ON ISLAND TIME

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ON ISLAND TIME

There is a Jimmy Buffett song that reminds me that traveling south often brings about a new perspective. Heading to the beach, or perhaps to the islands brings about a change in one’s attitude.

As the snow flies today in Kansas, I am watching it out the window. At this point, it is beautiful as it falls softly with no wind, and I am so glad to be here. However, the thought of an island always beckons in the back of my mind when Old Man Winter starts blowing that dreadful wind that Gail and Suzanne love, the same wind that I loathe (Sisters of The South Wind, November 17th).

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No wind!  I love it, Gail and Suzanne don’t.  

The snow is still virgin-white, still falling; still beautiful. I even got out and ran in it this morning, and it was a unique high. I do love this about Kansas.

Suzanne and I did change our latitude this weekend. We didn’t go south, however, like the song may suggest. We headed north to an old familiar destination: Grand Island, Nebraska.  And, true to the song, we did experience a change in attitude.

Now, if you aren’t familiar with Grand Island, you may wonder why we chose this destination, when a six-hour round trip in another direction may offer greater thrills. For us, it is about nostalgia; it’s a trip back in time.

Our hometown is halfway there from the small city we both live in now, and we traveled north to Grand Island as often as we traveled south to Salina when we lived at home. Both destinations offer attractive shopping and dining options, but Grand Island will always have an edge over Salina: we used to take Mom there on our shopping trips.

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Suzanne moved to Salina three years ago, and we took a Christmas shopping trip to Grand Island then, spending the night in a hotel. We went back two years ago, but missed last year. It was time again, so we made a plan to leave on the auspicious and lucky date of Friday, December 13th. Gail wanted to join us, but she had too many of her multiple plates spinning in the air, and wasn’t able to get away.

Next time. It’s never the same with only two of us. Last weekend it was Gail and me in Manhattan. Perhaps Gail and Suzanne need to get away without me.

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Not surprisingly, the innkeeper remembered us. We can’t tell you why, that would violate our code of silence when it comes to certain matters. What she may wish she didn’t know about us is that we tried out her mattresses in our own unique Goldilocks style, and found them to be just right.

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But she is still speaking to us; still laughing with us.   We slept soundly at her inn Friday night, and were planning on spending Saturday night there as well. However, the weather prognosticators had a dire outlook for Saturday night and Sunday morning, so we departed early.

Now, Sunday, we are glad we did.

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The memories were still there.  Some of our favorite places were no longer there, and new ones have sprung up, but the spirit of our visits with Mom to La Grand Isle—French traders who settled it named it that—remains.

We shopped,

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and dined.

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Eating at an all-you-care-to-eat pizza/fried chicken dinner/ice cream buffet at 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon is always good for the gut.

I enjoyed ice cream, but Suzanne wasn’t able to at the end of her meal. Her gut quickly quashed that craving when she realized after her repeat trips to the buffet that her phone was nowhere to be found. We searched the seat, the floor, her purse, her coat, her car to no avail. Retracing her steps was the only solution.

The first call (on my phone, of course, because mine was safe and sound, and I didn’t let her forget that) resulted in a polite “Sorry, nobody has turned anything in.”

Going back one more store, we found that there are still honest Americans out doing their Christmas shopping. “Yes, we have an iPhone someone turned in.” Our description matched the phone, and she and her phone were reunited (and it felt so good).

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We wrapped up our shopping there, stopped on the way home in a Goodwill in this town with the iconic water tower, and made it home safely in the early evening.

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We woke to snow this morning, and knew we made the right decision.

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We made a dent in our Christmas shopping lists—including a goodie or two for ourselves. (We’ve been good this year.)   For me, I decided to celebrate Mom’s birthday a month early, and bring home the annual purse I buy to celebrate Mom’s birthday. It was at this very TJMaxx that Mom helped me pick out my new purse on her last shopping trip there for her 71st birthday, so it was only right to buy the one that jumped right off the hook at me–that’s how I always know it’s the right one.

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For the handful of you readers who know the whole story, let me just say this: The price was right.

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This shopping trip will always hold special memories, and this is one way we celebrate Mom’s spirit within us. Any time we are all together, however, we feel both her and Dad living on through us. Next weekend, we will celebrate Christmas with our brothers and all of our respective families at the home of our youngest brother. Wherever we are, Mom and Dad are there, too.

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May you enjoy the holidays with your loved ones, no matter where they are.