the rather spacious hotel room, we decided to head down to the Target Superstore and see what was on offer. Samantha had wanted to look at some tops, and as there was no tax, she thought she would take advantage of the price. Lynda messaged as we were leaving, so we were already half way there!
Having said our farewells the night before, not realising that we were going to see everyone again, it was like another reunion.
After eating burgers and hot dogs, grilled to perfection, courtesy of Mike, Lynda's husband, everyone decided which way they were heading, and off we all went in different directions. We, once again, said our farewells, and hoped we would see each other earlier than the forty years that had passed since our last meeting. Lynda, Madison, (one of Lynda's daughters,) Samantha and I went to Florence. A beautiful coastal town, we walked along the promenade and stopped for the tourist picture under the pole that showed the distance to many different towns called Florence, around the United States. I did consider boycotting the site, because Florence, Texas was not on any of the arrows, but who was I to judge! Instead, I had my photo taken and then sauntered down to the café for a cup of coffee. After spilling mocha latte on my white trousers, and being unable to remove the spots due to their being one bathroom, and several people sitting in jumping distance from the door, I took a piece of ice and used it as a 'cleaning stick'. However, I forgot we were not in Florence, Texas and the temperature was much cooler in Florence than it was in Eugene, and as we left the cafe, I had two rather large wet marks at rather an unfortunate spot on my Capri's!
The walk back to the car was interrupted with stops at various little shops, full of interesting sculptures and t-shirts. On the way home, Lynda and I reminisced and the girls suggested, "You had to be there", or "It was probably very funny at the time", but this was not a deterrent!
When we returned I was rather delighted to see the football (soccer) was on television when we arrived back. Everyone had arrived back at Lynda's and when her mum and her friend left to go home, we were half expecting them to return later. This really was a long goodbye! They did not return, and I watched the Copa finals. My joy at seeing Chile win was rather obvious, as I explained to the viewers that I could not, as an Englishwoman, in good consciousness, support Argentina, 'for political reasons'. It was said rather tongue in cheek, but I am not sure who thought I was being serious, especially as I was joining in with the 'ooh's' and 'ahh's' as shots were taken, and saved, on both sides.
Dinner was delicious. Unless you are vegetarian (or vegan) it is not hard to go wrong with steak and salad! Lynda's brother-in-law went on an 'ice-cream run', and brought me back a Cappuccino Heath Blizzard, from Dairy Queen, which I have not enjoyed for a very long time! Samantha was teaching Madison to crochet and Lynda and I were smiling at a third generation friendship, as our fathers had been friendly whilst on the 'knowledge' to be London cabbies, After reminiscing some more, with Lynda's sister, Alison, and laughing uncontrollably, again to the amusement of our daughters, it was sadly time to leave. It had been a wonderful weekend, and a great reunion. Impossible to know when we would see each other again, we waved farewell, again, and Samantha and I headed back to the hotel. Although our lives have taken some very different turns, I am so grateful that our friendship has survived, as it has with other friends with whom I 'catch up', when I go back to Blighty!
Once back at the hotel, we packed our bags ready for the morning and did not actually get into bed until.... nearly 1am.
Monday morning was very calm. We sat outside on the patio adjoining the breakfast room and ate a hearty repast. We took bagels and bread back to the room, with some eggs and muffins to make our picnic lunch. After the obligatory check under the bed, and in all the draws, we checked out and went on our way. Having a few hours to spare, we headed towards the airport on the only road we had travelled since arriving. "In ten miles, turn right", said Mrs Lady in the telephone. I had seen a sign for 'Fairground' on our travels, and we followed the signs. Apparently, this was a complex that was not open all the time, but there was a museum which we thought may be interesting. We found the entrance and drove into the car park. The museum did not open on Monday.We drove around and entered what was apparently a 'restricted' area. In our attempt to get out of the complex, we travelled further and further in, eventually coming to a dead end! Getting arrested in Oregon was not on the adventure itinerary, and although our flight was not taking off for a few hours, we would rather sit in the airport, than a police station! ' Stepping on the gas', and 'swinging it round', are two things that are not really conducive with the 'bus' that we were driving. When placing the 'pedal to the metal', it made a lot of noise but did not move particularly fast. When attempting to manoeuvre the vehicle n any way other than forward or reverse, the back swung like a happy dog's tail. We 'weaved' along the narrow pathways and looked for an exit but all gates were locked. The way in was not the way out, but the gates were open and it was going to be an exit for our purposes! Again, I did not wish to spend time in the company of the Eugene authorities, but I did not have a choice as to my options for leaving the 'restricted' area.
