My right eyebrow rises, just a little....."I'm listening."
"So here's the deal" she says....."Dawn and her dog Maggy are moving to Oshawa but Dawn doesn't want to put Maggy on a plane or train 'cause Maggy might get upset and besides it's a great opportunity to do a favour for a friend and regain your lost karma and find your soul somewhere along the way and besides you love to travel and she's rented a mini-van for her, the dog and you and I already told her that you would love to do it and besides it would only be four or five days at the most and you'll be back in lot's of time to see the Seahawks play the Chargers."
Then she gives me that "Sami" look.
"We'll travel by Interstate 90" I say.
We drive some more. Maggy is standing at attention, drooling. My right elbow is sopping wet. Drove past the Little Bighorn Battlefield - in the dark. Described to Dawn (perhaps in too much detail) Custer's huge error in judgement by taking one road trip too many. By evening, Maggy is still standing, and she is panting like a steam locomotive, and the van is beginning to smell just a little 'doggy' - if you know what I mean. Overnight at Sheridan Wyoming - enough said.
Maggy and Dawn sleep in, again. Big argument about what exactly the term 'wheels up at 8.00 am' means. Finally on the road by 9.25 am....in a light snow - there's an overturned U-Haul up ahead. This van really stinks. There's a snow storm heading our way from Colorado. I'm getting a nasty rash on my right elbow - and more than slightly annoyed at Dawn's girly driving CD's, none of which include Led Zepelin or Supertramp. Doesn't this woman eat anywhere else but McDonalds??? After getting directions from several late-night liquor stores in Council Bluffs - Iowa - we find our 'dog friendly' hotel and I collapse into my room, a scant 25 yards from the busiest all night truck stop the other side of the Missouri. Highlight of the day was passing Wall Drug, viewing Devils Tower from 20 miles away - and two Strategic Air Command Bases. Still no sign of renewed karma - or my lost soul.
We drive across Iowa - past several birthplaces or grave sites or whatever of US Presidents. Dawn and I seem to be laughing an awful lot today, and Maggy is still standing, but also comfortably resting her head on my wet elbow. A strong wind is at our back, and the countryside is actually quite pretty when you look at it travelling 80 mph or so. Even the storm clouds are clearing. Crossed the Mississippi River today, and Dawn's CD's weren't really so bad once you got past the whole K.D. Lang thang. And I may have caught a glimpse of my lost soul in a corn field, just past the Tri State Tollway - but still no sign of any karma (good karma anyway). Passed South Bend in the dark, and made Windsor Ontario by 9.00 pm. Back in Canada - but a bittersweet moment really - the trip is almost over. Maggy collapses in her hotel room.
We all sleep in. It's actually quite nice to sleep in sometimes. Hit the 401 Eastbound in the late morning, visited two Tim Horton's in one hour, and after passing about 25 RCMP cars enroute - arrive in Oshawa. We are HOME!!! Maggy, (still standing) jumps out of the van, and both her and Dawn get lots of welcome hugs and kisses from their relieved family. Maggy immediately falls asleep on their very comfy carpet. What a nice family. Perhaps Ontarians aren't that bad after all.....but then again, these guys are from Oshawa - not Toronto.
Christmas Eve - Toronto International Airport. Checking in at the Air Canada counter, I'm informed the flight is overbooked, and that I will have to ask at the gate as to whether I'll even get on the Christmas Eve flight home. So much for improved karma.
Then, at the very last minute, the gate attendant smiles at me and says "Looks like today is your lucky day" and hands me a Business Class boarding pass - window seat 5A.
Flying home at 36,000 feet over America, I can't help but think that maybe things are looking up. Somehow the Seahawks / Chargers game doesn't seem quite as important.......and I catch myself wondering how Dawn and Maggy are doing on this beautiful day.