Tag Archives: Travel

FedEx And The Christmas Miracle!

15 Jan
Dear Readers,
I am off and running!
After three unsuccessful attempts for FedEx to deliver a package to my home (signature required, damn it) I had no choice but to go off and find the FedEx holding facility in Richfield, OH. Given today was the last day FedEx would hold on to my package before the dreaded back to sender.  So off I drove to the FedEx holding faculty, which come to find out is 31 miles from my home.
I was under a time crunch because I had a million and one things to do before leaving for a funeral in Detroit. Uncle Bill had a timely departure, he was well into his 80’s with some health issues but with all that said it was still somewhat untimely for me.
I had MapQuest directions, printed them up and now they lay on the seat next to me. Before leaving my garage I had in-put the address into my car’s GPS, confidently I drove out of my driveway. For those who know me, directions and confidence should never be in the same sentence.
While driving I must confess I was complaining to myself about how inefficient I thought FedEx was at this very moment. I was whining about all the things I had to do and this whole process just seemed ridiculous. They can send a man/woman to the moon but FedEx can’t figure out how to deliver a package when no one is home. You know what I’m talking about; you all have done the same thing a million times before. In the process of doing something, the playlist playing in your head is a list of complaints, injustices and annoyances, making new wave music sound mellow.
I took a moment to notice….
Today the sun was actually shining in Cleveland (a miracle); a chilly 26 degrees while ordering myself to stop complaining. Purposely reshuffling the playlist in my head and created a complete new list of music one of enjoyment, to help create a more joyful moment. I started to have fun wondering what layed ahead of me, who was going to cross my path and add something positive to my life…
AND…it happened…
The First Miracle: I didn’t get lost! This goes down in the history books! 
The Second Miracle: once inside the huge FedEx building, (which by the way, the street address is my son’s name) the appropriate person went to retrieve my package from the holding room (no mishaps). While waiting for my package I had the most interesting conversation with a gentleman name Abraham. A slender man with kind eyes and a smile that I still can see in my mind’s eye even seven hours later.
He said to me “All is good, I’m going home.”
I responded, you’re a lucky man, going home makes you happy, there are many who cannot say the same thing.
Being a little curious I asked, what are your days like if you work all night.
He said, “today I will take a nap then I’m going to play the ponies.”
Now this is where the conversation got interesting…
He said, “The ponies have done me well. As soon as I’m $60 up I go home. But the young guys don’t play the ponies because it takes patience and some figuring out.” He said, “The young guys do not know how to figure things out anymore.” He continued, “kids will do what is asked but nothing more and if things do not go exactly as planed, they can’t figure it out.”
His wife he said (a retired educator) feels the kids today are in an awful way. Parents over-schedule, prevents struggles/consequences and over empowers children at an early age by handing over control/decisions. He said in his church they now pray for parents as well as children.
We walked out together into the parking lot, sun still shinning, package now under my arm. Thrilled for my adventure to FedEx and for my meeting with Abraham… We bid each other goodbye and as I glanced back to see Abraham one more time (squinting in the sun) I wished him good luck, and with a smile on his face he waved his final goodbye!
The Third Miracle: As I traveled to my family function in Detroit, again I’m off and running, and in a moment of peace, it accrued to me, by the time my son gets this package, a late xmas gift for one reason or another (certainly not planned this way) it will be January 6, the 12th day of Christmas when the Three Wise Men arrived in Bethlehem and presented their gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh (FedEx package) to Jesus.
January 6 – the Epiphany – Epiphany is derived from the Greek epiphaneia and means manifestation or to appear. In a religious context, the term describes the appearance of an invisible divine being in a visible form. – University of Kansas Medical Center, Diversity Calendar
I now feel this was no mishap or inefficient process or behind the times technology by FedEx…Having to travel to the FedEx storage facility with the street address the same name as my son (especially me traveling) …. was a true Christmas miracle! I had been waiting for this moment since the holidays began…My Christmas miracle arrived and all I had to do was change my playlist in my head and allow it to happen.
Asklotta and Staff will MIND YOUR BUSINESS today in complete amazement of miracles!
Again, it has been my pleasure to tell you what to do and what NOT to do!
Kindest regards,
President and CEO

Chris, Nairobi and the Grasshopper!

