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Picking Up Where We Left Off

June 23, 2008

This past weekend my mom and I resumed our tradition of a mother daughter quilt show trip, something we missed doing in 2006 and 2007 because of her health problems. I decided that the NQA show in Columbus, Ohio would be a good choice, as it’s a show and a city we’ve been to before so we’d have some level of familiarity to ease the stresses of travel, and it would be a short flight from Chicago for Mom. (And no flight at all for me since it’s a reasonable drive from Detroit. Oh, the joy of being able to pack my toiletries without having to segregate things based on their form and container size! My mascara could stay in my makeup bag! My larger-than-3-ounces saline solution and sunscreen didn’t have to be exiled to my suitcase! I could keep my shoes and coat and belt on the whole way there if I wanted to!)

At 9 o’clock Thursday morning, three hours before my targeted noon departure time and seven hours before Mom’s plane was due to land in Columbus, I was futzing around online while I cooled down from my run. I should have been packing, as I barely managed to complete that task before pulling out of my driveway at around 12:15. My trip down was quite nice; I’d chosen a route with a scenic portion I’d never done before and made a couple stops to take pictures, so by the time I got to the airport I didn’t have very long to wait at all before Mom was wheeled out of the secure area by the nice young man from airport services. Mom’s suitcase appeared in baggage claim soon after we got there; unfortunately, her walker did not. The baggage services lady called up to the gate to see if it was there; it was not. She checked the system and saw that it was scanned in at O’Hare but not out to Columbus. Good thing Mom doesn’t absolutely need it to get around. Because Mom had left her cane at home, we went to get a replacement after we checked into the hotel; it was a good thing we’d gotten directions from the front desk because the Walgreen’s was in a stealth strip mall, with storefronts so tasteful that they were barely recognizable as places to shop—they could have been offices or even homes, all stone and brick and brushed metal.

Friday morning we found that the walker had been delivered while we slept, so we proceeded with our plan to see the quilt show that day. Mom was able to do more than I’d expected. She looked at all the quilts and went up and down all the vendor aisles; her walker has a seat built in, so she could rest whenever she needed to. We were both disappointed that our favorite vendor wasn’t there, though of course there was still plenty to see and shop for. I took over 500 pictures at the show, so it’ll take me at least a few days to sort through them and get a set up on Flickr. (Edited to say: the set is up.)

Saturday I performed the amazing feat of getting up and going for a run even though I was a) on vacation and b) not preparing for a race the following weekend the way I had been when I was in Washington earlier this month and went running on vacation for the first time ever. I managed to get in two and a half miles without even having to leave the office/lodging/restaurant park our hotel was in. Post-breakfast, Mom and I went to the Ohio Historical Museum to see the quilt exhibit there, which was pretty small but did have a few gems in it. As long as we were there we also toured the Pulitzer Prize photo exhibit, which was mostly pretty depressing but did have some uplifting images, like the 1968 winner The Kiss of Life). We had lunch in German Village at a place that had been recommended by a woman mom met at the quilt show. The food was very tasty, and a baby at a table nearby provided us with mealtime entertainment—when the grownups’ beer arrived, he grabbed one of the mugs, then cried when it was moved out of his reach, then took the toy he’d been given as a distraction and threw it across the table, then made adorable faces while he ate the lemon slice he’d been given in place of the rejected toy—very cute. For our afternoon’s entertainment, we drove to Ohio’s biggest outlet mall and looked at approximately 20% of it before achieving our mission (a dress for me, luggage tags for Mom) and heading back to the hotel for a cozy evening in.

Sunday morning we went to the Franklin Park Conservatory, which we really enjoyed and will go back to explore more if we return to Columbus sometime. Then I took Mom to the airport and got her checked in and watched her clear security with the wheelchair guy’s help before getting whisked down the concourse and out of my sight. I drove home through several bands of rain storms, which were nice enough to mostly let up when I wanted to stop and take pictures at several old cemeteries I’d seen on the way down but hadn’t been able to visit then due to the time constraint I was under. (After I sort the quilt show pictures, I’ll need to sort the tombstone pictures and get some of those up—there were a lot of interesting markers.)

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