Public Photos from Chamberlain-Hunt (now Oakland Collegiate School).
I was in Indonesia enjoying a weekend with a gal pal Yvonne Jiann...
Both of the boys managed to track me down and call/skype. It was a good day.
Project: wrote NEW lyrics to Lonley Island's MOTHER LOVER video/song. It's so awful and I'd spent the week going through some of the songs I found on one nameless child's itunes account. I sure got myself an education.
Payback was humor.
And deleting those songs!
"What fun last night was! I enjoyed meeting everyone for dinner. Sorry you were not there, but we were thinking of you and anticipating the performance....... which did not disappoint. You were fantastic! The entire play was very good and all of the performances were great. Who knew such a nice person had such an inner "tart"! I loved it and thought you were great."
A dear friend from our church in Singapore has invited me to help pilot a new business: offering a drama camp for elementary kids for 2 hours a day on a week of the school holiday.
I'm enlisting helpers to join me! The neighbour kids who I've done things for over school holidays...but now they are bigger and it's time to GIVE BACK, and roping in my son Cameron to practice filmmaking - his new passion.
This coming June 2 & 3rd we'er focusing on listening to/communing with/worshipping God through Caregiving.
If you're interested in staying in the loop with what we're learning on the 9 Spiritual Temperaments from Gary Thomas' book Sacred Pathways, join us here:
Sacred Pathways with Artists on Facebook.
and a similar one for International Women called "Monthly Mondays"
It was to be Cameron's first flight solo, to new airports he'd never been. He had to fly from Jackson, Mississippi to Greenville South Carolina with a short layover in Charlotte, NC. He was finishing up a 4 week summer school course in the Military School where he would start full-time as a 10th grader in the fall. We had felt that summer school was a good way for him to get to know the school and make some friends as soon as possible, at the begining of his summer break. We had to leave Singapore almost as soon as his school got out in order to get to Mississippi in time for the Chamberlain-Hunt Academy's report date. But otherwise, Cameron would have to wait until their August start, with probably a growing stomach ulcer from pretending for more than two months not to be worried and wondering what it was going to be like.
On the same day he was to finish summer school, I was finishing up a short conference on Applied Theatre in the lovely little southern town of Greenville. This was a mere 2 hour drive to my brother's mountain cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains just north of the Georgia border. A week with the cousins would be a good reward for my young cadet, who in these last 4 weeks had no doubt experienced homesickness for the first time (along with grits, and who know what else!). He certainly would have a realistic idea of what kind of new life was going to be his in the fall. We hoped he'd also have a good dose of regret for not getting his act together regarding his grades and work ethic this past year in 9th grade while he'd been with his parents in his familiar home in Singapore.
Evangeline, a new friend from the conference dropped me at the airport and I immediately went to rent a car before the plane arrived so that we'd be ready to scoot off up the mountain and get to my brother's family cabin before nightfall.
Soon I was waiting near the arrival gate. I enjoyed people watching the characters of the American South. I wondered who they were and who they were there to pick up. One couple caught my eye. Both of them were in their 40's at least, but they didn't seem to be a couple. Him with the scraggly goatee and long blond hair, cowboy's gait and missing tooth. Her, thick around the middle, and around the neck. A mess of hair with long dark roots. Makeup obvious, and obviouly not quite right. Dangling earrings that involved a few feathers. cowboy boots under her knee length housedress. They seemed to be characters from the television show "Justified."
Another very short, round and rather horsey woman was obviously waiting for a passenger on the same flight. She had a friendly demeanor and had her cellphone ready.
A cell phone. Shoot. That was one of the hiccoughs when sending off Cameron to summer school. I had not arranged to get him a cell phone before he left, nearly an entire continent away from those of us staying in California. He was going to be making this maiden flight to meet me without a phone. “He'd be fine,” we all had comforted ourselves. “Imagine;” we reminded ourselves, “we all got along for years before cell phones. Don't worry about it.”
The plane's arrival was late. The gate monitor announced DELAYED with no other explanation. I went down to check with the airline desk. No one at check-in, or at the information counter could give any additional information.
Another 40 minutes went by and the ARRIVALS monitors showed the flight number as arriving to a different gate. This was not a large airport, so the people who'd been at the first gate waiting for this afternoon flight were beginning to obviously take notice of one another. During the waiting, I approached the couple, and the single woman to hear if they knew of anything about the delayed flight.
No sooner had we reached the new gate, then the ARRIVALS information changed to DELAYED again and there was no arrival time posted. "What on earth could be happening?" I commented to the Justified characters within earshot of the single gal.
"I should have fed the horses before I came. They’re gonna be awful hungry by the time I get back." she said confirming my suspicions about her hobbies.
"I don't know about y'all, but I'm gonna get myself a drink," the blonde redneck said as he noticed the bar nearby. We all thought that was a good idea, not knowing how long we were going to be waiting.
I was starting to get more concerned about Cameron being stranded with the delay in the Charlotte airport. I also realized our plan to make it up the mountain was not going to happen before it got dark and wondered how this evening was going to end. I knew it would work out somehow, but I also knew that 15 year old Cam had been a bit nervous about this first flight, and didn’t know if he’d be assertive enough to find out what was going on as he waited to board his transfer flight.
