Planes, Trains and Automobiles

images[6]“Those aren’t pillows!”

I’m calling my mom’s recent holiday travels, “Planes, Trailers and Greyhound Buses.”

A few days before Christmas, my mom flew out from Palm Springs Airport to spend the holiday with Mr. and me. This was a no-brainer since the one-way ticket was only $99. But, the flight back was quite a bit more. So we decided to play it by ear for how my mom would get back home.

We wanted to fit in a camping trip during the holidays. So after a lovely Christmas Eve dinner and night’s rest, we set out for Quartzsite, Arizona for desert camping in our RV trailer. Brilliant plan! Drive my mom out to Quartzsite with us, give her one night of camping in The Turd (more about “The Turd” in future posts, I promise!). And then, Mr. and I would drive her to Blythe, California to catch a Greyhound bus for the rest of her journey home. Cost of the bus ticket? $38!

Things were going smoothly. After the one night of camping in the trailer, we drove my mom to the Greyhound bus station in Blythe (well, it’s not a “bus station” but rather a gas station/convenience store in a sketchy part of town). The bus rolls in, already packed with people. As the travellers get off the bus in order to grab a quick snack or trip to the loo, I notice a couple of interesting women who will soon be my mom’s traveling companions. The first woman has a doo rag and huge afro pom-pom sticking out of one side of her head. Another woman has the Playboy Bunny logo tattooed… ON HER CHIN!

At this point I’m trying to be optimistic and not judgy wudgy. Funky hair styles and questionable tattoos do not make a person bad or criminal. But just then I noticed other new passengers — four men standing by the bus all dressed alike. They have crisp white t-shirts, gray shorts, and super white sneakers (I mean, Jerry Seinfeld white!). Oh, and they are being escorted by two armed correctional officers. Come to find out that these four ex-cons are also going to be my 70-year-old mom’s traveling companions! One of the correctional officers assured us that the ex-cons are harmless as they are only a “Level 2,” whatever that means.

Despite their criminal history/status, I assure my mom that this is not “Con Air” and that the bus wouldn’t be overtaken by the ex-cons. Thank goodness she believes me (as I’m not so sure at this point). As the bus rolls out I catch a glimpse of my mom clutching to her purse, wide-eyed and prepared for the adventure.

She called when she got home safe and sound. Like Steve Martin’s character, she realized her journey wasn’t so bad.

For me, this was a reminder of just how much we all have in common with one another–regardless of background, regardless of status. What we want most for Christmas is to be with loved ones during the holidays, even if it means traveling by plane, train, car or Greyhound bus.

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