It was kinda surreal, that first glimpse across Concourse B at the airport, when I saw her standing there... We recognized each other immediately, of course, live and in person, not very different from the blog buddies we had come to know, only... more so. Gillian had flown down for the day, or so we had thought, on what would turn out to be, in every way, one of the nicest days of this new-born year.
Laughter and hugs and incredulous glimpses, stolen and swapped. Then a quick pony ride home to chez somewhere, to Buble blasting Come Fly With Me and the rolled-down wind in our hair. The rest of the day was something of a blur... the kind of smile-smeared blur you see in travel commercials. I had big plans. Which, once we hit chez somewhere, quickly dissolved in our Cuba Libres and conversation and the flickering palms. When you've got Gillian and a perfect summerlike day, you don't need no stinking big plans.
Then as if to salt our long and sweetly memorable day, a touch of high drama: honoring the old 45-minute boarding headroom instead of the new one-hour rule for international flights, we returned to the airport that night only to find ourselves at the airport ten munutes late, and face to face with the airline's Stepford rep. No amount of pleading, cajoling, or rational thought could interrupt the recording in her intracranial circuitry: "The ticket desk closes one hour before the flight... the ticket desk closes one hour before the flight... the ticket desk... " Now Gillian is a sunny and very centered woman. But if I ever need some Stepford ass seriously kicked... I know who I'm gonna call. Frantic calls to non-functioning 800 numbers featuring infuriating glib recordings led nowhere. The authority at the airport authority refered us back to the airline. As the clock ticked inexorably toward take-off, calls to Gill's extraordianry internet-scouring hubby in Canada confirmed what we were beginning to intuit for ourselves: there were simply no flights to Toronto out of Fort Myers until the next day. Back to chez somewhere it would be. And that's when the giggles started... it could be worse.
Blue didn't arrive empty-handed. I thought it was Christmas. The girl (and Sheila, Mother Of Blue),
gives good gift. Thank you, loveys.
gives good gift. Thank you, loveys.
After touching down at chez somewhere for a little restoration, we headed out to Cape Harbour, one of my favorite haunts, a waterfront enclave a short drive from home.
Lunch at Rumrunners, complete with rumrunners, was all about the tuna - blackened and bedded on a a salad of wild greens, and the rumrunners.
Did I mention we had rumrunners with lunch...
Celebrity couple Gillian and Joe were spotted leaving a boutique.
Gill bought sparkly little stuffed mermaids for her girls.
We ordered lattes at Run Aground and found a table overlooking the marina. "Oh, look," I said, "pelicans!" For some reason this cracked Blue up.
Love that latte.
There's a sweet little beach a stone's throw from chez somewhere...
where we went to unwind into a poignant sunset before heading off to the airport
and what we thought would be our last hug.
Back home after the airport snafu, we talked long into the night, laughing our butts off looking at the day's snapshots (some of which will never see the light of day). By the time our heavy eyelids began to slow the conversation, the mockingbirds were in seranade mode and sang us sweetly to morning.
We had breakfast at the airport. Blue beat me at Twenty Questions, with her stunning Buckminster Fuller, which I couldn't guess even after being led to a pro shop in the concourse and being shown a geodesically-pocked golf ball clue. Don't let her good looks fool you. The girl has smarts to throw at the neighbors.
Then she was off, this time for real, melting into the stream of Toronto-bound travelers, memories, and somewheres yet to come...