I flew to Tallahassee (my first flight since the Pandemic) to see my son Chris, daughter-in-law Courtney and new grandson Liam last week. My flight landed half an hour early, so I texted them and they left to pick me up.
On the way to the airport, a car careened by them, went off an embankment and crashed into a tree. They stopped to help the person inside, an elderly lady with her dog on the way to the vet. She’d hit her head on the steering wheel and was in pretty bad shape so Courtney (a nurse) stayed with her until the ambulance came. When they finally picked me up, I heard the whole story, obviously something they hadn’t expected on a routine drive to the airport. Then they started talking about a house they rented and how they had to pay extra for Maggie (their dog).
“What house?” I asked.
“In St. George’s Island,” Chris said. “We rented it for the weekend. Is that okay?”
It took my brain a while to process it. I had imagined the next five days, huddled up in their cozy house with the baby, taking walks in their leafy neighborhood and making Beef Bourguignon for dinner. Now, my thoughts turned to a lofty Beach house, walks on the white, sandy beach by the water and dinners of fresh oysters and seafood. St. George’s Island, on the Forgotten Coast of Florida, is where they got married and is a special place to them both.
“Yes,” I said. “That’s fine.”
Because if 2020 taught me anything, it’s to be ready for the unexpected. Even besides the Pandemic, there were things that happened regarding my own family, that caught me totally off-guard. I guess I thought 2021 would be different, but it keeps surprising me.
Like the TV show Big Sky (don’t keep reading if you haven’t seen it) where the main character, a police officer played by Ryan Phillippe, gets shot to death by the Sheriff in the front seat of his truck. Didn’t see that coming.
Or the book for my Book Club, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, where the main character Renee (don’t keep reading if you want to read it) gets hit by a dry cleaning truck at the very end of the book. Didn’t see that coming.
Or the insurrection at the Capitol by an angry mob (although I should have seen that one coming) and subsequent impeachment of the sitting President with less than 10 days left in his Presidency. Didn’t see that one coming either. Whew!
2021, so far, has been full of surprises.
Some good ones too. A screenplay I wrote with my sister Kelley twenty years ago, The Sweet Spot, was performed by a Writers and Actors Group (WAG) in New York recently. It was very cool to hear words I wrote for characters actually come to life. And an article I wrote about the future of Miracle Mile will be featured in the February issue of Coral Gables Magazine.
Also, Chris and Courtney, who swore they’d never return to Miami, are moving back in a couple weeks (albeit temporarily) so Courtney can take a traveling nursing position. They will be near her sister, aunt, cousins, great grandmother and me, his Gigi (not beloved yet, but hopefully soon to be). So, surprises, all. How we deal with the unexpected twists and turns life presents says a lot about a person, I believe. Do we handle them gracefully or rail against them with our last breath?
I think about my Aunt Josie and how she lived to be 99. People who survive to an old age are usually those who are mentally most resilient. She lived through seeing her husband leave her and get divorced, watching all her sisters (and many friends) die before her and just, life in general.
The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.Robert Jordan
When we were in St. George’s, we had very little provisions since we had the baby, dog, crate, luggage etc… and not much room for anything else. I went to make my normal egg and toast for breakfast, but faced with no toast, I pivoted and used crushed up Saltines in my scrambled egg, similar to Matzo Brei. The crackers (bought for the wild oysters we ate the night before) added an unexpected crunch and texture to the scrambled eggs. So it was a welcome surprise and made me want to try the real recipe for Matzo Brei. So…
Up Next: Matzo Brei.