Sunday, April 18, 2004

Chicago working backwards

We got back from Chicago late last night, and I'm still exhausted. How long does it take to get over a trip like this?
We had dinner in Indianapolis on the way home. The experience there made both my daughter and I feel a lot better about the trip. The two of us sat down at a table alone since her six classmates were sitting with each other, and, as usual, they hadn't left any room for her.  We had just been there a couple of seconds, though, before the girls noticed where she was and shoved a bunch of seats together and called her to sit with them. 
I was so thankful to see it, and trying hard to get over my resentment of the fact that they could have done that the whole trip, instead of the last day. I had really taken everything a lot worse than my daughter had. She is the eternal optimist and always ready to forgive and forget.
So, my daughter deserted me, and I was stuck eating dinner by myself, but that was okay because she was happy.
Then I hear someone say, "Are you eating alone? Come sit with us!". I look over and it's one of the other mothers from my bus, at a table with her son and his friend.
I had seen and heard this woman, Allison, talking on the bus for the last four days, and she was by far the most intimidating person of all on this trip. Older, beautiful, self-confident, and loud - totally opposite from me.
With trepidation, I sat down with her, and we talked through supper. And to my surprise, she was absolutely approachable and nice. Not only that, but she had a lot of the same concerns that I did about the trip and how the other kids were treating her child. And also the same concerns about not really knowing the other people on the trip, and the same relief that the trip was almost over!
(Anna: I was thinking of you as I was talking to Allison through this dinner, and how right you were.  This person wasn't intimidating at all once I talked to her, but very nice and normal.  Thank you again!)
As for the last leg of the trip home, Derby Time struck again.  I-65 was closed for THUNDER OVER LOUISVILLE, the nation's largest annual fireworks show and the official kickoff of the KY DERBY FESTIVAL.  The fireworks show is held over the Ohio River.  That's the river we have to cross to get back to Kentucky. 
With I-65 closed, we backtrack our way on the Detour to get on I-64, where traffic was at a standstill.  So the bus got off the interstate and drove through the back roads to get back on I-64 at mile marker 1, which is the last entrance to the interstate before it crosses the river.
So we get on the Interstate and are soon stuck on the bridge over the Ohio River, which is where we happen to be when the fireworks start.
And that's how we got great seats for the 40-minute fireworks extravaganza, keeping the kids and adults close to the windows, and the conversation on the bus soon limited to "OOOH...AHHH...OOOH...AHHH".
The tour guides insisted that they planned it that way, hour delay and all.
I'll write more on the trip next time, working backwards. I am so happy to be home.