The pizza party was supposed to have been a glorious send-off for my baby sister before she moved off to her great adventure and a new life near her daughter and grandchildren in Illinois. Her plan was to have one last week of fun on the west coast by meeting up with her friends in southern California. Then, she would fly back, stay with Betty overnight before driving her car to Portland to see some other friends before taking the long road trip across country to Illinois—driving by herself.
Betty called me one night at the end of August. “I’m really worried about this long trip she needs to take,” she said. “How is she going to do it? She’s absolutely exhausted from getting ready to move, from packing, from ending the school year, from making all her plans. I don’t think she realizes how arduous this trip is going to be. It’ll take her seven days probably because she won’t be able to drive more than about 300 miles a day, if that.”
We were in complete agreement that this was not a good plan, especially since she had just been recovering from one of her surgeries.
“I’ll bet it wouldn’t cost her any more to have her car shipped to Illinois and she could fly,” Betty said. “Somehow, we have to convince her.”
So now we two sisters worked out a plan to make our baby sister’s journey more comfortable. First we had to convince her. Once we worked out the numbers it wasn’t hard, because she also realized how difficult it would have been for her to drive such a distance by herself. Betty arranged for the car transport and the flight on Southwest and we decided that it would be best if we used our house as a base from which to ultimately launch Rona on her way.
Betty was given a three day window from September 1st through September 3rd for the car transport, so she drove Rona’s car from Bremerton to Seattle on August 30th. We would repack the car to reduce the weight to 100 pounds of cargo and we would drive it until it had barely any gas in it per the requirements of the transport people. Then we would wait for them to pick it up…on one of those three days. But the Labor Day weekend got in the way. No transport would be happening.
As so often happens, this was an opportunity to make lemonade out of lemons. We now had a chance, as three sisters together, to have some bonus days that we had not anticipated. We could take a trip up to La Connor, one of our favorite pretty little towns to poke around in. We could even use some of the extra gas in Rona’s car to visit a far away dog park. The weather was spectacularly wonderful as it can only be in late summer when the air is dry, the breezes are soft and the sun shines all day. This was an unexpected vacation.
Betty and I would partner in the kitchen while Rona could park herself on a bar stool and visit while we cooked. With all her Herculean work of the summer as she prepared for her big move, she could use the rest. Besides, mine is a two person kitchen at best.
Our B & B was up and functioning. We packed a lot of fun into those few bonus days we had. We enjoyed leisurely breakfasts while we planned our adventures for the days to come. We had lunch on the patio, dinner in candlelight, walks through the park, picking blackberries, with good conversation as the seasoning of our time together. This was the richness of three sisters together, a melody with the ever-present spark of Joe’s deep voice to keep us all in balance.
Baby sister is now firmly settled into her new home in Illinois and Betty is back across the water in Bremerton, but the result of our unexpected bonus week of vacation together is that we are really closer now, though greater distance separates us. I come away from this week much richer for the experience.