14 Jan
Dear Readers,

Once again I have met the most interesting person in Oklahoma at the Will Rogers Airport.
Let me introduce Chris…
I was seated with my laptop literally on my lap typing madly while trying not to waste a second of my free 20 minutes of Wi-FI. A woman sat down next to me and I do not even look up until my free Wi-Fi is gone. I started packing up my computer and made a comment about how 20 minutes fly’s by even  faster when it’s free! She confirms my thoughts and we stared to exchange pleasantries. She asked me where I was going and I said home. She asked me what I was doing in OK City and I tried to explain as best I could but even I have trouble understanding which delivers a set of sub skill sets in explaining. She laughed and said  “Perfect! A part-time husband, now that is something I could do.” I didn’t want to ruin her joke but also didn’t want to leave the wrong impression and commented, but when you miss them it is not as fun as it sounds. 
I asked her what her name was and asked where she was going… she responded “it’s Chris and I’m going to Nairobi to visit my 28 year old daughter for a couple of weeks.”
…That of course got me very interested (Nairobi) and I couldn’t stop talking! Come to find out not her first trip and I have a wonderful sense after ten minutes of talking with her, not her last.
Chris boarded first since I’m always in the last (called) zone but before she walked away she said….”I tell people I am a grasshopper. A grasshopper cannot jump backwards or sideways…Grasshoppers can only jump forwards.” 
I loved Chris’s positive perspective, her sense of adventure and certainly her sense of humor. 
The grim reality too many people lack the grasshopper’s strength of moving forward finding themselves jumping backwards (far too often) into dark bitterness of how they were wronged in life….with jealousy, revenge and hate as their loyal companions, morphing into physical and spiritual ugliness everyday! 
I am exhaling compassion, sending it out into the world today for all that pain people hold on to. For all those who lack the positive perspective in this moment in time not even realizing they are their own worse enemy by choosing darkness over light! I will always remain hopeful my compassion reaches them with an awakening to lightness (happiness) and the strenght to overcome their choice of darkness! 
“You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not for what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think”
-Course in Miracles (jumpforjoy.wordpress.com)
Asklotta and staff will MIND YOUR BUSINESS today in full forward jumping mode (my choice)!
Again, it has been my pleasure to tell you what to do and what NOT to do!
Kindest regards,
President and CEO

No Such Thing As A Hallmark Family!

30 Nov
Dear Readers,
As you probably could have guessed (or not) by my lack of postings this past week I was traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday and forgot my laptop at home. I remember the feeling I had in the security line at the airport when I realized I didn’t have a laptop to take out of my carry-on to place in a separate bin. A panicky feeling started to rise from my shoeless toes and for a moment, the thought of racing home (panic obviously arrived safely in my brain) to retrieve it sounded like a throbbing song in my head. 
But being a logical person I remained calm reaching for a Godiva peppermint filled in dark chocolate candy bar tucked away in an easily accessible pocket in my purse with now thoughts of; I can so live without my laptop! It is truly amazing the powers of chocolate not to mention peppermint filled chocolate. As the days continued to pass I had moments of feeling cut off from the world.  And I was right, I was cut off from the world but come to find out that was a blessing in disguise and exactly what I needed!
Please keep reading…
Now one of the most wonderful things about traveling is not being at home. I know that sounds obvious and please don’t get me wrong, I love home. But what I mean is, your routine is different, the foods are different, the times you eat are different, your activities are different, the people you come across and intersect with are different and so on and so forth. And my take away from all of this; the “Hallmark” family does not exist (thankfully).
Upon my return my friend Sandy and I were talking about the past holiday and the upcoming holiday season and I said there is no such thing as a Hallmark family and Sandy said “Norman Rockwell didn’t do us any favors by painting the perfect family.”
I immediately responded, did you ever think Norman Rockwell paintings of the perfect family/life is nothing more but an ironic joke, knowing full well his paintings were just his imagination with human figures and features? Or his paintings were more Martin Luther King-ish…I have a dream …that some day families/people would live in harmony and peace. It reminds me of the German born artist and choreographer Oskar Schlemmer’s. His 1932 painting of ” Bauhaus Stairway” represented idealism to the students and teachers of the Bauhaus.
Now is a great time to remind you not all of Norman Rockwell paintings were of an ideal state.  “The Problem We All Live With”  the 1964 painting of “Ruby Bridges, a six-year-old African-American girl, on her way in to an all-white public school in New Orleans on November 14, 1960 during the process of racial desegregation. Because of threats and violence against her, she is escorted by four U.S. Deputy Marshals; the painting is framed such that the marshals’ heads are cropped at the shoulders.[1][2] On the wall behind her is written the racial slur “nigger” and the letters “KKK“; a smashed tomato thrown at Bridges is also visible. The white crowd is not visible, as the viewer is looking at the scene from their point of view.[1] “ – Wikipedia
But somehow for some reason we always remember the painting of the perfect family “Freedom of Want” (the family at Thanksgiving) illustrated in “Four Freedoms” 1943 “Freedom of Speech”  “Freedom of Worship” “The Freedom from Fear” Those paintings to me represent an ideal state that didn’t exist then or today. Of course we have freedom of speech but when it is truly tested it is usually not simply with one man standing as a peaceful crowd looks on with support.  
The “Freedom of Fear” painting is of a mother and a father (together) tucking two angelic children into bed.  The father is in a white shirt indicating no manual labor void of any blue-collar hardships. There does not seem to be any guilt on the parent’s of two children sharing one bed, in fact I am starting to feel bad my children had their own beds…What perfect night/life did I rob from them? And of course this perfection comes in just one color, Caucasian.
So if you have survived Thanksgiving, pat yourself on the back! One down two to go (Hanukah /Christmas and New Year’s Eve)…and remember Norman Rockwell’s paintings were just paintings nothing more and nothing less… filling a canvas with artistic idealism – void of true realism! 
Asklotta and staff will MIND YOUR BUSINESS today so very happy I/my family do not live in a painting regardless of the artist!
Again, it has been my pleasure to tell you what to do and what NOT to do!
Kindest regards,
President and CEO

