28th. Post, February 16, 2019

By my calculations, I have recently made it through “The Red Zone”. That is to say the 5 years before and after retirement. When I first heard of the red zone, I was 60 years old. Someone explained to me that the next 9 or 10 years would be the most defining in my life. I will either make it or not.

So, what does this really mean. Are we talking about money? Are we talking about personnel success?  Who has the most toys? Just what do you have when you’ve made it? I don’t think the answer is that simple. Each of us have different goals and values, so I have to ask myself; how am I doing.

I retired at age 65 and will celebrate my 70th birthday on March 20th. So, I am out of the red zone, right? Hogwash! It’s all a piece of crap. I feel like my whole life has been more or less in the red zone. Some of us are much better planners than others, and some of us are much better at sticking to those plans. Sorry, not this cowboy.

Okay, I’ve been married to the same wonderful women for 41 years. We’ve sheltered, fed and helped educate two fabulous children. They are 100% self-sufficient and building a life of their own. I’ve had a successful career, built our dream house and done a lot of traveling so far. I’ve written a couple books, have tickets to my 5th Rolling Stones concert, and even knocked in a 110-yard pitching wedge for a hole in one. Big deal. Who hasn’t?

So, screw the “Red Zone”. It doesn’t exist. All I am saying is we’re here now and will all leave a mark. Make it a good one.

*****

How about some retirement humor:

Question: When is a retiree’s bedtime?

Answer: Three hours after he falls asleep on the couch.

 

Question: How many retirees does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: Only one, but it might take all day.

 

Question: Why don’t retirees mind being called Seniors?

Answer: The term comes with a 10% percent discount.

 

Question: Among retirees what is considered formal attire?

Answer: Tied shoes.

 

Question: What is the common term for someone who enjoys work and refuses to retire?

Answer: Nuts!

 

Question: Why are retirees so slow to clean out the basement, attic or garage?

Answer: They know that as soon as they do, one of their adult kids will want to store stuff there.

*****

Please enjoy the last chapter in my fictional work about my retirement trip;

Go with the Flow

*****

NYC

I spent a week at home opening mail, catching up on my writing and of course, golfing at will. I was able to skype with Dar and Jess several times. There was an onboard computer lab with limited internet access. They were really living it up.

Jess did her obligatory CPR training for a couple hours per day, then she and Dar relaxed on the glam-cruise and took several land tours. They had visited a small village in Costa Rica and experienced how some of the locals made their living, creating and selling crafts to the tourists, and were fascinated with the locks as they passed through the Panama Canal. They even snorkeled with sting rays in the Grand Caymans. Not bad for a couple pale white red-heads. Can you say, ‘slather me with 1000 SPF sunblock’?

They also enjoyed the theatre on board and got to chat with Tippy Hedron after one of her luncheon seminars. In Charleston, they met a friend of Dar’s who lives on Kiowa Island. She joined them for a personal tour around town, which included a carriage ride through the old, charming city.

Now it was my turn for a surprise. This was going to be the biggest ‘gotya’ of them all. I booked a flight to New York City, and a room in the Sheridan Manhattan, the same hotel they would stay at when they disembarked from the ship. I also got a ticket to the same play they were going to and reserved a table at Sardi’s for an after-play supper, and I made reservations at Peter Luger’s steakhouse in Brooklyn for the following evening. Best steak on the planet.

Dar had told me of a couple they had become friendly with during the cruise. I got in touch with them and asked if they would help me with my little caper. They agreed. When Dar and Jess checked into the hotel, there was a message for them from John and Gloria Albertson, the afore mentioned couple, to meet them in the lobby for a cocktail before they went to the play.

John and Gloria met them at the bar, and I was sitting at the end hiding my face in a newspaper. I sent drinks over to them via the bartender. Single malt scotch on the rocks for Dar and a coke for Jessica.

“The gentleman at the end of the bar sent these over with this note ma’am” Said the bartender. I kept my face hidden as she opened the note. “GOTYA!!!” it read.

Dar shrieked as she stretched her neck to look towards me. I dropped my paper and waved at her, with a sly grin on my face. I walked over and gave them a big hug and kiss. It was the coolest thing ever. They had absolutely no idea I would be there.

“You must be John and Gloria.” I said turning to the Albertsons.  “I’m very pleased to meet you and thank you so much for helping out.”

Dar glared at the couple. “You!” She said.

“You guys knew all along.”

The Albertsons sat back in their chairs and nodded.

