Editor’s musing: Thank you Susan Dromey Heeter for letting me share your joyful life via your wonderful column. Merry Christmas, Nancy
By Susan Dromey Heeter,
Years ago I would rush to the airport and be in something of frenzy when I had someone to pick up. I’d arrive late, harried and annoyed that I’d gone out of my way to provide the service of transportation; thinking, “My schedule has been upset – don’t you know how busy I am?” Mercifully, today I muse joyfully on changing things up, on taking blessed time to appreciate the glory of an airport visit, a pickup, a beautiful change in schedule.
I invited my niece, Elise, to join me in collecting my daughter, Maria, Thursday night from Logan Airport in Boston. Maria’s flight from California was due in at the ungodly hour of midnight. Midnight. To me, may as well be 4 a.m., tomorrow, a time which has no earthly equivalent. As a high school teacher, it’s rare that I stay up past eight; I’m entirely Ben Franklinish in the early to bed, early to rise thing. But, I knew with Elise I could make it, and, more importantly, enjoy the jaunt.
Elise is 18, the same age as Maria, I remember exactly where I was when my sister told me of her birth; I was nursing Maria in bed and looking out at the Chugach Mountain range of Alaska – an entirely appropriate view as Elise is a strong, interesting and vibrant as these mountains. Elise and Maria have been good friends ever since, giggling cousins, go-to pals for one another as they navigate life.
So, we left NH at 6:00 and stopped at Salvation Army on Route 1 in Saugus. This is one of my favorite thrift haunts in the world and it’s rare that I head to Boston without a visit. And part of Elise’s Christmas present was a $20 dollar spending spree at Sals. And we delighted in the choice, the plethora of goods to peruse. Elise announced she’d found pants that “fit her the best she’d ever found.” I found a small pair of Dutch clogs I hope to gift to a child who will delight in the hammer like noise those shoes make. We laughed; Elise was thrilled at thrift shopping, entirely excited to not have “contributed to a land fill” and sharing her aunt’s confusion of “why would I buy anything new?”
The North End of Boston was our next stop; we searched and searched for a parking spot but, as the Bruins were playing, found none. It was totally Mary and Jesus looking for an Inn night. So, I did something for the very first time in my life, ever. I got valet parking. Yes. Really. I paid someone to park my car for me. I’m still in shock but upon giving our car over to Ed, we learned Ed was Dominican and Elise and I practiced our Spanish and learned of Ed’s suggestion for the best Italian cuisine. Later, when we picked up the car, I asked Ed if he was impressed with my Honda Accord and inquired as to what his favorite cars were to park. He likes the Mercedes; we then talked about how great it is to actually own our cars, our houses, to not be up the wazoo in debt. Ed was our shepherd, herding us to a wonderful Italian restaurant and providing us the warmth of knowing it’s good to be frugal.
And Elise and I dined at Osaraceno Ristorante in Boston’s North End, delighted in the fresh pasta, the conversation of catching up, learning of Elise’s first year at Hobart William Smith. If you know Elise, you know she is quick witted, funny and firm in her convictions. We laughed. Her stories made me giggle and cringe and remember what it is like to be a college freshman. And then Elise introduced me to “Mike’s Pastry.” And we invested in four cannolis and brought them to Logan.
Because we’d allowed ourselves the luxury of time, we arrived early to the airport, parked and then did what I believe to be one of the greatest activities in the world: watched people reunite. We had coffee and cannolis and front row seats to live reunions of families, of friends.
Indeed, we were voyeurs, we watched in awe as the man with the “princess” balloons hugged his little girl for what seemed like hours. We teared up upon watching the guy with the low slung jeans hard-core rapper looking vibe embrace his grandmother, tears coming down his face. We, too, cried, weeping at the moments of pure love, licking the cannoli cream off our fingers, witnessing life at its best. We laughed and delighted in the purity of the season, of family, of the simple joy of hugs and tears and hard plastic airport seats that provided the best view of all. Gate 33B was our little stable, our little Jerusalem.
And, finally, around midnight, we saw our Maria come through the door wearing her shorts and wide, beautiful smile. A cousin and cannoli were the best gifts to give my returning baby; I felt very Little Drummer Boy knowing she would delight in both.
So, Joyful Musers, Happy Christmas. Enjoy a cannoli or four, a reunion, the beautiful gift of time. May your 2019 be joyfully rushless, magnificently peaceful and if you are at all searching for a beautiful activity, do go to the airport with cannolis and your favorite niece.
Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, debuts her new column “Joyful Musings” at InDepthNH.org. Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Spaulding High School in Rochester and the mother of two teenage daughters. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.