Next Year it’s the Beach

Published January 18, 2016 by rochellewisoff

For the first time in over forty years we broke with Jan’s family tradition and left town for Christmas. I take the blame for this. Because our children are grown and scattered to the three winds—we only have three sons—and have commitments, no one could come home.

Not wanting to endure another dismal holiday like 2014, this pushy Jewish mom invited herself to Chicago to spend it with our youngest son Christian. To my joy, my suggestion was met with enthusiasm from both my son and his fiancée, the lovely Sarah Adams.

Our flight out the Wednesday before was uneventful and short. When we arrived at the kids’ apartment we were met with a beautifully set table of fruit, veggies, cheese and wine and hugs.

Food is always a challenge when we travel because of my annoying dietary issues. Sarah went out of her way to accommodate. She made such things as gluten free blueberry pancakes and lactose and gluten free macaroni and cheese.

Twins cooking

Sarah cooking

I won’t bore my readers with all of the details but will try to hit the high points, the top of which would have to be spending time with the kids, Sarah in particular. If a mother could handpick a woman for her son in this day and age, she would be my choice. She’s a talented artist as you can see in the picture below—only a small example of what she’s capable of.

Fields Family in Sarah's kitchen

The pinnacle for me came when she opened my present to them, a watercolor portrait I did from a photo I snapped last summer. Sarah cried and said that no one had done artwork for her before. She’s always been on the giving end of that.

The piano

Saturday following Christmas I met for lunch with Annie Milne, a friend from high school and before. It’s been at least twenty years since we last spoke in person. Since both of us have food problems, we ate at a nearby restaurant called Lyfe’s Kitchen where we inundated the server with questions and instructions. Silly though it may seem, we both enjoyed not being ‘the only one.’

Annie and Me in Lyfe's Kitchen

Our lunch lasted four hours and it wasn’t long enough.

Love on the Purple Line

Sunday night we took the EL downtown to meet with Sarah’s twin Katie and her boyfriend Sebastian and few others for supper. As we boarded the train on the Purple Line we were greeted by a woman named Lauren, who like me, was also wearing all purple. We chatted a bit and I mentioned my blog ‘Addicted to Purple.’ She said, “I’ve read that.”

Purple Line

I found that Lauren’s also a writer and enjoys blog challenges. I expect to see her for Friday Fictioneers in the near future.

Within ten minutes of her departure, my phone sounded the WordPress chime. Lauren followed my blog, liked my ‘About Rochelle’ page and left a message saying how nice it was to meet me.

You can find her here. 

Throughout the week Jan and I enjoyed the fact that while it was a little damp and cold, it hadn’t snowed.

            “If I’d known, I would’ve driven,” he kept saying. “We could’ve saved plane fare.”

Perhaps he tempted the Fates once too often. Monday morning the national news was filled with icy snowy forecasts between Chicago and Kansas City. Naturally this was the morning we were scheduled to fly home.

The airport was packed. Check in wasn’t terrible, although Jan was divested of the port wine cheese in his carry on—an unopened, sealed tub. After that we managed to find seats at our gate. Boarding time was delayed by about thirty minutes. Not terrible. Right? Wrong. Once we seated, we waited on the tarmac while they de-iced the plane.

Two rows ahead of us a woman took out her knitting. Jan turned to me and said, “Those ten inch knitting needles are much safer than my cheese.”

The pilot kept us abreast of everything causing our delay. The plane was overweight so there was discussion about unloading some of the baggage as we were carrying baggage from some other delayed or cancelled flights. An hour later, our pilot said he’d “won the argument” and no one and nothing would be bumped.

We finally took off at 10:46, a mere two hours past our original takeoff time. As we came into Kansas City we had to circle the airport to burn excess fuel. There’s logic to that, right?

At last we landed on terra not-so-firma. We came into ice and snow. After sitting for about 45 minutes, the pilot informs us that the jet bridge at our gate is frozen so we’ll have to move to another gate. Mind you, by this time everyone is standing with their carry-ons at the ready. We sat once more. Another forty-five minutes or so pass as the plane rocks gently back and forth. The pilot explains that he’s trying to get enough traction on the ice to take us to the other gate. I think this is where I dropped my head into my hands. It was either laugh or cry.


Once we finally deplaned and gathered our luggage we were met with yet another challenge. Our car was frozen shut and we had no ice scraper. Snow continued to fall. After a white knuckle ride home that took another couple of hours we rolled into our garage at 16:00.

At any rate, I’ll not complain. I slept in my own bed that night while hundreds slept in O’Hare Airport. I’m not sure but we might’ve been on the last flight that managed to leave Chicago for the next few days.airport selfie



42 comments on “Next Year it’s the Beach

    • Dear Helene,

      Port wine cheese is a spread made of cheddar cheese and port wine, and a few other things that aren’t really cheese.😉 The kids gave it to Jan for Christmas and he was really looking forward to eating it.
      I was really happy that Sarah loved my painting so much. She’s quite gifted, so to get that response from her was a major compliment.
      Thank you for reading and commenting.