“Yep, we sure did.” Said John. “Your clever husband is quite the trickster. We couldn’t resist the chance to be involved in his devious plan.”

Jessica was speechless. She kept looking at me in disbelief. Then finally, we all broke out into laughter.

“Here’s to new friends, the end of your voyage, and fun in “The Big Apple”. I said as we clinked our glasses.

John and Gloria had plans for the evening, so they wished us a good night and were off. Dar told me that she and Jess had tickets for a farce called ‘One man two Govners’ starring James Cordon. I told them I knew, and also had a ticket. They were super delighted.

We had a snack and caught a cab for the theatre. It was not sold out, so we traded our tickets for three in a row. The play was hilarious. Cordon went non-stop from one bad situation to the next trying to be a man’s-man for two different gentlemen without letting them know that he was servicing them both. The quick-witted antics coupled with some great slap-stick had us belly laughing.

I took control of the after-theatre surprise. After Jess collected a few autographs at the stage door, including James Cordon’s, we were off. Dar and Jess were excited when our cab pulled up to Sardi’s. None of us had been there before but were well aware of it being a hangout for many famous actors and actresses.

The restaurant featured tables covered with white linen and maroon walls covered with framed caricatures of everyone from Gable, Hepburn and Monroe, to James Earl Jones and Bette Midler. I think Jessica was the most impressed. She loved everything about theatre. It was her life’s blood. She had parts in plays from pre-school through high school and acquired a BA in Theatre Arts. She dreams of running her own theatre someday.

The supper menu was smallish, but quite interesting. We decided to split everything. Dar and I started with the usual Bourbon Manhattan cocktail and Jess had her coke. For starters we ordered Duck and Foie Gras Terrine. It was served with petite salad, sherry vinegar, Vidalia onion compote and toasted baguette crotons.

Our second appetizer was Shrimp Sardi sautéed in garlic sauce. For our entrees we split the Steamer Basket, with vegetables and tofu, organic brown rice and soya honey ginger dipping sauce, Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes served with vegetable slaw and smoked piquillo aioli, and finally Steak Tartar which was prepared at our table.

Our server was a young attractive girl. Dar, of course, did her usual smoozing and by the time we were finished with our first appetizer, we knew the young lady’s life history. She was a young actress trying to make ends meet working two part-time waitressing gigs between auditioning for any bit part she could score in any play on or off Broadway.

The restaurant seemed to be at or near capacity. It was fun to do our people watching. In a famous eatery like this, you have to wonder who is here for the food and who is trying to get discovered for their big break. Although my guess was that most of us were out-of-towners just here, so we could say we were here.

It seemed to take hours to finish our repast, as we chatted and kept switching our plates around. It was quite invigorating, to hear about all the interesting things Dar and Jess saw and did on their cruise. I was glad that I came up with my hair-brained idea to surprise them.

We were just about to leave when Jessica let out one of her squeaks. It’s a unique sound she has made ever since she was a little girl when she gets excited.

“What? Said Dar. Why did you squeak?”

Jessica’s eyes grew enormous. She was looking across the room to the far wall. There were several people being seated in a private booth in the corner.

“Oh my god, oh my God, oh my God.” Said Jess holding her hand over her mouth and gasping for air.

Trying not to lose it altogether, she held her cloth napkin to her face and whispered.

“It’s Angela Lansbury and Candice Bergen. We are in the same room with Angela Lansbury and Candace Bergen. What do we do?”

This was quite an epiphany for the gal who is always telling us to keep our cool around celebrities. I almost spit out the gulp of water I had in my mouth. The iconic actresses were idolized by my daughter, but what could we do? A person can’t just walk up to them during dinner and ask for an autograph. It was obvious they wanted some privacy and a meal after their performance. They were appearing in “The Best Man” playing at the Majestic down the street.

So, Jessica did the next best thing. Click, click, click. Her smartphone camera took some rapid-fire pix. Then she quickly changed places with me, so I could take some snaps with her in the foreground and the two actresses over her shoulder. She could proudly tell people she was photo-bombed by them.

“I guess that will have to do”. She said as we got up and left the restaurant.

We were exhausted when we returned to the hotel. My room was a single, so Jess moved her stuff in there and I moved in with Dar. We hadn’t made any plans for tomorrow. It was Jessica’s last day, so we decided to meet for breakfast and see what we could come up with in the morning.