After we ordered our drinks there in Greenville, the single woman decided that she’d call her mom again. I asked her, “Say, would you ask her to look for a teenage boy by himself? A big one with a crew cut. Dark hair. Dark skin. Looking, probably a little lost.”
It didn’t take her mom on the other end of the phone to find Cameron and the woman approached the big boy she saw sitting on the floor with a backpack, wearing a school polo shirt, khaki pants…and holding a pillow. He was quite surprised when the stranger said to him, “Are you Cameron?”
“Yeah.” He answered, and she handed her phone to him. “I’ve got your mom on the phone here.”
Now, I can only imagine what went on in his mind as he took the stranger's cellphone, but I’m pretty sure he rolled his eyes and wondered at my seeming omnipresence even as he was branching out on a life of his own. Three weeks earlier the cadets attended the Presbyterian Church of Port Gibson MS. Though his Californian mom, who lives in Singapore had only spent 3 days of her life in the state of Mississippi, a number of ladies approached him after church knowing he “must be Cameron”, and that they’d met his mom and were going to be “looking out for him.”
“I’ll bet you’re surprised to hear my voice.” I laughed. He did too. “What’s going on with your flight up there bud?”
“I don’t know.” He mumbled, sounding even slightly annoyed, as teenagers often do. But I know he was relieved that we’d connected. “I don’t know. Something…uh, technical.” He had no information.
“Are you okay? Did you get the $50 gift card? Do you have anything to read while you wait?” He was fine. He had money to buy some food, but he had nothing else with him but his pillow; which was okay with him. He said it had been an early morning and he was sleep deprived from the military school regimen so he didn’t mind just snoozing as long as he needed to wait. I was calmer just hearing his voice, knowing that he wasn’t freaking out. The other adults on the Charlotte end of the phone didn’t know how long it might be, so we all just decided for the time being to wait and see what might happen.
The drinks had arrived and I had some fun getting acquainted with these new southern friends. As the Justified blonde man shot back his Jack Daniels, they told me some crazy story about one of them moving up from Florida, and now their older brother was coming down from Charlotte to meet them. They were all going to move back home with their ailing mom in the South Carolina family home in the country. He was out of work, had done some stand up comedy. Meeting these folks was better entertainment than I’d had all week at a drama conference.
I told them a bit about my story and the guy said, “I’m buying your drink. I never bought a drink for a pastor's wife before!”
Another half hour went by and there was still no update from the airline on a time. Whatever the technical problem was they didn’t have a guess how long it would take to fix. We’d already waited more than two hours. That’s when the horse woman mentioned that the drive to Charlotte only takes an hour and a half.
She called her mom, to see if there was any new news on that end.
Evidently, some freak accident had happened to the airplane’s navigation system. It was an extremely hot day, and a random plastic shopping bag had blown past an important antennae sticking out of the aircraft. The bag had gotten caught on it…and then melted. This was causing all the problems: the navigation system didn’t work with the melted plastic on the small wire, and it was proving difficult to remove because of where it was on the outside of the plane. They had no idea how long it would take, nor was there an alternate aircraft available to make this short flight.
We all decided at that point that we were going to drive up to Charlotte to rescue our relatives. We exchanged phone numbers, and our names. The horse woman, Sharon, would lead the caravan, as she knew the way. We described our vehicles and figured out how we would find one another outside of the parking lot, paid for the drinks and for now, put Greenville’s airport to our backs.
Before we left, I’d had another chance to touch base with my son. According to Cameron, he was also quite entertained by the people he was meeting up there. This granny on the other end of the phone was quite a fiery woman! She wasn’t any too happy with the airline and was seeing to it that they indeed could get their luggage off the plane so that they could drive back to Greenville instead of waiting "hell knows how long" for the flight.
“Well, dear," I said, "you stick by her side and we’ll see you in about 90 minutes!”
I easily found a country music station on my rental car and marveled at the adventures of my life.
It was a lovely late afternoon drive along the country highway between South and North Carolina. Since the night before I had been so excited to see Cameron after his month away at school. I had eagerly followed any posts and photos the school put on their Facebook page. The administration did this on behalf the sequestered cadets, and there was a password protected photo site with a batch of photos at the end of each week. We’d received one handwritten letter from him. One. There had also been only one five-minute phone call allowed. Now my eagerness to see him had intensified with the drama of the delay.
Finding our kinfolk in Charlotte wasn’t too difficult, but leaving with their luggage was.
Apparently grandma had been misinformed by the airline personnel, and all their luggage was stuck on the airplane. It wouldn’t be arriving in Greenville until after 9:30. Now I was getting a chance to see the colorful grandma in action over this news, and then the new temporary friends all said our goodbyes in Charlotte with different plans on where we were going from there.
My brother and his family up in the mountains were notified that we wouldn’t be coming up there until morning. Cameron and I found a restaurant off the highway somewhere in the Carolinas. We sat down and had a good catch up over dinner. Back in Greenville, it wasn’t too hard to find a place to stay overnight, and we picked up his duffle bag in Greenville again, after 9:30, without any more trouble.