Monday, May 16, 2016

Just When I Wanted To Forget

Just When I Wanted To Forget
            Some days, despite all the good things in my life, I wake up and would rather crawl back into bed and pull the quilt over my head. Pity party is another word for the feeling. Party, well, yes, party. I woke up with an ugly thought, “Today is my birthday.”

Seventy-one seems a number without much pizzazz. Seventy or seventy-five or one hundred—now those numbers have class. Milestone numbers. My number seems rather in-betweeny. How old are you? Mumbley mumble.

Then Teresa walked over and turned my party upside down. “I’d like you to drive to the border with me. I don’t want to go through Mexico by myself. I’ll fly you back from Phoenix. Once I’m in the States, I can drive alone from there.”

Last week I contemplated all the “elves” in my life, my helpers. This week I got to be one. Here’s what happened.

A few days ago Teresa’s husband flew back to Portland to see his doctor. He planned to see his doc, get medicine, fly back and eventually drive home with Teresa and the two dogs.

Not good news. The man has a tumor on his liver and a blood clot between his liver and his heart. Not good news at all. Sure took care of my pity party. “When do you want to leave?”

Next morning we drove from Etzatlan to Mazatlan. After lunch at Cerritos, we searched out the hotel Teresa had booked on the Malecon. While she was checking in, I called my friend and pulmonia driver, Carlos. “What time do you work today, Carlos?” “Sondra, what are you doing in Mazatlan? I start at three.” “Perfect.”

I arranged for Carlos to take us, dogs included, on a pulmonia tour of Mazatlan, a special surprise treat for Teresa, who, traveling with dogs, had not planned to see the city beyond the hotel room.

By coincidence, if you believe in coincidence, Carlos’ partner, who was scheduled to drive the afternoon shift, had asked to trade. That simple change made our afternoon tour possible.

We had an excellent two hour tour, saw historic sites, the shrimp boat marina, the tuna fleet, the ferry dock, the Plazuela Machado, the Cathedral, the Mercado. We saw it all. We had fun. The dogs loved it. A good time was had by all.

Imagine how good I felt. It pleasured me to show off my favorite city. I spent two hours with one of my favorite friends. Seventy-one? Ha—what’s in a number.

The second day of our journey consisted of pit stops and road construction. With two women and two dogs, a pit stop takes sixteen times as long as a stop for one woman. Scientific researched fact. Road construction is same whenever you go. Despite delays we made it to Hermosillo at darkfall.

Ha! Immediately inside the skirts of town we found a HOTEL, bright lights and huge sign, high modern building, strangely with no windows. After circling the block twice we found the entrance, wound through a tunnel-like passage, only to see “murals” on the entry walls that told us with certainty this was not the “hotel” in which we wanted to stay. We scooted out, post haste.

Drove, drove, drove, until I said, “Pull into Costco. You walk the dogs and I’ll look helpless.” Sure enough, a woman who lives near the hotel district rescued us and led us to the Holiday Inn. Bless strangers and good beds.

Our final road trip day we crossed the border at Nogales and made it to Phoenix without incident, though we were starved. We stopped at the first fast food emporium and shoveled down a burger and fries. Within minutes we realized how spoiled we are in Mexico with our abundance of fresh and unprocessed foods.

In the morning Theresa, a woman I hardly knew a week ago, and her dogs, will head to Oregon and I’ll fly to Guadalaraja. We have cemented a solid friendship, the best birthday gift for me.  
But I’m telling you, next year, I’m positively absolutely no compromise not having a birthday party, pity party, or any party. I’m keeping my head low, mum’s the word. Knitting. Maybe I’ll take up knitting. Or cross stitch. Or tatting.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

April 14, 2016

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