*****

A Bus, a Train, and a Cyclone

Breakfast was included in the club room on the18th floor. We met up at about 9:00. There was a wonderful buffet with all things breakfasty and brunchy. We were seated and served fresh juice and coffee and then headed for the spread of eggs, scrambled or made to order, sausage, bacon, biscuits and gravy, fruit, yogurt, hot oatmeal and cereals. Yummers!

We came up with several ideas for the day. It came down to, a 4 or 2-hour bus tour, MOMA, shopping, or my suggestion, Nathans hot dogs and Coney Island. I taunted them with the ace I had up my sleeve. I said that if we do Coney Island, I will treat them to a very special dinner and a surprise. They didn’t know that we had 7:00 dinner reservations at Peter Luger’s steakhouse. It worked, kind of.

We decided on shopping, a 2-hour tour bus, and then Nathans and Coney Island. Super, we had a plan. The shopping part was not the typical type. There was no Sax 5th avenue, Bloomingdales, or even Macy’s included. Nay, nay. These ladies had a plan. We cabbed it to Chinatown. I was confused. We just had a huge breakfast; how could they be hungry already?

“Why Chinatown?” I asked Dar.

“Purse shopping”. She said.

“Yea, purse shopping dad”. Added Jessica with an attitude.

I knew that most things in America have been made in China for decades, but, really? We are in the shopping Mecca of the free world. Why buy a cheap, crappy purse made in some sweat shop on the other side of the world?

We stopped in front of a Dim Sum eatery. Dar instructed me to basically, take a walk for a half hour, and meet them back at the restaurant later. I did. I walked up the street, down the street, and all around looking in the windows at some of the most disgusting displays of weird foods I’ve ever seen.

Ever see a thousand-year-old egg? It’s brown and fuzzy. What kind of hen lays a brown fuzzy egg, and why is it so frigging old? Then there were the cute little turtles floating around in a barrel. I assumed they were not the type you buy for your grandchild for a pet. Soups on. Oh ya, how about some fresh eel for lunch. Just pick out a live one and, whack. Throw it in with the turtles, add some potatoes and herbs, and viola, eel chowder. Yuck!

Other than that, I passed shop after shop selling stuff. Scarves, umbrellas, moo-moos and, wait a minute, purses. Dar and Jess said they were going purse shopping, but they entered a restaurant. Hmm. I think it’s time to head back and see what’s up.

When I arrived at the restaurant, they were standing outside holding shopping bags. Not to-go boxes of food.

“Hi honey, you’re right on time. Enjoy your stroll?” She said.

“Sure, what’s in the bag?” I said.

“Purses, and I also bought you a new wallet?” Said Dar.

“Great; and where did you get them?” I asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Why don’t I let your daughter explain.” She said

“I turned to Jessica.

“Okay, daughter, please relieve me of my quandary.”

Jessica explained to me that a friend of hers knew of this place. It is a restaurant, but, much more. If you ask to speak to the “manager”, he will take you through the restaurant to a private room in the back that is filled with authentic Coach purses and handbacks for unbelievable prices. But you, of course, are not allowed to question where they came from.

I asked to see their stash. They had each bought two purses for a fraction of the real cost. Not that I can tell the difference, but they had what looked like to me the “C” logo on them.

“Okay. What’s next? Do we need to learn any more code words for your next caper Maw?” I asked.

Dar and Jess broke into laughter. They were done shopping but wanted to drop their ill-gotten booty back at the hotel before taking the bus tour, so, back we went.

*****

There were several tours to choose from. We decided on a double-deck hop-on-hop-off. It didn’t have a time restriction, so we felt it was ideal. We caught the bus a block north of our hotel.

The weather was perfect for early august. About 75 with low humidity, and the sky was cloudless. We took some seats on the top level all the way in the back. Jessica was hilarious. She has a great, but sometimes weird sense of humor. She does this upper mid-western Minnesotan accent that sounds like a one-room school marm from the turn of the century. She would say things like.

“Oh boy get a look at all the people in suits would ya, and holy crap that’s the dern tallest building ah ever seen, fer cripes sake.” She went on and on until people started turning around to see what kind of country hick was sitting behind them, and where the loud laughter was coming from. Too much fun.

There were speakers up top. The tour guide’s voice reminded me of Ben Stein from Ferris Bueller’s day off. Can you say monotone. Although, I must say, he seemed to know his stuff. We were familiar with most of the sites. Times Square, Rockefeller Center the Empire State Building were all on the list. One building that caught my interest was the Flat Iron Building. Our tour guide really liked this building. He pulled up alongside of it and gave his spiel.

