USA - Winter 2021-22
Susie had several wonderful pet-sits arranged for us when we arrived back in the US, starting with a great group of dogs in Miami Beach – just down the road from Skylar. The perfect setting for our anniversary/Thanksgiving dinner, and the serendipitous fact that my cousins Ric & Donna from Chicago were nearby and able to join us made it even better.
After another short sit in Hobe Sound, Susie flew up to Virginia to see her sister Mary who
had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is a strong woman, and we are optimistic about her outcome. With stops in Oviedo & Raleigh to see friends, and a quick visit with my buds at NCID, we drove up to our holiday destination in Pilot Mountain, NC, for a family gathering. Kelsey’s parents had just finished building a beautiful home in the country – a perfect setting for Christmas with family & friends. We enjoyed nice weather, good food & drink and a fun visit to the Andy Griffith Museum in nearby “Mayberry”.
After another short pet-sit in Charlotte we started driving north to Virginia to stay close to Mary as she underwent treatment. As we approached the VA border the drizzling rain changed to a wintry mix and became heavier. About an hour later we decided to stop and finish the next day. Good call, as that evening the snow and ice caused an epic traffic jam on I-95 just north of there, with hundreds of vehicles stuck all night. Yikes!
The next day we found that the electricity was out over a wide area of central VA, including the Airbnb we had rented, so we found a hotel near Richmond for a couple of days until power & roads were fixed. When we did drive the last 2 hours to the rental we had to drive around many large branches and pine trees still partially blocking the roads.
Our Airbnb was a gorgeous, large new home on Lake Anna, about 20 minutes from Mary & Ricky’s house. It was beautifully furnished with a huge kitchen, garage, floor to ceiling windows and cornhole & ping-pong in the basement. Very comfortable and spacious.
Mary started chemo and had serious reactions that took her back to the ER multiple times. They finally performed a mastectomy and subsequently declared the operation a success – cancer free. However, more chemo was still prescribed which again caused serious side effects. Susie was by her side constantly throughout the process, providing whatever aid and support she could.
By mid-March Mary seemed to be doing better so I took the car and drove back to Oviedo for a doctor’s visit & jam with bandmates. Susie flew down a week later, and we had a wonderful time with our first in-person book club in a very long time! Final drop-off at storage locker and a quick visit with more friends & relatives.
Then a quick trip flying to New Britain, Connecticut to visit with Jazz & Kelsey, and check out their new digs for the next 16 months, while he works at Otis headquarters. Fun walking the Polish neighborhoods, eating at Bartaco, and even a bit of trout fishing!
Back to the airport. Next stop: Belize!
A million, zillion thanks to so many wonderful friends & relatives that make our time in the USA possible – and so enjoyable!
Diane & Dan; Nicole & Mark; Patti; Sandy & Paul; Mary & Ricky; Angela & Derek; Jeannie & Paul; Anne & Bob; Torsten; Connie & AJ; ….and of course Skylar, Kelsey & Jazz!!!