Besides the creepy story I shared with my friends at Rogers Sewing Center that happened when I was filming my Machine Quilting Level 2 class, I had a most memorable time filming that class in Indiana back in cold, cold January 2015. Note: The creepy story is not for internet public consumption, but I am happy to disclose everything if you ask me about it in person! :)
Now onto the other memorable parts… I remember as the plane touched down at Ft. Wayne airport, the passenger sitting beside me commented that their average temperature the week before was about 12 degrees. My heart sank a little — because I am a chicken when it comes to driving in inclement weather. Since my husband wasn’t there with me, I braved myself and drove my little rental car to the destination, and very thankfully, arrived in one piece. Well, on the way out was a slightly different story… the kind people with whom I work had warned me about the impending snow that day… and still being the chicken that I was (and still am) when it comes to driving in inclement weather, I left about 2 hours ahead of the intended time, and even more thankfully, arrived in one piece because the snow was really falling halfway through my drive to the airport. SO…. I had about 3 1/2 hours just to sit in the airport – which I didn’t mind because I really enjoy the hustles and bustles at airports (as long as I am not one of those rushing about to reach my next gate, ha!). And at airports, I get to indulge in one of my favorite activities – people watch!
While waiting, an older gentleman came and sat beside me… and he struck up a conversation with me. He was a WWII veteran who was 91 years old, half-blind and was on his way to Florida to play golf. We had a lively conversation about his experience during the war, among other things. He was one of the support guys during Normandy. He asked me if I knew whom General Eisenhower was (seriously?!) , to which I named most of the generals in WWII. I did that not because I wanted to show off, but to show him he didn’t need to bother with the basic stuff. I wanted him to get to his stories, and more stories. As he shared his life story (and of course I was totally mesmerized by all the twists and turns in his 91 years of life), he summarized his life with, “Where can the son of two illiterate peasant from France become a successful dentist, and lived a full life but in America?”
[Note: Photo taken right before the flag was taken down when dusk set in….]
I almost cried when he said that! At that moment when he uttered those words, he and I formed a precious bond. He is an immigrant, and I am an immigrant… we both came under circumstances bound by law during different eras of American history, as well as bound by the love for the rich legacy and history of the land in which we live.
Talking to this very accomplished retired dentist was how I spent my 3 1/2 hours at the airport before we embarked on the plane. I helped him find his seat because he couldn’t really see despite his nearly impeccable health at his age. Well, it turned out he was my neighbor across the aisle. So, we chatted some more… he told me I looked like a teenager to him, and asked me to be sure to tell my husband that when I got home. My husband didn’t offer any comments (smart guy!) when apprised of that comment, but my ever-so-slightly cynical friend aptly pointed out that the reason his dear man thought I was no more than 15 was due to his visual impediment. Impediment or not, this dear man totally charmed me with his sweetness and his life stories.
We reached out layover destination, the plane was so small it didn’t park right next to the airport. So we had to get off the plane on the tarmac. I gave him a hug before we parted ways!
I have often thought of this dear man since that cold and snowy January day.