Once back on the road, we saw signs to wineries, which would have been a nice option, even if only to take in the view. However, it was not worth risking another vanishing exit, and so we headed to the airport.
Parking the car was not as easy as we had imagined, but considering our experiences so far, we were not surprised. There were no spaces for our car hire company, and the 'penalties' for not complying with the vehicle 'drop off' appeared to be rather severe. I decided that as we were unable to find a spot that remotely mentioned the name of the company from whom we hired the car, a company with two or three letters matching in their name would suffice. I dragged my suitcase towards the terminal as the handle would not release. Apparently, the signs in the rental park referred to leaving the vehicles in the main car park, and I was not penalised!
Security was once again my downfall. This time the berries, that I had boxed up and put in my hand luggage, were considered to be a threat. I stood and waited while the guard inspected the bag that contained the fruit, egg mayonnaise mix, breads and muffins, and forced a smile at those who walked past.
Of course we were not surprised to see Alison, Lynda's sister, her husband and Bev (Lynda's mum's friend) as we turned the corner to go to the gate. Their gate was next to ours, so we hugged again, and then just waved as they boarded their plane for California. Samantha and I set to making lunch! At a small table top, we buttered the bagel, and bread, and spread the egg mixture liberally across. Once made, we wrapped them up ready to eat with our complimentary beverage.
The flights home were quite quick. We ate our 'dinner' on the first flight, where we sat at the front of the plane, just behind the pilot! We landed in Denver and were told that we were not going to be taking the 'jet way' to the terminal, but would have to walk down the 'plank' and collect our bags from the tarmac. Mine was not on the trolley! Of course! I saw the baggage handler look at it and then put it with those to be loaded on to the cart with the checked cases. I shouted to the man throwing the bags in to the car, but he failed to hear me above the engine noise. I was not 'allowed' to walk behind the wings, and was considering making a scene just to get the attention of someone. My bag did not have a tag that would let anyone know its final destination, and whilst my crochet bag was safe in my backpack, my laptop, cardigan (home made of course,) and extra wool were looking to be gone forever! Finally, someone noticed my dance on the tarmac, and appeared to put 'one and two' together. Safely in my grasp, I wheeled my carry on bag into the terminal and resisted the urge to go down the escalator and take the train to the next terminal, as we had on the inbound journey. We half expected to see a member of Lynda's family at the gate, but were disappointed. I was third on the 'upgrade' list, but seemed to lose favour with the power's that be, and was sent hurtling down to about five or six, with only three spaces available. We were satisfied with the extra leg room to which we were treated, and ate our muffins with our complimentary beverage and pretzel mix.
Dana had arrived at the airport and was sitting in the cell phone park when we landed. Our bags were in the same position as my original upgrade position and we took them off the carousel and headed outside. The dog was very happy to see us, and made up for my husband's seemingly lack of enthusiasm, due to his concentrating on the somewhat abundance of 'weekend' drivers in the airport. I was not upset, as I have come to understand his foibles, and once home, he made me a cup of tea, and 'wowed' me with tales of how much he had missed me!
Back at work on Tuesday morning, I found it rather hard to concentrate. I was not able to get to sleep until late, and I was up very early. It was only going to be a four day weekend, and of course, the fourth of July was looming. With lots to do before my birthday weekend, I ventured into the week knowing that there would be plenty to add in ............... another story!