Business Trip, Delta Airlines and Much Laughter!

15 Nov
Dear Readers,

Last Monday 3:22 a.m. RING ring, RING, ring, RING, ring! My cell phone and my silent investor’s cell phone is ringing, buzzing SCREAMING waking us from a sound sleep…I throw back the covers and leap out of bed in a single bound, sprint to my phone in a second and a half and have promise God everything and anything as long as all my children are safe! 
…Delta Airlines recording my/our 6:15 a.m. flight has been canceled.
and now have been confirmed on a 11:00 a.m. flight and my husband has been confirmed on a completely different flight leaving Cleveland 6:45 a.m. we once were traveling together but leave it to the airlines to change that plan, now arriving in OK City five hours apart.
After I am able to start breathing again from the jarring fright and start to process the change in our travel plans my silent investor calls Delta to get us on the same flight, feeling badly of course not wanting to upsetting Delta’s agenda or inconvenience Delta Airlines!
The call to Delta’s reservation desk with a wait time of 20 minutes (I guess we were not the only ones disrupting Delta) while music played while flat on my back with my arm over my eyes. I must confess I was not thinking sweet thoughts about Delta! But I did benefit by allowing me time to gather my thoughts and think about the best way to proceed with exactly what is needed. After a chat with someone trying to be helpful my silent investor has booked us on the same flight out of Cleveland! I do hope Delta doesn’t hold a grudge….
But this is the kind of stuff to anyone who has been reading my blog will know this does not bother me in the least. In fact I see it as God intervening for my own good for there is something HE wants me to do or something I need to avoided…If nothing else sure gives me something to laugh about!
And if flight delays, flight cancellations, rerouting is not your calm/laughter and it blows your skirt/pants up in to a wad…then may I suggest avoiding the whole airline industry completely because no matter how angry you get or entitled you feel….will not do one bit of good and I guarantee it will only make your life even worse, I promise you that!
Asklotta and staff will MIND YOUR BUSINESS today with my fingers and toes crossed for a safe day of travels but always in acceptance of God’s will.
Again, it has been my pleasure to tell you what to do and what NOT to do!
Kindest regards,
President and CEO

Art Fueling Adventures Of Friendships and Fun!

