I’ve been told many times that I should write a book. That’s likely never going to happen in the traditional form, not because I don’t have stories to tell…..you can’t be married for almost 35 years and raise nine children and not have a few good stories!! But I wouldn’t know where to start or how to keep it short.
But there are a few events in our journey that definitely have been memorable……like our trip to Greece.
We’d been married just a couple months shy of 4 years. In those four short years we were working out the kinks of being married, had suffered through the pain of a stillbirth, the joy of welcoming a daughter, and Glenn was learning to be ‘Dad’ to my son who was six years old when we got married.
We decided we would take a trip to Israel. We wanted to see in person some of the sites and places we had read about so often in our Bibles. We found an organized tour through 100 Huntley Street, which included nine days in Israel and five days in Greece.
Now anyone who knows me, knows that travelling abroad is just not my thing. To say that flying terrifies me, would be a huge understatement! But I figured if I was going to risk life and limb, this would be a trip worthy of the inevitable angst I would experience. It didn’t help that we were leaving our two children at home, Jeremy was ten and Stephanie only a year and a half. Oh, and I was also six months pregnant with our son Joel. But off we went…
Israel was amazing, though incredibly hot…..especially being pregnant. Unfortunately, much of it is a blur as it is nearly impossible to absorb all the information, history, and key events related to the whirlwind of places we visited, all in one trip. But we made it through the nine days, walked, I’m sure, hundreds of miles, and spent just as many dollars in phone calls, calling my mom who was staying with the kids. But by the time the nine days were over, I was done!! I missed my kids and I cried all the way from Israel to Greece, and all I could think was, “I am on the wrong freaking plane!!!” I wanted to go home!
We landed in Greece, boarded the bus with the rest of our tour group and headed for the Parthenon. I’m sure it was impressive, but I didn’t care. It was later afternoon when we boarded the bus again and headed for our hotel.
I don’t remember getting ready to go down for dinner…….my next recall is finding myself sitting down for our meal with two of the more elderly ladies from our group, at our table for four. It was Friday evening and our first time chatting with these two lovely ladies. I do remember that I had worked hard to stop the flow of tears before arriving for dinner and was determined to make the most of the evening.
Invariably, the conversation began and it wasn’t long before these ladies were asking about our lives. They asked Glenn if we had any children. I gulped and tried to deep breathe, repeatedly telling myself internally, “It’s okay, everything is okay, don’t cry. Glenn explained that we had a ten year old and little girl that was under two being well taken care of by grandma while we were gone. Then one of the ladies (I never did remember their names), but I do remember she was the one on the right, turned to me with much sympathy and concern, looking right into my eyes and said…. “You must really be missing them…”
There was no turning back, no dam that could have held back the tears that began to flow, and I sobbed out my answer, “Yes, I really do….”
Dinner was over. I don’t even know if I ate. We went back to our room and went to sleep…….well, Glenn went to sleep. Not me!!! I lay awake waiting for the morning light. I’m pretty sure Glenn had barely even become conscious before I had him up, begging him to go home.
This was Saturday morning and we weren’t due to fly home til Wednesday. I couldn’t even imagine 4-5 more days. We didn’t have a cell phone in those days, so knowing that his life would be nothing but misery for the next four days, Glenn (God bless him) reluctantly headed downstairs to find a phone booth and call the airport. Naturally, I was right behind him!
I stood outside the phone booth praying my heart out while he called to see what he could arrange. When he hung up and opened the door of the phone booth, I stood expectantly hoping for the best.
“The next flight out isn’t until Wednesday…” he said, but I could tell by the way he said it, he wasn’t telling me everything. “What EXACTLY did they say, Glenn?” I asked. He kind of squirmed, and hemmed and hawed and then started, “W-e-l-l-l….there is another flight but it leaves this morning at 8:30 (it was now around 7:30 – I should have woke him up at 4:00!!!). “We’ll never make it….” he declared.
We may have only been married four years, but it was long enough that he knew I was never going down without a fight. I mean, how do you know if you don’t try, right??? So, with resignation in his face, he listened as I begged “Let’s just try!! We’ll pack our bags and go to the airport and if we miss the flight we’ll just come back!”
I don’t think I’ve ever packed so fast!!!! We flew out the door and hailed a cab. We told the driver we wanted to go to the airport and he replied something in greek which we did not understand. We just kept saying airport and nodding our heads, yes! He spoke no English, we knew no greek….but off we went!!
NOW we know he was probably asking which airport…….we didn’t know there were two!!!! As luck would have it, he took us to the wrong one first!!! I have no idea how he realized that before we left the car, but he did and he got on his radio and called the right airport. I have NO idea what he told them, but when we pulled up to the airport doors, every staff member was standing along the path to the boarding gate waving us through and telling us to hurry. They never made us go through customs, never stopped us to pay the fee to change our travel date, never even looked to see if we had passports, but frantically just kept moving us forward. When we boarded the plane, everyone else was already seated and looking irritated, even border-line angry. I don’t know who that cab driver told them we were, but they had held the plane on the tarmac for almost half an hour to wait for us to board!!! I didn’t care if two hundred other passengers were ticked at us, I was going home!!!!
When Glenn tells people we’ve been to Greece, he says he saw the Parthenon and the airport!!!
HE can go back some day….