The distinctive triangular shape of the Flatiron Building, designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham and built in 1902, allowed it to fill the wedge-shaped property located at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway. The building was intended to serve as offices for the George A. Fuller Company, a major Chicago contracting firm. At 22 stories and 307 feet, the Flatiron was never the city’s tallest building, but always one of its most dramatic-looking, and its popularity with photographers and artists has made it an enduring symbol of New York for more than a century.

Ain’t Google great.

The thing we really wanted to spend time at was the Freedom Tower. Dar and I visited the city in 2003 when the area was still being cleared. It was a support thing. We fell in love with New Yorkers. When we brought 911 up in conversations with the locals, they flooded us with their personal experiences. Sometimes I felt as if it was a therapy session. One can only imagine the horror some of them went through. It was quite moving, but at the same time I felt pride in my chest. We don’t back down. We rebuild and move on.

*****

The third part of our NYC one-day experience was one I had always looked forward to. I was ready to devour a famous Nathan’s hot-dog, stroll along the boardwalk, and do whatever else the Brighton Beach area had to offer.

As a north-side Chicagoan, I grew up 6 blocks from an iconic amusement park. For a nickel; free on Charlie Weber Day, the local Alderman, you could enjoy a warm-summer, school free day, with your best friends screaming at the top of your lungs.

Riverview was 2-square miles of a dozen roller coasters, gigantic carousel, thirty car Tilt-A-Whirl, Chutes-the-Chutes water-slide boat, Aladdin’s Castle fun house, Bubble Bounce, Paratrooper, Penny Arcade, Pic-Nic Gardens, 200-foot parachute drop and much, much more. I was an experienced roller-coaster-coaster.

We did the subway this time. Public transportation was no big deal to us. We’re big city people and use it all the time when traveling.  The ride on the “Q” train took about 45 minutes to the end of the line, which was just across the street from the beach. I stretched my neck to see over the embarking passengers. Nathan’s Hotdogs was staring me right in the face. I was famished. So were the ladies.

Nathans was an outdoor eatery. Several order and pick-up windows faced the street and to the right was an area with a couple dozen tables with benches. I stood in line while Dar and Jess grabbed a table. Three dogs with mustard and raw onions, one chili dog to split, a small fry, small onion rings, a chocolate malt for mom and two root beers. Let’s eat! No wonder we are robust, full-bodied individuals.

Dar, as usual, struck up a conversation with the folks at the table next to us. They looked east Indian. Mom, dad and a five or six-year-old boy. Dar watched the boy take a big hotdog bite. She winked at him and gave him a thumbs up. The lad thumbed-up her back.

They were native New Yorkers enjoying a warm summer day at the beach. Dar told them that this was our first time to Coney Island and asked them what we should do. The young lad, Myunk, loved the Ferris wheel and mom suggested a stroll along the boardwalk. I think dad was just glad to be away from the city.

It’s nice to get the inside scoop from the locals, but they were no help. I had my mind set on something else. Something more exciting. The Cyclone was a wooden roller coaster built in 1927. In my book, it’s what you do at Coney Island.

Now, I must tell you that it had been years since I rode a roller coaster, but the Cyclone was rather tame. The first hill was on the low side and there were no twists or 360’s like the modern toss-and-barfs. I felt I could handle the old girl.

We needed to walk off our, burp, lunch before risking any un-wanted events on the rides, so we strolled along the boardwalk for a bit. We shed our shoes and socks, so we could dip our toes in the Atlantic. Yikes, does this ever warm up? It was August and the water temperature was in the low 60’s.  Unlike the warm Pacific that Jessica had become used to.

The boardwalk was adjacent to the beach, so we dried our feet, put our shoes back on, and headed for the amusement park. Dar was not interested in riding anything rougher than the merry-go-round, so we took a spin. Dar and I rode in a stationary sleigh next to Jessica’s wild stallion. Not really my speed, but it was okay.

The arcade was entertaining. It was ancient, with Swami the robot fortune teller, skee-ball and pinball machines. It even had an arm-wrestling challenge. I almost threw my shoulder out trying to show off my machoism.

After an hour or so I felt ready for the Cyclone. It stood in front of the park like an old friend beckoning all to take a thrill ride. I watched a couple carloads go through the course. It didn’t look too bad. It was a wooden coaster that got up to 60 miles per hour and the ride lasted about two minutes. The perfect old goat coaster.

Jess decided to join me, while Dar would snap some pix. The line was short. It was a weekday afternoon so the crowd was small. We boarded after about a ten-minute wait.