15 Oct
Dear Readers
“Life is like a road that you travel on, there’s one day here and then next one gone….sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand, sometimes to turn your back to the wind ….not much time left today,”Life is a highway, I want to ride it all night long”… If your going my way I want to drive it all night long…” 
-Rascal Flatts

Just returned home (Cleveland) from a field trip to the MoMA in New York City. Since a friend and I are taking the (MoMA) on-line course we thought it would only be appropriate to see the art we are studying up close and personal as well as other great works of art from different artists….and we were neither wrong nor disappointed in our decision! 
The fifth floor is where we found the collection we are studying and the fourth floor holds houses art ranging from about 1950’s to present. (Please see pictures below)
What Is Fauvism?
“Fauvism is a movement in French painting from c. 1898 to 1906 characterized by a violence of colors, often applied unmixed from commercially produced tubes of paint in broad flat areas, by a spontaneity and even roughness of execution, and by a bold sense of surface design.”
What Does “Fauve” Mean?
“Critic Louis Vauxcelles called Matisse and his cohorts “Fauves,” the French word for “wild beasts,” because of their violent use of color and brushwork.”
Who Were the Fauves? 

“Henri Matisse is the focus of our study of Fauvism. Other Fauves include André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, Charles Manguin, Othon Friesz, Jean Puy, Louis Valtat, Kees van Dongen, Georges Rouault, Raoul Dufy, and Georges Braque (before he turned to Cubism with Pablo Picasso.”

-Larissa Bailiff (MoMA) 
OK…Now on to the fifth floor of the MoMA – Matisse and Picasso!
“The Dance”
“The Piano Lesson”
Piano teacher in upper right, Matisse’s son and one of Matisse’s sculpture lower left. A mixture of conformity and sensuality. 
Picasso – Non-Western (African) inspiration
Picasso (1881-1973) – Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Young Ladies Avignon – 1907) 
“The work portrays five nude female prostitutes from a brothel on Carrer d’Avinyo’ in Barcelona” – Wikipedia
“Some critics argue that the painting was a reaction to Henri Matisse’s Le bonheur de vivre and Blue Nude.”  Wikipedia
The fourth floor (just a taste)
Triple Disk Red Metal Flake – Black Edge 1966
De Wain Valentine – American, Born 1934
Matisse and Picasso were considered leaders in Modern Art…One can not simply label Matisse so instead they just say…”he was just Matisse.”
“Picasso would one day say…there was only Matisse and me.”
Asklotta and staff will MIND YOUR BUSINESS today with a smile on my face completely immersed in the artistic inspiration of friendships and fun! “Life is a highway, I want to ride it all night long”…
Again, it has been my pleasure to tell you what to do and what NOT to do!
Kindest regards,
President and CEO


Day 6 – Sadly Our Last Day!

9 Oct
Dear Readers,
The last and final day of our biking trip – Day 6 – Dry Creek Valley Loop: 27 Miles. Reflecting on the last six days of magnificent made to order weather ranging from the upper 70’s to low 80’s sunny everyday with evenings and mornings cooler in the upper 50’s. The rain weather gear stayed in our suitcases, and sunblock and sunglasses used everyday!
Turn right out of the parking area onto Matheson Street, how appropriate, “turn right” and yes we did turn right, all of us, turned right into a weeks worth of great biking, great weather, great food, great adventures, great sceneries, great wines and most certainly right into great friendships for miles and miles! 
I love referring to our trip as an active vacation. We actively biked over mountains, we actively biked through the Sonoma winds, we actively made fun of each other, we actively laughed until our sides hurt… we actively forgot everything else except our love for each other! 
As all good things must come to an end, we Turned left into the parking area for Hotel Healdsburg…For this is the end to our exceptional trip experience!
Our farewell lunch was at Barndiva, a charming restaurant with an outdoor patio to dine on sustainably sourced cuisine and bid dear friends good-bye. Again how appropriate for our last meal together…Barndiva website –  ”At Barndiva we believe a great meal should have elements of both celebration and tradition, and that optimally it should be a sensate hunt for what the French call ‘Gout du revenez-y’ the taste you return to” 
Our friendships “sustainably sourced” with much “celebration” and already talks of turning the trip into a “tradition”…So for all the right turns and for all the right reasons, for it is only right…”the taste you return to”! Our reunion dinner has already been planned for it is only right!
Asklotta and staff will rightfully MIND YOUR BUSINESS today feasting on sweet memories (the taste you return to) of an active vacation of proudly biking 200 miles in six days of beautiful backroads and beautiful sustainably sourced friendships!
Again, it has been my pleasure to tell you what to do and what NOT to do!
Kindest regards,
President and CEO

Day 3 – The Shortest Route Is 28, The Longest Is 60 Miles Of Heartache!

