|I told Arlene when I left not to keep an eye out for me. Arlene never listens.|
So, you have all been wondering what Cookie has been up to, haven't you. Not a question. I can read your minds.
Well, where have I been? I have been traveling.
Like a contestant who has won the prize package of a lifetime, I have been visiting all of the most exciting places in Illinois and Ohio.
FIRST, we were flown, coach, with one layover in each direction, to the fabulously overcrowded O'Hare Airport. Big but small, There is nothing good going on at O'Hare. The Delta Airlines packed us on one of its flying pieces of shit - an ancient MD-88 and flew us from Baltimore to Atlanta. Once at ATL (What are they calling it this time? Maynard Jackson International? Pheff!) they crammed us onto another MD-88 but I got the special seat!
What is the Special Seat? It is the seat that cannot be locked in the upright position because maintenance wasn't on the ball and the lock was broken. During take-off, my seatback flew backward into the lap of this very handsome man from India, who flying with his charming wife and baby that so cute I could have squealed. Luckily the wife was holding the baby or I could have clobbered the kid.
Our Airline attendant came right to my seat - it was like watching a mountain goat climbing up the Matterhorn - and scolded me. When she listened to what I had to say and verified that she couldn't lock the seatback herself, she didn't even apologize to me, or the couple behind me. Delta thanked me with 5,000 SkyMile points for my trouble, but the point is that my life flashed before my eyes as a passenger being forcefully carried off the plane for doing no wrong. So on flight changeover back to Baltimore, I made a beeline for the Sky Miles Club for free food, snakes, drink and clean bathrooms.
Upon arriving in Chicago, we got a rental car and hiked up and west to sensational Deerfield, Illinois. And let me tell you, they really do roll up the sidewalks in Deerfield, Illinois they roll them up at 9 P.M., sharp.
What followed was two days and three nights family festivities as we celebrated Thanksgiving in May in June. The idea is that we gather with my inlaws family once a year for a meal, or two. Since I was working on my family union, and because my "almost" sister (long, long story) live literally a 1,000 feet from my sister in law's, I had a great breakfast with her while the Husband his family tried to get out of an escape room. Aside from seeing the family, we also went to the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Oak Park which is totally for you if you are GaGa for FLW.
While there and short walking tour that followed, I got to show off my knowledge of architecture and FLW techniques. The family was positively slack-jawed while I discussed water table's and why they are important to a building.
On the way home, we flew through Detroit, and then home first class. You guessed it, the longest leg on a miserable MD-88. But it was first class. And that's all that matters.
Once back on terra firma, it was back in the car to The Ohio's for the monster event - the HUGE first time in a 115 years reunion that I put together.
Our route took us first to beautiful SHAKER HEIGHTS, OHIO, for a hard time fun time. Geraci's Pizza on Sunday night, seeing my oldest friend's new house, seeing that Van Aken Center is no longer there, but under construction.
I stopped by the original homestead and knocked on the door with photos of the place and the owners literally invited me in for a tour. Usually, people say that they find their childhood homes smaller than they remembered them. This was not the case. My old bedroom was positively HUGE. How did that happen? Well, the bathroom was smaller than I remember.
The next day, I went and had breakfast at Corky and Lenny's, of course. Then I went to the cemetery to visit the grave of my Step-Mother* who departed this world in October. She's crammed in there at Bet Olam Cemetery - "The Cemetery Where Ever Square Inch Matters". Jesus, Mary, AND Joseph, but they really have a lot of people shoehorned in that cemetery.
I went, in quiet repose, to contemplate the finality of death and the temporal nature of life.**
What I found was her grave, next to her first husband. In cemeteries like these, you don't get broad vistas of greenery and scenery. You get row after row graves packed so tightly they might as well be Yodels in a box. And her grave was especially so like her, a filmy hard yellow clay covering a barren area, devoid of any pleasant signs of life. How very much like her.
The real joy is that she's going to be buried under the name of her first husband, because the stone was already paid for.
Once I said what needed to be said, I left a gift, I put a rock on her marker, and then I did the one thing she will never be able to do in her memory: I left the cemetery. A better person, of course, for paying my respects.*** But reader, I walked out of those gates on Richmond Road. Then I had to walk back in because my car was still on their lot.
Nevertheless, Cookie persisted.
THEN it was back in the car and own to Columbus for the great big family reunion on my mother's side. I had 48 hours to myself, and then I picked up the husband and we had two days to ourselves, and then we two amazing days with the extended family.
The one HUGE mistake that we made was to hop in the car and drive back to Baltimore that Sunday. When you have been running on adrenaline for a month trying to get the show on the road, the last thing you should do after the show is done is getting on the road yourself.
I was just was absolutely ragged. Like my head was socked in with fog. And reader, I had a beer and a glass of wine that entire trip to Ohio. I couldn't afford time wasted modeling lampshades on my head. But the trip was grueling on both Cookie and the husband. In fact, it took until yesterday (Thursday) to return to my familiar dyspeptic self!
So I am now able to get centered in my own space until the next BIG convention in Pittsburgh coming up. So this has been Cookie, over and out!
* I am being nice out of respect for her children for a one year mourning period.
** I am being REALLY nice until October 23, 2018. Because I respect her children during this time of great emotional sorrow that they are most certainly feeling.
***She would have wanted it that way.