The last roller-coaster I rode was the Batman at Six-Flags Great America in Gurnee Illinois about 20 years ago. It ended my riding career. I was strapped in with my feet dangling. It started with a sling-shot that took me through 90 seconds of 360 clockwise and counter-clockwise twist and turns that rattled my brain. I felt queezy and unstable for two days.

I had put some girth on since then. It took everything the attendant had to get me into the harness. I inhaled and told him to push. Snap. I was snuggly secured. Now I just wanted it to get going, I could barely breath. The train slowly started to ascend the first hill. We were in the last car, so we would go the fasted downhill.

I immediately went into my hysterical roller-coaster laugh, as Jessica was doing her high “C” scream. We held up our hands as we took the first hill. It was great for the about 60 seconds. But I was really struggling to breath and my lower back was taking a beating. I closed my eyes to control my anxiety until we finally came to a stop. Jess could see that I was not doing well. She helped me struggle to un-hook my harness.

“Whew. Made it.” I said as I let my belly out and took some deep breaths.

I could feel myself coming back to normal. Jessica still looked worried and asked if I was okay. I looked over and gave her a high-five.

“Nice ride eh peanut”? I said.

She looked at me as we broke into laughter.

Dar got some great snaps. Us holding up our hands screaming down the first hill. Jessica waving and smiling at mom, and me closing my eyes and turning blue. What a ride.

*****

Luger’s

We once again headed back to the hotel. It was about 4:30 when we arrived. Enough time for a short nap and to get cleaned up for our night out at Brooklyn’s best steak house. I didn’t tell Dar and Jess where we were going. They would have googled it and ruined my surprise.

Peter Luger’s Steak House is located in Brooklyn and has been named the best steakhouse in New York City by Zagat Survey for 30 years in a row. Selected, USDA prime short loins of beef are brought to the on-site dry aging facilities at the restaurant. Here they are kept under carefully regulated conditions that are controlled for temperature, humidity and air circulation. Once properly aged, the short loins are butchered, trimmed and brought to the kitchen for broiling. This process ensures that when a steak hits the plate at Peter Luger’s, it’s among the best in the country.

The building was erected in 1887 as Carl Luger’s Café, Billiards and Bowling Alley. Carl was Peter’s nephew, who manned the kitchen. A fellow named Sol Forman had a business across the street and took his clients to Luger’s for lunch. In 1950, when Peter Lugar died, Sol took over the establishment, and to this day only members of the Forman family are allowed to select all the beef served at Peter Luger’s.

The old brick building sits on a corner in the shadow of the Williamsburg bridge. I was lucky to get a reservation. Oh yea, it’s cash only unless you happen to have a Peter Luger’s credit card. Good to know ahead of time.

We arrived at about 6:30. Dar and I always like to have a cocktail before dinner whenever possible. I checked in at the desk and told the Maître D’ that we would be at the bar. He discreetly told me that our other guest was already seated there. Here comes the best gotya of our trip.

I walked in first to block the view of the bar-room and motioned to our son, Adam, who was seated toward the end of the rock-solid mahogany bar. As I backed away Dar locked eyes with Adam.

“Hi mom, how ‘ya doin’” said Adam with a smirk on his face.

“What? Oh my God. Adam. What are you doing here?” Screamed Dar.

Jessica did another high squeak like when she saw Bergen and Lansbury in Sardis. She ran over and gave him a big hug. Adam is four years older than Jess and they hadn’t seen each other since Christmas.

They have always been as close as a brother and sister could be. There was always some trickery and picking at each other, but I wouldn’t want to be the one who said or did something bad to either one of them. They always had each other’s back.

“Damn good to see ya Bro”. Said Jessica.

“Back at ya Sis”. Said Adam.

I think Dar was still in awe about seeing her baby boy, as she always put it, even though Adam stood 6’4” and had shoulders as wide as a doorway. She, of course, also gave him a hug and kiss.

As soon as I decided to join them in New York, I contacted Adam. He was thrilled to fly out for a couple days. He was single and sharing an apartment with one of his high school buddies in Chicago. Just living the dream of a young man in, as Carl Sanberg put it, “The City with Big Shoulders”.

Our table was ready, so we decided to have cocktails and appetizers in the dining room. It was old-school. Dark paneled walls with large double-hung windows, wooden tables with burgundy straight-back leather chairs with gold tacks up the edges, white dinner plates and sturdy flatware with large steak knives. The perfect environment for two-martini businessman lunches.

