We left at 9:15, and as it turns out, it was a good thing.
- Mom's knees set off the alarm.
- Mom's carry on bag was "seized."
- My carry on bag was seized as well.
- Mom had too many liquids that couldn't be thrown away, so I ran back downstairs and checked that carry on bag.
- When I returned to where they were waiting for me, I said, "Where's my other bag," forgetting that it, too, had been seized.
- The TSA guy was watching me and smiled as I headed back to that area. "I couldn't check your bag without you here."
He proceeded to open it, and rummaging through it, swabbed things with that little cloth, and then stuck it in the machine for analysis. It returned positive (or negative, whichever one isn't good).
"What is that thing checking for?" I asked.
"Explosives," he said.
After looking thoroughly through everything in it again, he repeated the process, and then said, "Since it set off the alarm, I'll have to pat you down." I briefly assessed as to whether he could handle, "Oh no problem, since I'm gay that's a real treat for me." I decided against it.
- In spite of all that, we got to the gate with a little less than an hour to spare. At about 11:15, it was announced that there was a "maintenance problem" with our 11:30 flight. "We think it's a problem with the brakes. Unfortunately, it's going to be at least an hour before the brake guy can get here. And if when he gets here, it's the brake pads like we think it is, it will probably be another hour-and-a-half before they're changed.
- Shortly after all the moaning and groaning started subsiding, another announcement came on, "All passengers flying to Rochester and Providence, please proceed to Gate 29, where we'll put you on a flight to Philadelphia, from where you can make connections to Rochester and Providence."
We took advantage of a layover in Philly to have a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich, and we were not disappointed. Yum, yum, yum!
Our flight from Philadelphia to Providence was uneventful. We didn't have seats together, but we were enough in the general vicinity that we could see each other.
Much to my shock, while we waited to get off the plane (we were all the way to the back) Mom was able to see the luggage and spotted ours. Amazing. I thought for sure we'd be coming back later to the airport to retrieve it.
Our hotel was just down the road—less than 2 miles—so we stopped by, checked in, did a quick freshen up, and then headed to Aunt Annette's and Uncle Franks.
They had a nice dinner treat waiting for us—two different kinds of sandwiches stuffed with meats made with Portuguese recipes, and a big crock of baked beans with chourico (spicy Portuguese sausage) in it. It was all good.
As soon as we sat down Uncle Frank brought down an 8x10 picture of his daughter, and put it out toward Aunt Annette to show mom. As soon as he handed to her, she said, "Frank, I haven't even mentioned it yet." So cute. It was obvious that he was beaming with pride, and has waited a long time for this to happen.
Before that, mom was telling a story, and when Aunt Annette said, "That's my daughter," mom didn't comprehend it right away. She thought it was one of Uncle Frank's other daughters. Aunt Annette said, "No, it's my daughter, our daughter," indicating Uncle Frank.
"She don't even look like you," my mother said.
"Well she is mine," Annette answered, and then mom picked up where she'd left off with her story.
"Oh boy," I thought. I, of course, wanted the same reaction I had a year ago, "How wonderful!"
Fortunately, on the next breath, Aunt Annette returned to the subject of Lisa, telling mom and dad about her, and the more she talked the more it began to sink in to my mom that she wasn't kidding. She told me later that she just didn't believe it at first; she thought Annette was joking.
I did have to give my mom a break. It reminded me of my coming out, and how impatient I was with her and my dad to "get it." Then, I thought, "I've been thinking about this for 35 years—it took me that long to process it—I can't expect them to get their minds around this overnight, or even in a week, or a year, even."
So, finding out your baby sister had a baby 47 years ago, and thinking of her as childless for 47 years would take a little processing.
The night proceeded with lots of sharing of pictures and catching up on the stories and circumstances of many years of living in the Lachapelle family.
Mom on the Left, Aunt Annette on the Right
Dad Makes a Point
We headed back to the hotel at about 11:00, tired from a long day of traveling and from the emotional rush of the evening.
Dad was freezing when we got home, and they actually turned on the heat in their room. I was never so glad to have my own room as I opened my door and entered man's natural habitat—the air conditioner set at 69°.
Life is good.