Tuesday, October 11, 2011

There Are Just Some Days You Never Want to Forget

I have been trying to figure out a way to approach this subject(it's only taken me all day!). 

I had one of those days (a day I never want to forget) ; it was September 20th, 2011, the day I flew home from Dallas, TX via Seattle, landing in Walla Walla.  My son, drove me to DFW (it was early in the morning); the hitch was that there was only one lane open on the way to the airport and I got there just in time to check my one suitcase and head to the gate (didn't even get a chance to sit and wait which wasn't a bad thing).  I was in line behind a woman with Down Syndrome; she was probably in her mid 30's and with her Mother until she got in the Security check line.  I found out that we were on the same flight to Seattle (with her heading to Alaska out of Seattle) and I assured her Mother that I had at least a 3 1/2 hr. layover in Seattle and would have plenty of time to help her daughter get to her gate which her Mom thought would be the satellite gate and a tram ride.  

This girl (or rather, woman) sat behind me on the plane and when we got off we had breakfast and then walked to her gate (which ended up NOT being out of the main terminal).  Her name was Sherry, she loved God, she had just had her birthday and was headed to her sister's house in Alaska for a 2 week visit.  She had, I believe, 2 dogs at home which her niece was taking care of.  She had arrived to DFW late because she had gone to a late showing of The Help the night before and had slept through her alarm.   Sherry was very friendly and talkative; her perspective on things was quite refreshing, and I learned a few things about myself from her  (some good and some that I needed improvement in, but I appreciated the lesson).  I said goodbye to her at her gate and knew where I was headed: the massage bar!

My back had been stiff (I have a history of tightness and knots in my upper back and neck area) and had been thinking about the massage bar; it was where I wanted to be at that moment.  I signed in and was waiting my turn when a woman sat down next to me and was running a little late so I let her go ahead of me (which was only about 10 minutes).  I had plenty of time!  My massage was great.  For $37 plus tip (I think that was the price) I got 30 minutes of pure heaven!  My back felt "looser" and I was more relaxed.
I headed to Hudson Books to buy some water and a treat and then to my gate to catch my Horizon flight to Walla Walla.  I was talking to my daughter on the phone when I saw an LDS Missionary from Walla Walla who had been serving in California and was on his way home (we were on the same flight!).  

  I didn't know him well; he is younger than all of my children, but I knew of him and I knew his Mom and knew, through facebook (yes, it's how I keep up on the news!) that he was flying home but I had forgotten that it was that day.  I was so happy to see him and as I talked with him about his mission, his future plans, and about his family I was reminded of all of the feelings I had when 3 of my sons were returning home after serving 2 year missions.  I excused myself from visiting with him so I could go to the restroom before our flight; when I returned back to the gate I felt like I needed to share something with him, which I did.  (By this time I was starting to think that someone "up there" was orchestrating my whole day! )  
We flew to Walla Walla and landed around 2:30 at our very nice but very small (one gate) airport.  There were quite a few people at the gate forthe returning missionary with "welcome home" signs (again, reminding me of experiences I had had welcoming my boys home).  As I was waiting for my luggage I sat down next to a young woman and said, "hello".  She asked me if there was a shuttle from the airport to Walla Walla University (inserting a little "chuckle" here), "no, I don't think so".   My husband had dropped our car at the airport (with the keys under the mat) since he was at work at that time of the day.  I had no excuse not to ask, "Would you like me to give you a ride?  I have my car in the parking lot and no reason to be right home since my husband is at work and all of my kids are grown and gone."   She took me up on my offer and we had a nice conversation during our 15 minute ride.
This young woman's name was Cheryl; she was from Alaska, 24 years old, had served in law enforcement, and was here to start school (for a nursing degree) with no way to College Place where the school was; she was brave. She got her luggage out of my car and we said "good-bye".  It felt a little strange thinking I would never talk to her again.  (I had felt the same when saying good-bye to Sherry at the airport, but I did get her photo and she took mine as well.  I'm not sure why I didn't ask for her contact information.)

I left Walla Walla University and as I was halfway home (sitting in my car) at a redlight, there was a woman holding a sign on the corner wanting to work for money; I rolled the passenger window down and handed her a $5 bill(that's all the cash I had left).

Coincidences?  No way!  My whole trip home had been filled with people for me to help and to learn from, and the most assuring part?  I felt like it was all for me; to take my mind off of my having to leave children and grandchildren behind in Texas (as well as letting me see some areas that I could improve in).  Whatever the purpose, I will forever be grateful and it will ever be a day that I want to remember. 

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