An Emergency Trip to Texas
I flew into Texas, last Friday evening, for a last minute, unexpected, have-to-get-home-now kind of trip. The last and only time I’ve ever had to do a trip like that was for one of the worst reasons you could dream up- my Dad was in the hospital and the doctors were issuing a prepare- for-the-worst type of news.
I bought a last minute, one way ticket to Texas not knowing what to expect and when I might return back to Colorado where I had made my new home. It was a very bad trip, made worse by losing my Dad- something I thought was not possible and now knew the truth: my family of four, which I thought was forever, was now one less.
This time, though, was for a different reason. It was a need-to-get-home-now trip because the news was something that was worth sharing in person and not on the phone to my family. It was important to me to be there because they are so important to me and worth the scheming and planning to pull it all off.
I booked the cheapest flight for a less than 48 hour trip and nervously called my best friend of 35-ish years. “Could you pick me up from the airport? I’m coming home and I wanted to surprise my family.” It wasn’t a lie, but it wasn’t a complete truth a far as the full story goes. I held my breath as I waited for her to zero in on the strangeness of my request and start asking questions. I was afraid she would ask why and I needed to keep this news under wraps until I could tell my family first. My Mom, sister and my best friend are the most intuitive people I know and a one question interrogation would ruin everything because I would give under the pressure.
As luck would have it, my best friend’s plans for that Friday night were cancelled right before I called and she instantly agreed to pick me up. The conversation was then filled with the details of when and where with no probing questions. Was it fate? A cheap, perfectly timed trip, a ride from the airport from my best friend who just happened to have a cancellation in her plans right before I called?! Did I mention she has three very busy kids?!
Next, was to keep an I-don’t-have-big-news tone to my voice, for TWO WEEKS, whenever I talked to my Mom and Sister. No easy task, let me tell you. I think mothers and big sisters are born with intuition that can key in on the slightest, tiniest, most insignificant difference in a family member’s voice and, in a hot second, make short work of prying it right out of them. I didn’t stand a chance against the master detectives and interrogators, also known as Mother Bear and Sister Pit Bull.
Now for the plan once I arrived home. Home has always been a place where everyone comes through the back door which opened into a warm and welcoming kitchen. In my parent’s house, the front door was there for looks and was never used. I didn’t want to scare my mom, sister and her very large, normally sweet, but protective beast of a dog, by coming through or knocking on the back door unannounced. My sister’s dog knows his Aunt Poopsie (don’t ask, my family nicknames everything to death in a way that will win you over by being so charming that you have no choice but to agree to be called something that makes the word “poop” sound cute) and would eventually realize it’s me before treating me as a chew toy.
The front door seemed so wrong though…it brought back really bad memories of the only time I ever snuck out and failed to map out the crucial last part of my grand plan which should’ve been titled “My Little 8th Grade Boyfriend Thought I Wouldn’t/Couldn’t/Was Too Afraid To Sneak Out So I Must Show Him He’s Wrong.” I forgot to plan on how I was going to get back into the second story window of my parent’s house. The only reason I had snuck out in the first place was to prove a boy wrong and formed a plan that stopped at the point where I banged on his window and said a big, fat “HA HA!” before turning around and running a couple of miles home. After trying to climb back onto the roof, I gave up and rang the front doorbell, where I then had to explain to my shocked Mom and Dad what had happened. The next day, when I told my Camp Fire group what I had done, they all sat in appalled silence- had I not learned anything since the 5th grade? What were all those Camp Fire skills for, if not to get a girl back into the second story bedroom window of a house she snuck out of?! They looked on in disappointment in my lack of resourcefulness and I was shamed (and grounded) into never doing it again.
So, for better or worse, and if the plan went off without a hitch, I decided I would to go to the front door, ring the doorbell and share the good news of the sudden fork in the road that I decided to take and the person I would do it with…