Thursday Tidbits

Posted on June 6, 2019 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet

Notre Dame Cathedral

Sometimes, it’s good to be lucky.

I would consider myself a reasonably seasoned traveler. If you decide to leave the comfort of your lazy boy and go see a bit of the world that extends beyond your personal and geographical borders, you need to be prepared for anything,

By and large my travels have gone smoothly other than my fiasco with an expired visa in India! Having the right mindset before leaving home is important and being adaptable is essential.

A few days ago, I was preparing to fly from Biarritz, France to Paris. I had booked the plane ticket several days in advance and had trouble checking in on line. At first, I thought it was my well known ineptness with technology but a number of other people tried to help me and I simply couldn’t check in.

On the day of the flight, I thought it would be a good idea to go to the airport early in the morning, a mere 15 minute bus ride, to see if I could get my ticket and boarding pass. Because the flight was several hours later there was no one at my airline counter. The airline is called Easyjet.

I came back two hours before flight time. When I got to the counter, I was informed that the flight was overbooked and because I hadn’t checked in on line, I was now considered standby. The pleasant agent told me to come back at noon, 40 minutes before departure .

In my mind, I was already starting to formulate a story called “ Sleazyjet”.

As I awaited my fate, I did what any traveler would do. I went to the cafe and ordered a slice of flan and cafe au lait. I sat outside the terminal for a half an hour formulating a “Plan B”. If I got bumped from my flight I would have to wait until midnight for the next Easyjet flight.

I figured I would just go back into Biarritz and lie on the beach for the afternoon listening to the waves crash, smelling the salt air and watching the lovely scenery. I would have supper, have a few drinks and go back to the airport. This was decidedly not the worst thing a stranded traveler would have to endure

As instructed, I returned to the check in counter at noon. Of course, I was the only passenger left as the flight was starting to board. With lightning speed, the agent gave me a boarding pass. She told me that my knapsack would be shipped ahead at no charge relieving me of the burden of lugging it through a crowded plane. I was left with nothing but my 32 ounce daypack. She then personally escorted me to a private security check in, bypassing a staggeringly long lineup. The entire process took less than 5 minutes.

One thing have learned in my travels is that when you see the herd amassing, pawing at the ground to get on a plane, bus or train, go immediately to the back of the line and chill out. The people in first class will arrive at the same time as the commoners. Why get pushed and shoved , getting yourself into a lather.

I hadn’t even looked at my boarding pass and now discovered that I was in row 4 at the very front of a large aircraft ,ensuring a quick exit when the plane landed. And wouldn’t you know. I occupied the middle seat in a row of three and the person with the window seat was a no show affording me tons of room.

I would be lying if I said I was disappointed to get on the flight but a part of me wonders what might have transpired if Plan B had become a reality.

Have a great weekend.

P.S. Thanks to Shelley and Andre for hosting a Camino pilgrim!

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on June 2, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with 4 comments

Coimbra, Portugal

“Winter, spring, summer or fall,
All you got to do is call,
And I’ll be there,
You’ve got a friend.”
You’ve Got a Friend. Carole King

My high school English teacher opined on more than one occasion about friendship.She said that when we’re in the late innings of life, we will likely be able to count true friends on the digits of one hand.

As we age, we tend to lose more friends than we gain. I’m not suggesting that we’re all turning into curmudgeons in our golden years. Aging, illness and death can shrink our world.

I may be an exception to the rule. I am lucky that I meet people easily, always looking for an interesting story. In the last year alone, I have met literally hundreds of new folks that I now call friends.

My work doing music at a nursing home has garnered me some of the sweetest new pals. I jokingly say that all my girlfriends are north of ninety. When I add in staff, the number is in the hundreds.

Many seniors battle loneliness.This is not just the realm of the old. Many young people suffer in silence with few people in whom they can confide.

I actually believe that loneliness is a silent killer. I haven’t studied this phenomenon but I’m sure people much more learned than me have and have concluded that nurturing friends and relationships throughout life triggers chemical reactions in the brain making us healthier and happier people.

I am still blessed to have friends from high school. We are planning our 50th reunion next year.

My recently completed Camino journey produced many blisters and several new, remarkable friends.

Of course, among my best friends are my seven siblings, my wife, children and grandchildren. These people are loyal through thick and thin. Everyone should be so lucky to have a large extended family.

I am consciously grateful of my good fortune.

I hate to say that my long departed English teacher was wrong (god forbid!) but for me my crop of friends continues to grow.

The yield of happiness is incalculable.

Have a great week.

P.S. Travel day tomorrow so posting this on Sunday. It almost sounds like a Sunday sermon!

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