We started with Luger’s extra thick sizzling bacon. It was served on a white dinner plate. What could be better than bacon. Everything we ordered was family-style. Our second course was huge, firm tomato and Mozzarella cheese slices with Luger sauce. I could sense basil and oregano but couldn’t identify what gave it the extra kick. It was scrumptious.

I couldn’t hold back the good emotions I was feeling, so, I proposed a toast.

“Here’s to my family, our love for each other, and the blessings God has bestowed upon us.” I said as I raised my glass.

We clinked and voiced, “Here’s to us”.

We were totally stoked for the main course. We shared everything: Family Selected Dry Aged Steak for four. Creamed Spinach and Fresh Broccoli, each order served two people, and Luger’s German Fried potatoes for two.

I also sprung for a nice bottle of Chianti, as suggested by our waiter. It was heavenly. This family does not hold back at dinner time. I can’t remember when we had more fun, at least, as adults.

We had always tried to do at least a two week vacation every year. Traveling was in our blood. Whether it was our time-share in Orlando, local trips to Door County, or the Wisconsin Dells or our three-week tour of London and Bavaria, we cherished our time together. This was no different.

We just had this one evening, so it was non-stop yacking. We went on for a couple hours. By the time the dessert tray came around it was nine o’clock. We had polished off two bottles of wine and had one of the finest meals ever.  But we weren’t through yet.

Jess and I ordered a Luger hot-fudge sundae, Dar had key lime pie and Adam went for a New York strawberry cheese cake. We once again split everything but ended up taking parts of the pie and cheesecake to go, along with some of the entrees. What fun we had.

During the ride back, we decided to make one more stop. Our cabbie dropped us as close to the Freedom tower as possible. We did not go up but stood around the gigantic water memorial. It was stunning at night and quit moving. We tossed our coins into the pool wishing for the peace that never seems to come. It was hard to believe that such a beautiful, calm place was once the scene of that horrific event. It was a perfect way to end our journey.

*****

We met once again at 9:00 for breakfast. Jessica had two double beds in her room, so Adam crashed with her. They looked pretty beat, probably because they stayed up watching movies and talking until the wee hours. That’s what caring brothers and sisters do.

Jess and Adam had early afternoon flights from JFK airport. Adam was flying into Chicago’s Midway and Jess into LAX. I found a seat on Dar’s flight from LaGuardia to Milwaukee. It was finally time to go home.

After breakfast we all packed up, checked out, and met in the hotel lobby. Dar thanked Jessica over and over for her wonderful cruise and gave Adam another big hug for joining us last night, as did I. We weren’t sure when we would all be together again, but, as always would stay in touch via texting, skyping and Facebook.

Dar and I arrived a good two hours early for our flight. I wanted to try to get two seats together. It worked. We got assigned to G1 and G2, an aisle and middle seat. Boarding was easy for me, I just had a carry-on, but Dar, not so much. She checked two large suitcases and carried on her purse and a small case loaded with all the goodies she had purchased.

We were glad to be heading home. Dar grasped my hand as always during take-off. In just a few hours we would be putting our feet up in our comfy recliners. I suggested ordering Ned’s Pizza with some hot-wings. Dar agreed.

As we levelled off, I began to snicker as I remembered all the mis-haps during our trip. All the trouble Dar went through to trick me during my train ride was incredible. Then it became a “gotya” contest for the rest of the way. I reminded her of the fake Drew Cary show and she laughed out loud trying to relive the racoon incident in Yosemite, and us falling into Randolph Hearst’s swimming pool.

I still couldn’t believe I met my favorite pro golfer at Pebble Beach, and even though the crash on the Golden Gate Bridge was scary, we’ll always think of it as part of the adventure.

We finally sat back and relaxed. I ordered a couple double scotches as we once again clinked and toasted to our good fortune. I took my first sip and closed my eyes, but my rest was interrupted by an announcement.

“Hello, this is the Caption. I’d like to welcome you all aboard Flight 949 non-stop to Chicago’s Midway Airport. Normally we would be landing in about 1 hour and 45 minutes, but we are having a minor technical issue with our instrument panel. We are in absolutely no danger, but I regret to inform you that we have been diverted and will be landing in Toronto Canada. We will need to deplane and off-load all the baggage. The flight attendants will assist you in booking new flights to Midway.”

Dar grabbed my hand and said,” Why do these things keep happening to us”?

“I don’t know honey? I said. I guess we just have to go with the flow.”

 

The End

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