I had an incredible opportunity to visit an old friend of mine in Chicago this weekend. (I’m pretty sure you know what I’m talking about…) While I’m not ready to talk about the details, I have GOT to share this story.
I took a small plane to return from Chicago to Washington/Dulles airport. (Which is conveniently close to OREGON.) The flight filled with young men who were obviously members of the United States Army. Being a Navy brat, I am always incredibly honored to be in the presence of boys, girls, women and men who offer their LIVES in service to our country. Honestly. Every time I see a soldier I am humbled beyond belief-I can’t explain it.
We boarded the plane, and I found myself sitting alone at the rear of the plane with the young, jovial servicemen surrounding me. I listened to their humorous banter, and couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Some of the boys noticed, and began taking turns sitting next to me, engaging in fun, wonderful conversations! While several of them insisted on buying me cocktails, I reminded them that it was 9:00 a.m., and MOST people didn’t enjoy cocktails that early.
I had a lovely flight, and thanked God for incredible young people like these fellows who not only committed their lives to their country, but who smiled and laughed with this particular kindergarten teacher.
Our plane landed and we all scrambled to make a mad dash to the terminal where our next flights were waiting. I made my way to the shuttle that was to take me to the proper terminal for my next flight.
Imagine my surprise when I walked onto the shuttle and saw the same army men from my previous flight! They saw me board the shuttle, pointed to me and said smiling, “Hey! We were all just talking about you!”
I smiled and laughed. We visited a bit, and at one point one young man pointed to my shiny red Dansko’s shoes. “Those shoes are awesome.”
I smiled, and told them that my daughter, who worked at a kick-@$$ shoe store, had given me them for my birthday.
“Daughter? You can NOT have a daughter old enough to buy you those shoes!” one of the young men said emphatically.
I smiled. “How old do you think I am?” I asked them.
They shouted numbers like 30, 40, 42, 43 and other glorious numbers that I have not uttered in YEARS.
“Guys,” I said smiling, “I am,” and I held up one hand that said FIVE and another that said TWO.”
Each of them, all SEVEN of them uttered shouts of disbelief. (And that lifted me MORE than you know!)
“Oh my GOD!” one of them said, “You are NOT FIFTY-TWO!”
The rest of the ride was spent convincing them I was, and then we smiled as we parted ways.
We all ran to our prospective terminals, and I couldn’t stop laughing as I thought of how proud their parents must be of them.
I was startled when I heard someone shout “Hey!! Hey Vodka!” and turned to see one of the young men (who I remember looking at me intently) come running towards me. I stood up, worried that something might be wrong!
“Hi,” he said breathlessly, “ I just wanted to say something.”
I looked at him smiling.
“You are the best looking fifty-two year old woman I have EVER MET!” He smiled and winked at me. “I just wanted to tell you that.”
He turned and ran for his flight before I had a chance to thank him.
And that makes me sad. Cause I would LOVE to have gotten his mother’s address to send her a thank- you card.
She raised one HELL of a son.