      Liked by 1 person

  • Loved meeting your family, seeing the art work, feeling the relationships with you, your son’s girlfriend, the pains people take to appreciate their creative sides as well as their needy sides (art vs. food), I was with you on the trip. Cold, happy, and grateful. Great write.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Joy

      Truly one of the best holidays I’ve had in a long time. The flight home? Well…it was funny. When the pilot said we were rocking back and forth for traction I laughed.
      Thank you for reading and commenting.😀



      Liked by 1 person

  • This was a trip we will remember for a while. Due to space she didn’t tell all of the flight story. There were other issues as well that made us and other passengers hang our head and wonder, and then even laugh about it. There were over 40 standby passengers hoping to ride. They didn’t. The flight was overbooked. Halfway home the captain announced the possibility that we would have to land elsewhere. They wanted to send passengers to Dallas and then later in the evening, From there to Kansas City. Guess what? The Dallas folks were shutdown, cancelled, delayed or just dissipated into the space time continuum. I am quite sure I heard the theme from “The Twilight Zone” playing in the background. Can’t wait for the next adventure.


  • Ah the perils of winter travel! Now I see why you related to my airplane story! And I must say, of all the travails, for me the white knuckle driving through a blizzard or sleet or ice (done that many times on I-80 between Chicago and Iowa or 385 in Iowa) is the absolute scariest, tensest, and ultimately when you let your shoulders relax, the most exhausting. Glad you had a grand time in Chi town and with family and friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Courtney,

      I was told that we were nuts to be flying over the holidays. The first leg of the journey went so smoothly that I felt pretty smug and couldn’t wait to tell the naysayers how wrong they were. We did have a good time though.😉



      Liked by 1 person

  • Most of your trip was great. It’s a shame you had trouble on your way home, but fortunate you weren’t held up more att the airport. I’ve read about people sleeping on airport floors. That must be miserable. I loved the pictures and enjoyed your details of the trip. Thanks for sharing it with us, Rochelle.🙂 — Suzanne


    • Dear Suzanne,

      We actually felt quite fortunate when we watched the news after we got back. There were several people on standby who didn’t make it out of O’Hare for days after we left. Hundreds of flights got cancelled. So we barely made it out on time. At any rate, we came away with a good story.😉



      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Annie,

      It’s not a small thing to me. In restaurants I usually introduce myself to the server as the “special needs child.” A little humor goes a long way, doesn’t it? At any rate I had such a good time with you. I’m looking forward to seeing you again in September.😀




  • After reading about your harrowing journey home, the title of the post makes perfect sense! I’m so glad that your trip before that was so wonderful. There’s nothing like being with family for the holidays.


    • Dear Joy,

      All traveling woes aside, it was a great Christmas. I don’t regret a moment. Well, I do regret that Jan’s port wine cheese, unopened and sealed I might add, got confiscated.
      Thanks for coming by.




  • I’m glad you had such a wonderful visit with your son and Sarah. The trip home left a lot to be desired but if you’re like me, it was well worth it to spend time with your son!


  • It sounded like a really nice visit….minus the airplane problems of course. It’s wonderful getting together with family and it must have really warmed your heart for Sarah to prepare foods that met with your food restrictions. I’m sure she is a very special daughter-in-law. Thanks for sharing your trip and the photos. I enjoyed reading it.


  • Rochelle,
    it sounds like a good adventure all around, and very worthy of a story. Sarah looks like the twin of a friend of mine who just moved to the Chicago area, but of course, the name is different. This really makes me want to write a story about a man who hijacks an airplane with nothing more than a port wine cheese. I think it has promise.🙂
    Stay warm. If KC is even a bit like it is here, it’s pretty frosty.


    • Dear David,

      Sarah does have a twin, though. I don’t know if you can tell from the photo, but Katie and Sarah are identical. Both very sweet, talented ladies.
      I’ll be interested to read your story of the port wine cheese hijacking.😉
      It’s frigid here, too. At least, this winter I don’t have to get out into the cold or stress over driving to work. Fuzzy robe and jammies are the uniform of the morning.




  • Everyone seems to have either ‘horror stories’ of Christmas/holiday travels, or as Jan put it, ‘adventure’ stories. Happy to hear though you both made it home safe at last. I can imagine how much fun and excitement though it was being with Christian and his girlfriend, and well worth it. Your gift to them (shown above) is awesome, and her art, too is so interesting and with its own story as well, I’m sure.🙂


    • Dear Joyce,

      Without those horror stories where would we writers be? I couldn’t help myself, it was funny while it was happening. Perhaps that’s my own warped sense of humor at work there.
      I should’ve taken more pics of Sarah’s artwork. The chalkboard in the kitchen is only one example. She’s very gifted and for her to react to my gift with tears was the highest compliment she could have given.

      Christian and Sarah came for a visit in August. We spent a day down on the Plaza where I snapped the picture of them kissing in front of one of the fountains. It seemed like a fitting gift for her to paint that shot.



      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, It proves there is, and can always be a story to tell from one’s experience (on their travels, or anything). And one’s artwork, too tells a story, or interpretation of their own journey (in life), literally and figuratively.


    • Dear Susan,

      I echo your sentiment. Last year at this time I would’ve been at work on pins and needles worrying about my 30 mile drive home from work. Today we’re looking at winter advisories through midnight. I’m warm and toasty in my office working on my novel and some paintings. Let it snow indeed.😀



      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle, Very well told story – I could almost see the white knuckles on the chair! We love port wine cheese, having lived in Wisconsin several years and taste-testing just about all flavors while there. A delightful read! Good job! Nan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Nan,

      I’m glad you came by to read. I still haven’t given up on the idea of us meeting in person. Not today of course. Now that I’m retired I can watch the weather and smile…from warm, safe office.

      Thank you.




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