In Florida for a Next Adventure

I expected the trip to be a disaster. After all when you start a 5 hour trip with all of the problems and delays the airline industry is currently having, high expectations would be a waste of time.Especially when you embark on your trip after 6 pm in the evening.

Now I am either having very good luck with American Airlines or they are getting a lot better. From St. Croix they are a monopoly but they are flying on time and my tickets have been costing about 1/2 of what they cost 30 years ago. Even with a first class upgrade, and a flexible return date, the price of a ticket was still less than it was in the past.

My first joy was getting my upgrade at the check-in counter and not having to stand around and watch the flickering board at the gate to see if I am in a high or low position in the standby lottery for upgrades with flexible rules that favor the traveler with the most frequent flier miles ahead of the one who asks for it two weeks in advance.

My next pleasant surprise was meeting up with my friend Kai  Martin who I hadn’t seen to in awhile and we talked about her family including brothers, nieces and nephews and my family including children grandchildren, nieces and nephews,  my bad taste in young women since my wife died, her living will, my need for one and all the weird stuff that friends talk about as they jump from topic to topic. The trip flew by and we continued to talk at the bar while I continued my medicinal drinking and she had a ginger ale. Of course we were both late for loading, but made our panes.

My next positive event was my seat companion in the first class section.  Seems Jorge was celebrating a monstrous commission that would pay off his mortgage and had spent some time prior to the flight in the first class lounge in San Juan. There is a huge unavoidble time gap between the normal 11 am hotel checkout in Puerto Rico and the 7 o’clock flight time which probably makes the Admiral’s Cub at the San Juan Airport very profitable.

Between Jorge’s euphoria and my discomfort, neither one of us was consumed by the overwhelming amount of alcohol we had consumed so we continued the party in the first class section of the trip to Tampa.  There are  many regulars on this flight and the stewards new and joked with everybody. Jorge was a Cuban Immigrant who had grown up in Tampa and was proud of both.  He was about 15 years younger than me and had a daughter 15 years younger than mine.

He needed and wanted to know about business opportunities in the Virgin Islands as I learned all about the Indians naming Tampa for the lightning storms and the time he spent bonding with his father watching mother nature at work from his porch.  We talked about the bond between fathers and daughters and the time invested now would be repaid later when he was the one needing help just as my daughter is coming to be with me for my neck operation.

I warned him to stay very close to his daughter for the college years which are most dangerous to a young girls because equally smart and attractive young men would be using all there wit and charm to lead her to new and more dangerous experiences like sex, drugs, and “rock n roll”.  He must stand by her for a couple of poor choices and keep trying to  bring her back into the family fold while trying to not  be terribly judgmental for making the same mistakes that many of us did when young..

We talked about growing old and from my prospective of 65, I believe 80 is still young and that my mom was still talking and laughing at 90. She died at 93 with her sense of humor in tact although the rest of her was very worn out. As long as she could smile about the hand that God dealt her, I would not have ever done anything to shorten her life by even a second. Jorge chose 80 because that was when his father’s body had shut down and it was making him feel mortal.

We talked about the joy and pain of having young girlfriends: The health and vigor are a joy to behold; their selfishness, vanity and angst ends up killing the joy.

We  experienced a lightning storm upon arrival with the lightning coming from clouds above and below us and from the ground up.  The lightning was all around us and might have been terrifying if it wasn’t so beautiful. Jorge was in his glory describing all of the different type of lightening that he had learned about from his father as a child.

It was delightful flight getting in 1/2 hour early and I got a cab and was in my hotel room by midnight.

Jorge and I made a tentative date to go to the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg so that my Daughter and he could make a business connection that might have future value for the both of them while we all enjoy the art of Salvador Dali.

“Si Dios Quiere”,  it will happen.


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