26 Sep

Dear Readers,


If lounging and sleeping is what you like, 

then stay in bed, for Day 3 will be a painful hike. 


Breakfast at 7am at the Big 3 Diners. 

“Route Talk” by the trailer, no room for whiners!


Luggage packed and placed by the door,

with aching muscles we’re ready for more.


We are given five riding options, 

none are for the weak or meek!


For this is Day 3 as I said,

and we’re only here for one glorious week!


The shortest route is 28,

the longest is 60 miles of heartache!


One by one we choose our mile count,

onward and upward, our bikes we mount!


We will be heading west towards the beautiful ocean! Up and out of Sonoma,

through the town of Santa Rosa, 

along a creekside bike path-a,

 all 14 of us arriving at Bodega Bay-a…And all rhymed out! (as if you couldn’t tell)


 But before arriving at our next Inn to take our helmets off, placing our heads down on our well-earned pillows, we will first learn about the Lavender Gardens at Matanzas Creek Winery, enjoying yet another scrumptious gourmet picnic lunch (thank you Mason, Courtney and Mark) over looking the beautiful Lavender Gardens. 

Please see photos below…





A little tidbit of information for your memory files,

It takes about two to three weeks to completely dry lavender and then it is used in many products as well as wines! Lavender is supposed to calm anxiety!


Asklotta and staff is MINDING YOUR BUSINESS today completely anxiety-free with a delicious scented lavender hand lotion spiced with pumpkin and vanilla! Yummy!


Again, it has been my pleasure to tell you what to do and what NOT to do!


Kindest regards,




President and CEO




“Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go”!

25 Sep
Dear Readers,
Whoops… I meant to say; over the river and through the woods to Etude Winery we go! 
Day Two:
The men started the day with a steep uphill climb (ascent +1,404 ft., 6.7% grade) while us women took to the sag wagon for “a bump” and joined our best guy at the top. My silent investor came in first with his tongue hanging out of his mouth (truly silent, picture to prove it) with Mr. Hilarious (please refer to yesterday’s posts) coming in second. A couple of our men folk needed to put their bikes in 28th gear (walking the bike up)…just to give you a feel for the steep incline they tackled. In fact this is the kind of ride that if one were not sufficiently leaning forward, bike’s front tire would lift off the ground.
For the men that are reading this, you might think it would not have been such a bad idea to pull on a bike skirt and get in the sag wagon with the other women; omitting the first 4.9 miles to the base of the mountain only to be faced with your come to Jesus moment, a very painful challenging 1.01 miles straight up to heaven. But with that said, let me clear up those thoughts right now…the ride down the mountain was terrorizing with blind curves, patches of loose gravel, fog and steep descents (-1,385 ft.)! The men of course had to bike down as well but heck compared to what they just went through, I think some of them might have appreciated flying off their bikes and staying terra firma!
Come to find out I would much rather bike up hill than go hurdling down a mountain at break neck speed. Another come to find out why bikers wear neon colors! God bless the geniuses that figured that one out along with padded shorts!!!
We all arrived safely at the Etude Winery: 26 miles later, warm air, sunny skies, an informative wine tasting and a beautiful scenic picnic lunch (thank you Courtney, Mason and Mark). After lunch the biking continued for another 20 miles to the Sonoma Mission Inn!
What I found so interesting and unique about this Inn, they had a salt-water pool with calming soothing music playing underwater. The entire pool was your headphones so to speak. There was a technique to getting in the correct position enabling ears to be submerged underwater for a true listening delight.
Step number one: place a colorful noodle under your neck. 
Step number two: another one behind your knees allowing you to float on your back, while still breathing air.
Step number three: ears slowly go underwater.
As one walks to this pool the view is hilarious. About ten human motionless bodies floating on their backs, completely soundless, slow rhythmic breathing, giving a rather eerie feel. Totally worth the 33 miles I rode! 
Asklotta and staff will MIND YOUR BUSINESS today thrilled to be off my bike and floating in some sci-fi zombie film!
Again, it has been my pleasure to tell you what to do and what NOT to do!
Kindest regards,
President and CEO

Day One, The Van!

