Monday, August 7, 2023

Our Weekend Away

Last month a friend of ours in Tucson passed away from ALS. When we got the email from his wife Joan giving us the sad news, I said to my husband Art, "Do you want to go to John's celebration of life?" He said, "Of course. We want to say goodbye to our dear friend." We'd last seen John and Joan in late April for a meal, just before we came back to Seattle for the summer. At that time John was just beginning display signs of his illness.

For this trip, I used frequent flyer miles, bought seats with extra legroom and requested wheelchair assistance at both the Seattle and Tucson airports. I'm nine weeks past my knee replacement and figured the airport walks would be arduous. I'm grateful we had the miles available and the money for the seats with extra legroom, and for wheelchair assistants.

We got up at 4:45 a.m. on Friday for an 8:00 a.m. flight. After comparison shopping for transportation to and from the airport from our Washington home, we'd decided to drive to the airport and park in one of the nearby lots. It's been 15 years since we've taken a short trip by plane, and in that time parking rates have increased significantly. But traffic was light and the shuttle from Master Park Lot C to the airport was efficient. 

Without wheelchair assist I would have been exhausted and ready for a nap by the time we got to the gate. I was a little embarrassed to be using the service, because I can walk, but I'm not yet comfortable with anything beyond a stroll, especially without my trekking poles. I took my cane because the poles didn't fit in my carryon.

After a smooth flight, we were picked up at the Tucson airport and delivered to our park model at the Voyager RV Resort, where we spend half the year. Our summer care guy Steve had turned on the hot water and set the A/C to 75 - since it was 105 when we arrived, that was a necessity. Art hooked up the battery to our Prius, and we were ready for our weekend.  Lunch and dinner at two of our favorite places. I'm grateful for our own place in Tucson and for the familiarity of restaurants there.

Saturday was the celebration of life for our friend John - a lovely progressive mass followed by a luncheon. And then a family party at the house. We said hello to John and Joan's children and grandchildren, a number of John and Joan's siblings, nieces and nephews, and a few other friends. I'm grateful that I have learned to have conversations with new people.

We left our place at 10:30 a.m. and got back home at 8:30 p.m. It was still 99 degrees at that time, after a high of 109 when we were leaving the church and walking across the asphalt parking lot. We were both very tired but glad and grateful for the day we'd spent with others mourning John's loss and celebrating his life. 

And Sunday we flew home. At Master Park Lot C the cashier asked if we had a discount coupon. I said, "No. Can you give me one?" He said yes! Three days of parking cost less than a Lyft would have for just one way. I'm grateful!

We stopped at our favorite Thai place in Mountlake Terrace, the next town over, and then drove home to greet our cat, Dutchy, who was glad to see us but annoyed we'd left her for three days. She'd been fed twice a day while we were gone, but ate two cans of food once we'd arrived home.

So now we're home, listening to the sounds of birds and the trickling water from the fountain just outside our door. 

So glad we went, so grateful we could.