A few months back my Grandma called me. She loves to travel! Now that she's older she takes trips with a group called Sun Tours. Sun Tours is basically a Senior Travel group. They plan the whole trip for you. They travel all over the country. You fly to your destination and then Sun Tours drives the group about in buses (that they insist on calling "coaches.") They plan your meals, activities, everything! You can even take mystery trips! They tell you how long you will be gone and what sort of weather to pack for, show up and go.
So Grandma calls me because she and her best friend, Margaret were going on a Sun Tours trip to Phoenix. My Aunt Cathy planned to go with them (chaperon) but needed a room mate. They thought I might like to join them. The trip was to Phoenix for a performance of Billy Elliott! After planning the trip my Aunt Cathy (who we have always called Auntie Cutie) was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had her third round of chemo-therapy the week of the trip.
I flew in from Denver an hour early. I waited in baggage claim for everyone to arrive. While waiting I read a book, periodically checking the time. Finally, a herd of Cotton Tops started heading toward me and a lone bright scarfed wrapped scalp. I ran up to hug and kiss my Grandma, Aunt and friend.
I have traveled with Grandma and Margaret before. It was way back when I was eleven! I see Margaret nearly every time I visit my Grandma. She is 10 years older then my Grandma and does Jazzercise 3-4 times a week! She moves great! Her only sign of aging are her white curls and her lack of hearing.
Grandma is in pretty good shape too! She moves slower but I don't think it's so much do to lack of agility but more because her vision is very poor. Since she's not sure what lies ahead she moves a bit slower. Both ladies are quick witted and fun!
Auntie Cutie looked great! The lack of hair make her eyes really stand out. She's nothing but a smile and fluttering eye lashes! Each time she has a treatment she is a little more tired a little longer but then she is fine. She even feels a little guilty about how well she feels. The only thing I did notice was that she moved a little different. She confessed to me that the white cell booster they give her make her muscles very stiff. Aspirin seemed to help and I gave her massages from time to time. Mostly though she has a great attitude and even praised some of the conveniences of the chemo.
"I don't have to do my hair or shave!"
After meeting up with the Senior Group we all boarded the bus...er..coach. Cathy and I sat together and Grandma and Margaret were across the aisle.
"Doot, doot, doot, doot, doot...." said the tour guide in rapid fire. "I do that to test the intercom. It may get annoying..."
She proceeded to give us info on the trip. Our first stop would be the capital where we could have a tour or lunch and then the mall. Dinner would be at The Keg...
"That sounds promising!" my Aunt cheered to me.
...followed by Billy Elliott. In the morning breakfast would be served in the Vista Verde room.
"That's the name of my cemetery!" a passenger behind Cathy and I happily exclaimed.
Cathy and I busted up laughing!
"Shhh!" Grandma scolded, "You girls are too loud!"
This of course made us laugh more. Getting in trouble at our age was just too fun!
The resort we stayed at was absolutely beautiful! As soon as we got in our room I jumped on the beds. Aunt Cathy tsk, tsked me.
"Do you always do that?"
"You are a bad influence on your sons."
Dinner was nice as well. Grandma and Margaret were a little annoyed with how fast the waiter talked, how dark the restaurant was and how loud it was. Aside from that...it was great! I was glad to be there to help the ladies find their way about the place and to communicate for the waiter.
Next was Billy Elliott! The show was fabulous! I cried numerous times and all at inappropriate times. Stage performances just always get me. I sat there thinking, I missed it! I missed what little chance I had!
After the show we returned to the coach and waited....and waited.... There were a couple of ladies that require the aid of a walker. This drove my Grandmother crazy because they always held up the group. Cathy and I found this pretty funny since my Grandma is no Speedy Gonzalez.
"Well, once I start bitching I can't stop!" Grandma said, sending Cathy and I into more fits of laughter.
The next day we took a tour of a mansion. It was owned by the guy who invented Wrigley Chewing Gum. Let me tell you, it paid off! He had one room that was wall papered in the silver wrappers of his gum. It was beautiful. Also the bathrooms were all uniquely tiled.
We followed this up with a tour of an Anne Taylor collection at the Phoenix Art Museum. This was right up my alley! Her clothes and life were so amazing! The tour ended there and we headed back the airport.
"Doot, doot, doot, doot, doot...." began the tour guide. She wanted to pass out some awards. My Grandma and a few others got certificates for $50 off their next Sun Tours purchase for introducing someone new to the company, i.e. me.
"Grandma! You should rip that up! What an insult! An introduction to your Granddaughter is worth way more than $50!" She agreed but then thought better of ripping it up.
"We can use it on another trip and you can come again!"
My Grandma has been on 36 Sun Tours trips and has her name on a plaque in her office for it! Her Bestie, Margaret has been on 40 tours.
"Margaret, they should put your name on a coach!" My aunt and I suggested.
This was my aunt's 3rd trip and so she got a special pin for it. I wondered if there were going to be pins in my future....oh my!
On the flight home I felt...nervous? Excited? I couldn't pin point it. Was I sad to leave Grandma? Well...some what but that wasn't it. Was I nervous about the flight? No. I love to fly. I think that after finally stopping I was able to feel that I was missing my family. It was time to come home.
I don't like flying late at night nearly as much as in the day. Walking through an airport at night is...creepy. There is no one excited for their next adventure and or high on returning from one. Everyone there is weary and the very large building is desolate. I got to the parking garage. I nervously walked back to my car. (I can't wait to start taking martial arts.) It was completely dark, there were no people around to witness or help if anything ominous were to happen. I recalled how near God seemed to be this week and wondered why I could not feel that now.
I know you are there. Protect me.
There was this one guy who was waiting outside the doors when I first walked out. Now he seemed to be following me. I kept looking alert and bold. When I got to my car. I practically dove in and locked the doors. Ug. Time for home!
I don't like to drive at night. I was tired on top of it so it did not calm my nerves. The guy in front of me was either tired or drunk and swerved about the road. Was it better to be in front or behind this guy? I sped up, went around him and put a lot of distance between us.
Good Lord woman. You have been around old ladies too long this weekend!
Granted, "Mildred" has always been there but she was out in full force last night. I hate when my old lady persona takes over. Where is the Lola? I put on my iPod and sang show tunes at top volume the rest of the way home.
It was 11:00 p.m. when I got home. The house was full of flowers. There were calla lilies that I assumed were from Aaron and then very bright mixed arrangements that could be from none other than the boys. I went into their rooms to kiss their foreheads. Drew woke up and sat up in bed.
"Mamma's home," I whispered, "lay down and sleep." He held my face in his hands as if trying to clearly see that this was true, then laid back down and slept. Gabriel never budged. The boy was out like a rock.
In the morning there was breakfast in bed, home made cards, and a Mother's Day song. The boys played in my bed while I read. It was a perfect weekend!