Things Get Better in Cleveland

Dinner at Davids

October 8, Southwest Flight 1698, aisle seat 

One of the complicators attached to this trip has always been the ASJA regional conference and board meeting taking place this week in San Francisco, where I simply have to be. No problem, or not much of one, had we left the first week of September as we planned. As our departure date slid precipitously, I began pressing Bill: Where should I book my flight from?

We discussed options. We could drive to San Francisco and he could wait for me with our cats in a campground somewhere near town. Or I should book a flight from SeaTac, and we would make sure to get there. As the delay lengthened and this seemed less possible, we formed a backup plan: We would drive as far as Denver, I’d fly to the conference from there and Bill would stay and visit our various friends there.

But as our departure delayed some more even this plan seemed impossible. What to do? Though he knew it didn’t make sense, Bill was getting resentful of the San Francisco trip and the way it was tangling up with our plans. And so I decided to let it go. I would wait till the last minute and book from wherever we were.

By the time we finally pulled onto I-90 on October 4 it was clear we wouldn’t make it to Denver in time. Buffalo seemed about right as a place to fly from, but Bill vetoed the idea of sitting and waiting for me there. (He says he feels about Buffalo much as W.C. Fields felt about Philadelphia.) So we pressed on to Cleveland, arriving after midnight at an RV camp inside an over-55 trailer community where we couldn’t get the electric hookup to work the first night.

But then things started to look better, thanks to the wonderful community of ASJA friends. David Budin came to our RV park, picked us up, ferried us to a car rental place where we got a cheap car for the week, and then back to his place for a delicious meal of pasta with tomatoes, peppers, artichoke hearts and olives that he whipped up from what he had on hand. (Who knew—he’s a professional chef besides being a professional writer and rock musician.) Mary Mihaly and Christopher Johnston, two other Cleveland ASJAns joined us. There was wine, laughter, much storytelling about rock stars past and present, wine, ice cream with raspberries, and guitar playing. Also, I got to do some badly needed laundry.

Ahh, a home-cooked meal–a phenomenally good one–after days of making do with convenience store sandwiches for dinner. Good company, good conversation, and a respite from the frustrations of on-the-road life.

And much though I hate leaving things to work themselves out, they did. First thing the next morning Bill dropped me at the airport and I boarded this flight to San Francisco. And here I sit, looking down on the territory we’ll later be driving across. And I’m impressed, and daunted, all over again.

(In the photo, that’s David standing, Mary and Christopher seated near the camera, and me with my glass in the air.)

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