I am sitting in the Miami airport reminiscing about the last few days of my visit home. Surrounded by travelers, all in a hurry, I’ve decided to fork over the bucks for a day pass in the Admiral lounge. Quiet, drinks, free internet, and other goodies; the five and a half hour layover demands that I try to escape the lemmings as they skitter back and forth from gate to gate. Ordinarily I enjoy the people watching but I am much too pensive today. My friend Deb told me the other day she could tell that my heart lives in two places. So henceforth, whenever I leave one for the other, a bit of pain and pleasure will always be involved.
Lourdes wandered by a short time ago. Her well-shaped legs accented by high heels that added at least three inches to her height. She glanced at me with those smoky eyes of hers, a moment of seduction she gave all men who passed in front of her view. Then she was gone. Rodriguez, not inclined to international travel, wouldn’t be caught dead in a place like this. All my characters have traveled with me but I have done a good job of ignoring them. I know that on my return to Lima they will be shouting to get out. Their story needs to be told and it needs to be told well. That will be my task over the next few months.
Last Wednesday I had a last lunch with Deb and Tim. Mona accompanied me on this one. Tim regaled us with tall tales and off the cuff story lines that kept us in stitches. There are times when I wish that my mind worked in the offbeat quirky way that his does. Then, when I stop to think about it, it does on occasion and I have to edit my output to make it more enjoyable to the masses. We ate at a vegetarian restaurant and the food was quite delicious. I had the black bean quesadea and would gladly have ordered it a second time if I hadn’t been so full. That bits for you Amanda. LOL Getting together with my friends and co-workers, made me miss the old job for a bit. That quickly passed though as they complained about the same things we did before I retired.
I followed that up with dinner at a Thai restaurant and drinks at one of my old haunts, PKs, the next evening. Brenda and David shared their exploits for the last couple of years and I returned the favor. They are quite the couple. The two have traveled the world in search of adventure. They have spent a month to six weeks living on beaches or the jungle in huts simply to experience the place or people up close and personal. I hope they will return to Peru and visit this coming year.
Friday I hit the wineries with my friend Cyndi. It was a great day. The sun shone between the passing clouds. The colors of fall continued in full glory; the shades of gold, bronze, red, purple, brown, green and orange spread over the hillsides meshed like a paint on a palette. The wines flavors danced on our tongues as we tasted from several bottles. Oak, cinnamon, fruit and others tantalized our taste buds until we settled on a nice red for Cyndi and a white for me. We drove through the country on lanes barely large enough for two cars, the passing scenery distracting to the point of danger. Sitting on decks, the cool breezes eventually drove us inside to admire the vistas through the windows. It was a perfect day and I enjoyed spending it with Cyndi in lively conversation. It all came to an end when friends/co-workers joined us and the conversation veered into all the things that were wrong at work. Afterwards I dropped Cyndi off and joined Mona and Kelly on their patio for cocktails which led to watching the Cardinals win the World Series. That was a nice little present for me before leaving the States.
I spent my last two days with my sister, Rita, and brother-in-law, George. Those two days were highlighted by a visit to the St Louis Botanical Gardens. It’s a place I recommend that everyone visit whether it is the one in St Louis or another closer to where you live. It’s hard to describe the beauty, the abundance of colors, the variety of flowers and other plants. You simply have to experience it firsthand. They change by season so four visits a year should provide you with separate experiences. On this trip, fall foliage and flowers were highlighted throughout the garden. A large crowd of adults and children in costumes were in attendance when we arrived. Ghosts, ghouls, superheroes, witches, goblins and characters from fairy tales wandered the grounds looking for treats and enjoying the vistas. We wandered through the park for about four hours, taking time to visit the Japanese, English and Chinese Gardens as well as other areas. If you are a camera buff or an artist who enjoys plein-air painting, you will need to start early and stay late. It’s overwhelming to the senses and a visually exhilarating place. After a late lunch, they dropped me off at my hotel across from the St. Louis airport where I got a few hours sleep before getting up at 3:30am to catch my plane. I’m back in Peru now and the characters that have been screaming to get out are happy. Now I can put pen to paper, so to speak, and give them life.