Morning came quickly. Thankful that we have great inner alarms because Jim’s cell phone thought that we were still in Ukraine…at least as far as the alarm clock goes. Had we waited for the ringing, we might still be in bed. Heh.
Jeanne the trooper woke early to take us to the Salisbury airport. Thankful that Kolya had set up the coffee pot the evening before so that when we awoke we just had to press the start button. Niiiice. No complications en route.
I was not totally surprised to run into a long-time friend while we were checking in. Hadn’t seen Rhett in awhile, but I knew that he traveled a lot for business. We are planning to get with his family when we return to the Eastern Shore.
I commented to Jim that I would not have been surprised to run into Brad, a friend we haven’t seen in over 10 years, because I often catch his fb updates that he’s here or there or soon to be home or finally home. But it wasn’t to be.
At one point, Jim was standing nearby talking to Rhett and a man quickly sat in the seat next to me and asked if the seat was available. In that order. My first thought was that it was Jim’s seat but I also knew that we would be leaving soon. He saw me look up at Jim, cock my head sideways as if to ask if Jim wanted his seat back, and repeated the question about the availability of the seat. I assured him that he could stay seated. To which he responded, “Ain’t it great?!” Again I looked at Jim who by now was keeping an eye on his computer resting on the bag in front of the seat now occupied by the stranger.
Awkward. I couldn’t believe when he looked me squarely in the face and asked AGAIN if it would be okay to sit there. I’m thinking…you’re already sitting, stop asking…
Suddenly to my surprise, the stranger stood up and he and Jim hugged. Big grins. I’m mouthing to Rhett: “Who is that?” Rhett is trying not to laugh at me. I’m totally confused. Blame it on an early morning. Blame it on the brain that can’t recall what country it’s in and sees people it THINKS it recognizes, but in the wrong country.
Finally, all three men are looking at me and smiling. And I suddenly realize that it’s BRAD! The guy I thought we MIGHT see. But now several pounds lighter — getting in shape for a triathlon event — and wearing glasses. Good grief!
We all laughed for a while. Brad thought my expression was priceless when I finally figured out who he was…and thankfully no one was taking pictures at that time.
We flew to Charlotte together and then I remembered that I really did need to take a picture of this trio! People in Charlotte weren’t sure who the famous person was…all different combinations of us in the pictures. Our departure gate was adjacent to our arrival gate, so we talked for awhile and then the professional travelers continued on their way, one to Texas and one to California.
One more flight and we would reach our destination: Birmingham, Alabama.
And more specifically, the room over the garage at Mark’s place: The Love Shack!