24 Sep
Dear Readers,
My last six days all began with one morning in San Francisco…
I was sitting on a van with my silent investor along with 10 of my nearest and dearest (one couple was already at our meeting point, brilliant). Traveling North from S. F. to Calistoga presently all dressed in colorful biking clothes to begin our six-day biking adventure/vacation. I am listening to the most hilarious banter going back and forth, the funniest sh$t I have heard in such a long time. So funny, so inspirational, I even think most Canadians would double over laughing with this group! 
Please know I L O V E these people and L O V E giving each and every one of them sh$t. If done well (never mean) is truly a fine sport.  To be enjoyed whether as player or as a spectator! And COULD and SHOULD be an official sport in the summer and winter Olympics!
But allow me to back track for a moment….
We are… simply put: still curbside!  
One would think getting on a van at a schedule time at a schedule location would be an easy task (a no brainer so to speak) no formal education needed but for this highly educated group it seems to be a bit over reaching, too difficult to master much less done well!
(I will introduce the players (will need some latitude) on a need to know bases.)
We have Mr. Hilarious who is married to Mrs. Beautiful and Sweet.  Mr. Hilarious can turn any word and/or any situation into a hilarious laugh-a-thon. He has a gift! 
Mr. Drugg Report is married to Mrs. Not A Morning Person but can stay up late, is on the trip as well. Mr. Drugg Report can turn any word and/or any situation in to a political conspiracy plot. This morning (conspiracy or not) they have not appeared from the hotel to get on the van at the scheduled time. Mr. Hilarious barks a few words in to his cell phone at them followed by some grunting noises in response for all to hear. 
Have I mentioned we have NOT left the curb yet?
Mr. Tip, (nickname given in high school) is married to Mrs. Super Woman. Mrs. Super Woman can race up mountains on a bike with a smile on her face, and (damn it) looking gorgeous! Mr. Tip is our unofficial/official group leader who is very funny! 
But unbeknown to a few of us (me) Mr. Tip has a disappearing act while traveling!  
It seems as if the disappearing act of Mr. Tip can be counted on as one can count on the sun rising in the East and setting in the West. Mr. Tip is here one minute and like Houdini poof he’s gone! I experienced this first hand, one minute I saw him on the van and the next, poof gone! At this point no one even blinks and just knows he will reappear at any given moment looking quite innocent of any wrongdoing. 
Please remember the first and only mandatory activity that needs to be completed by our group on Day One is to get on the van and stay on the van for a 10:00 AM departure! Which still seems so challenging for a few of us.
I hope I mentioned we are all friends!  This vacation will be a reminder that speaks loudly and boldly to just how lucky I am to have the friends that I do and to be on vacation with them…for their friendship means the world to me!  
Which is why I am counting every single one of my lucky stars along with every singe one of my lucky miles for these loving and oh so funny people in my life.
So with all that said, our journey (biking through Napa and Sonoma Counties) final begins…Boarding the van has been completed, an hour and forty minutes later we are in beautiful wine country!
Asklotta and staff will MIND YOUR BUSINESS today with a smile on my face and love in my heart for having completed the 30 miles from Calistoga to Yountville (900 ft. elevation gain)!
Again, it has been my pleasure to tell you what to do and what NOT to do!
Kindest regards,
President and CEO

