A Trip To Cherish
I’m back on the road after not having traveled to teach since the first week of January when I was in Napa, CA. I have to admit, I was a little rusty and forgot to pack a few things but in the end it turned out to be a wonderful class and I remembered how much I loved this part of my job as a full time artist. What a wonderful group of ladies.
An early morning flight put me on the road before the sun poked its’ shiny head over the horizon. I fought I-4 commuter traffic, but arrived to the Orlando airport on time. Thanks to CLEAR I was able to skip the security line and was escorted right to the X-Ray machine. They even handed me the bins I needed for my personal items.
That’s great service.
This trip I was fortunate enough to stay at the home of a friend I’ve known for over 20 years. Suzy and I worked together at my first job in Orlando, we were in our 20’s. We worked together in the creative department for a financial investment advisor. It goes without saying that our department was like no other in the company. We had swinging, colorful beads hanging in the doorway to our eclectic office , lots of fun things, including airline barf bags, tacked to our walls, two hamsters (Thelma and Louise) free-rolling around the department in plastic exercise balls, and days when we laid across the conference table lamenting our personal lives to our very conservative and emotionally reserved boss.
We also bathed the hamsters in the ladies room sink, an experience the little fur balls just never got excited about, Suzy-Q and I on there other hand, we laughed until our sides nearly split.
Too much fun.
When I told Suzy I was headed to Charlotte and asked her if she wanted to get together for dinner, her response was “Would you like to stay with me? Come see my new house?” My response? “What not?”
And so it was settled.
I arrived in NC a day before my class at Binders Art Supply so that I could visit with Suzy-Q and her family (which includes a husband, three kids and three dogs). Happy, the Jack Russell, took a liking to me and to standing up against my chest, putting her nose directly in my face. Brush your teeth Happy.
Lucky me, on my first night in town I also took the opportunity to meet some other friends I know and love from Summerfield. Criss-crossing the country to teach every month offers me the wonderful opportunity to make friends just about everywhere I go. Lisa and Ginny have hosted me in their home more than once in conjunction with my teaching. Lisa invited me to bring my Paper Paintings Workshop to her home town for the first time some years ago, we have been friends ever since. I’ve since been sponsored by Lisa and Ginny at least three times now, and I’ve had the opportunity to make friends with some of their friends, including an amazingly talented potter Leanne Pizio.
I could not be 2-hours away without spending some quality time with Lisa and Ginny. So we met half way in Lexington, NC at Chef Dion Sprinkle. Lisa, Ginny, and I had a great Mediterranean meal with BYOB (it’s a dry county) If you ever find yourself in Lexington, I recommend the duck breast. The food was wonderful, the company was even better.
Didn’t the B-52s have some song lyrics about a dry county? This is a very strange concept to me, being from the Northeast. The dryness, not the B-52s…
Although Suzy-Q and I have always been close, we had not seen each other in person in some years. How many years had slipped past us since we both had been married with children? Well, her son Kyle is a pre-teen now and the last time she and I had lunch together, he was in a stroller. Oh! Where does the time go?
Growing up is a slippery slope.
In the evenings after class, Suzy prepared some amazingly wonderful dinners including grilled greek chicken with all the fixings. Home made tsatsaki, feta and chick pea salad, couscous, black olives and warmed pita bread.
I could get used to this.
I tried my best to pitch in by making apple pie with home made crust for our first family dinner together. After rolling and filling, crimping and trimming, we were blessed with extra dough, which I promptly whipped into Star Wars crust cookies with sprinkled sugar for Kyle.
Yoda was my favorite.
My class in Charlotte was full of wonderful students with happy smiling faces and our host Binders Art Supply was like having a class in a candy store. We had a wonderful time ripping and gluing together, everyone did an amazing job on their Small Apple Exercise and I had lots of requests to follow up with an advanced class sometime in the near future.
I guess that means it won’t be another ten years before I get to share old memories, new stories, talk about how much the kids have grown, and snuggle the dogs (despite foul breath) at the Levi home. AND next time I hope that Darin’s injured neck is better, so that when I give him a big bear hug coming in the door, he doesn’t wince quite so much.
Sorry Darin. I have the best intentions.
A spring time trip to Charlotte, NC reunites old friends, brings together new friends, makes memories that will last a life time. I am quite lucky to say, “I love my job.”