Thursday, February 25, 2010

Flight of the (Back to the) Snow Bird

The world traveler is back 'NTSG. And not a moment too soon right? Happiness is coming home from sunny Florida just in time for the latest incantation of the "Storm of the Century". Well, under ordinary circumstances one would think not. However given that my father-in-law embraces change in his routine almost as enthusiastically as I do, I suspect that even if it means spending his first full day home from his week away as the third leg in the Dennis Quaid - Jake Gyllenhaal action movie hero triangle, his joy at being home will trump his feeling of terminal deja vu as he watches another massive amount of snow fall down upon us. Today's storm - presuming it does arrive as advertised - reinforces my belief that Mother Nature is a chick with a wicked sense of humor and an impeccable sense of timing inasmuch as the rain she ordered up for us the past forty-eight hours has just about washed away the evidence of the blizzard that she buried us under a fortnight ago.

Margaret and Joe have been extremely close the entirety of the time that I have known the two of them, a period that is rapidly approaching two decades (or to drop some old school parlance on you - Honest Abe style - "a score") but they have become fiercely so in the nine months or so since Suzy B died. One recognizes the strength and the vulnerability that co-exists in the other, which simultaneously create a safe harbor and a need for one another. And their give and take is effortless - like a well-choreographed ballet (or if you can resist the temptation to projectile vomit at the site of the male contestants channeling their inner Carmen Miranda than feel free to insert ice dancing as your model) in which one partner knows without needing to say a word where to be and what to do.

Everybody needs a little time away from time to time. Joe needed to escape the winter doldrums of Joisey for the fun and relative warmth of Florida. Judging by the nightly updates he provided to Margaret it seems as if he had one hell of a good time. Yet it was undoubtedly an odd feeling for him to be there as a solo act, having made countless trips to Florida with his bride. For years the two of them would pack up at the beginning of February, drive south until they reach the State of Eternal Sunshine and not return until the beginning March. The drive down and back was as much a part of the adventure as the weeks they spent there relaxing. There were certain little restaurants they ate in each year on their journey, a motel where they always spent the night and a place or two or three where they always stopped for gas. Upon their return in March they would have equally entertaining stories to tell about what they did and who they met while on the journey as they did about how they spent their actual vacation.

This year Joe flew down and back. When one has been operating with a co-pilot for half a century and suddenly she is not there in the shotgun seat beside you, it makes sense to yield the controls to someone else altogether, which he did. As of this morning I have not yet seen him since his return but I presume that our paths shall cross either today or - presuming Mother Nature is a wrestling fan and shall permit Frank and the rest of the Regionnaires to compete this weekend - tomorrow night at Union High School. I know what he will tell me when I ask him about his trip, which is that he enjoyed himself but that he is happy to be home. As is Margaret.

The weather today is supposed to be brutal 'NTSG. I reckon from Margaret's vantage point it will not be too bad at all. It is only snow after all - it melts. The important stuff survives a change in the weather. Always has. Always will.

-AK

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