Her Name Is Arscnault

25 Jun
Dear Readers,
I departed Logan Airport at 1:40 PM. Of course I was at the Boston airport an hour ahead of boarding time. I was sitting in a chair that was attached to other chairs that formed a perfectly straight row. On the seat next to me I placed my over stuffed large canvas bag that also doubles as my purse when I travel and my small black roll-on suitcase under my legs. Her name is Arscnault, but I didn’t know that at the time. All I knew in those first few moments is what I observed of her physically.  She had gray hair, slender, stood about 5 feet 4 inches and was unsteady walking even with a cane.
She hobbled up and asked if she could sit down next to me.
“Of course” I said and removed my canvas bag from the seat next to me.  I placed my oversized over stuffed bag under my legs and now to the causal observer it appeared I was sitting in a lounge chair, my legs straight out in front of me and sitting up right.  
I wondered why she wanted “that seat”, the one next to me since there was many empty seats available at gate A9. In fact there were many available seats in my row but Arscnault wanted the one next to me.
I asked her if she was going on vacation and she told me she was returning home to Peggscov, Nova Scotia. Thinking to myself, it must have been draining for her to have even made it this far. I always give so much credit to people with disabilities who still travel. I don’t know how some people do it…getting to the airport early, standing in long security lines, removing shoes, belts and sweaters. Liquids and jewelry all stored in separate bags, standing with your legs spread, arms in the air while being scanned…it is difficult even for the young and strong.
She wasn’t a chit-chatter nor did she smile but yet she was sweet and had a story they needed to be told. She was returning home from a niece’s high school graduation. She said she always thought of that niece, as a granddaughter so missing her graduation was not an option, at least to her. As she spoke of her niece’s accomplishments she seemed to sit straighter and become stronger and a proud little smile came to her face. She went on to tell me she was traveling alone for the first time and was scared.  I told her she was brave to travel alone and I don’t blame her for being scared; traveling these days is not easy.  Arscnault was flying to Montreal and then taking a smaller commuter plane in to Peggscov. Not easy I said again.  
She continued, “they promised me a wheel chair, United promise me a wheel chair,” she said again. “Would you like me to check on it?” “No” she said and continued, “I will check on it.” And she did. When she returned she seemed a little more at ease for her wheel chair was on its way. 
After she sat back down she began telling me her story. She was 72 years old, three children and seven grandchildren.  Four years ago she suffered a stroke and the doctors felt she would live out her remaining years in a wheel chair. She looked in my eyes and as if shameful of having done something wrong said “I looked awful, I was determined never to let my grandchildren see me that way, I just couldn’t, it would have scare them.” I said again you are so brave!
I had to ask even though see didn’t seem the type…Were you a smoker? 
“No” Arscnault said. ” I never smoked or drank! My husband and I loved to travel, we loved to hike, take walks and I skied right up to before I had my stroke.” 
And then I had to ask, what happened to your husband? Arscnault fought the tears from welling up in her eyes and quietly said “he died three months ago. I miss him everyday.” 
I said of course you do! great loves are not meant to be forgotten or to be tossed out like yesterday’s garbage. It speaks volumes of his character and your relationship. Again I said, You are so brave!
How did your husband die? Arscnault gave me one of those deer in the headlights look as if she still cannot believe what happened. She took a breath and said, “he went in to the hospital for a knee replacement, routine they all said but he was allergic to the metal they used in his knee (it went to his lungs, then to his heart, then to his brain) he didn’t make it.”  Again I said, you are so brave!
And she finally said, “We had so many plans, we loved traveling, it’s so hard not to have him with me, but what choice do I have?” Staying in bed and waiting for death is not an option.” I said this is why you are so brave…because…. it is not an option for you!
I turned to Arscnault and said Your strength and bravery are amazing, the fact you have lost your husband, the love of your life just three months ago and you still made it to your niece’s high school graduation is inspirational. You are a very lucky woman to have known that kind of love and tenderness in a marriage.  Poets write about such fairytales, songs are written in hopes of finding such a love; people live their whole lives in search of what you had. She said, “I know.”  Thinking forever and ever would not have been long enough for them and the song Marry Me by Train started playing in my head, “You wear white and I wear out the words I love you… and your beautiful….marry me today and everyday”
I told her your last four years has been physically and mentally painful and so unfair. You could have turned bitter and yet your strength has come from all the love you have for others (from your heart) and you did not want to disappoint them…but you could have made different choices, I repeated myself, you could have!  She looked up at me and paused, and said softly “it is not an option.”  I said Arscnault not to you its not because you are so brave and filled with love!
“Strength of love is more powerful then the power of fear.”
I wished her luck; safe travels and thanked her for sitting next to me! We realized as they were calling to board my flight her gate was A12 – which of course was where the wheel chair had been placed waiting for her!
Asklotta and staff will MIND YOUR BUSINESS with the reminder; 25 minutes can really make a difference in your life…IF you are willing to listen!
Again, it has been my pleasure to tell you what to do and what NOT to do!
Kindest regards,
President and CEO
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