Two to Go

I had a fantabulous Father’s Day. It began with extraordinary presents from my family, each reflecting their unique talents. My younger daughter did an astonishing sketch for, and then portrait of, me, both now hanging in my office; my older daughter wrote an amazing short story about an LA family that deftly combined certain of our own characteristics (and my favorite spots to visit) with plenty of creative innovation; and my wife made a great card and presented me with a photo that was perfect for the occasion. Though my wife has to work that week, after the 4th I’ll be taking my daughters to LA for a family vacation originally scheduled for. . .wait for it. . .April 2020. I’m really looking forward to that, as well as the week of R&R&R (rest, relaxation, and reading) that will precede it on Cape Cod. Tomorrow is the last day of school, and after 15 long months, it sure seems like time to celebrate.

This is just the sketch for the finished drawing!

But I’ve already bagged the Southern California corner this year, and after the re-energy the Maine trip has given me, I have set my sights on the last two: Alaska and Seattle. Having gotten back the travel credits and miles from my original scheduled trips to those corners, I decided to use them and called up American Airlines. I spoke with a delightful rep named Kimberly who had my heart the first time she deployed the phrase “cool beans” in the course of our conversation. I needed Kimberly’s assistance because I had decided to re-book my trip for late August and bring my daughters with me (my wife will be in Scotland with sisters and close friends on her own Outlander-themed adventure).

With my daughters, the great photo my wife gave me, a Hawaiian shirt I got from Black Sheep Trading Co. in Maine, and the lobster-specked pants my mom gave me as an early birthday gift. Father’s Day doesn’t get any better than this!

Amazingly enough, flight prices to Alaska hadn’t risen as high as I feared — in fact, I paid only $5 additional for my seat after using my travel credit — but there was a catch. Each leg featured a layover of dizzying lengths (10 hours in Chicago on the way out, 9 in Dallas on the way back). But, if I may be motivational for a moment, sometimes problems are just solutions waiting to happen, so on each occasion we’re going to rent a car and see the city’s museums during the layover. And I can’t wait to make it to Alaska, the 50th state and the only one I haven’t visited.

Well, I guess a great unmasked outdoor lunch at Stone Hearth Pizza in Belmont center followed by a Ranc’s milkshake does make things even better. Here we are with one of my older daughter’s oldest friends.

That leaves only Seattle, and I’m pleased to report that I just booked that trip for mid-September. You see, synchronicity, while sacred, is also slippery. I had hoped to wrap my travels up in Maine as summer began. Instead I’ll be returning from Seattle on the first day of autumn. But the important things is I will have done it, bagged all six corners. And that, my friends, will feel pretty freakin’ amazing to me.

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