Road Warrior

This is Patrick, my nephew, who enlisted in the Marines after graduating from college two years ago. He is the reason for my most recent trip back. Patrick has been stationed in Okinawa for the past two years and had not had enough leave time to return to the states. In March, he returned to San Diego, CA to start training for his deployment to Afghanistan – which he volunteered for – in June.

I got up on Wednesday morning, April 1, at 3:00 for my 5:30 flight out of Saskatoon. I flew into Minneapolis for my connecting flight to Boston. I arrived in Boston at 2:30 and caught the 3:30 bus to Bangor. At 8:45, I finally arrived in Bangor to the welcoming arms of Patrick and my sister, Kathy. Oh my gosh, it was so, so wonderful to see Patrick! He has really matured over the past couple of years. He is still very much a staunch republican and very opinionated, but he is also, very, very funny and he puts up with his auntie!!!

Wednesday and Thursday night we spent in Bangor. On Friday, my sister had a weekend long seminar to attend in Augusta. So, the original plan was to drive down to Augusta and drop her off at the hotel. I then was going to take her car and drive Patrick to the Portland airport to catch a flight to New York City where he was meeting up with many of his friends from college for the weekend.

On our way to Augusta, we learned that Patrick’s flight had been canceled due to weather….did I mention that it was raining hard and closer to the ocean, it was very foggy? So, we looked at other options…a bus or train out of Portland to Boston or NYC, flights out of Boston. Patrick got an 8:00 flight out of Boston. So, I drove him to Boston from Augusta….about a 3 1/2 hour trip. Right before we got to Logan airport, he got another call that flight had been postponed until midnight.

He then made arrangements to meet another buddy, who lives in Boston, to pick him up so he could visit with him and not sit at the airport for six hours. I turned around and headed back to Maine. At 8:30, I arrived in Cape Elizabeth, visited with my girlfriend for awhile and then went to sleep. It was such a difficult night of driving. The roads were wet, it was foggy and very difficult to even see the white lines for the lanes.

Saturday morning, I was up and out the door to head back to Augusta to visit and spend the night with my dad. It was a nice visit but it was overshadowed with much concern for my stepmother. She had recently gone to the Dr and test had revealed a cyst on her brain. They had a consultation with the neurologist this past Wednesday. So, the waiting was very challenging for everyone. I am pleased to write that the appointment was yesterday and the cyst is not as serious as anticipated. The Dr said that it is filled with fluid and that it is not life threatening. The rarely operate on such cyst as they have not seen any improvement when they have. So, we are all very grateful and relieved.

The rest of my visit went well. Dad and I enjoyed watching the semi-finals for the Final Four basketball games. He has turned into such a sports buff in his retirement years!!

Sunday, I picked up Kathy and we headed back to Portland to get Patrick at the airport and then they dropped me off at home. Monday, I returned to Boston, by bus, and spent the night at the Hyatt airport hotel as my flight on Tuesday was at 6:00 AM. I arrived back in Saskatoon, very tired, at noontime.

I am so grateful that I was able to spend such quality time with my nephew. One of the questions I asked him is knowing what he knows now, would he enlist again? He thought long and hard before answering…his reply was, he would sign-on again but as an officer and not as an enlistee. He has applied twice for officer’s training and both times, his paperwork has not made it to the proper place to be considered for the officer’s program. It is such a shame, he is a bright, young man and the military just isn’t using him to his full potential.

This time around, David did very well without me. There seems to be very little “re-adjustment time” required to get back into the routine. He has a long four-day weekend for Easter and we are heading out to Banff/Lake Louise area in Alberta tomorrow. He is looking forward to it as he hasn’t been anywhere since arriving here in Saskatoon.

I am looking forward to the trip as I have always wanted to go to the Banff area. It is supposed to be gorgeous! We are driving and it will take us about 8 hours to get there. I am also looking forward to having “prime time” with David…..it will be a nice get-away.

The weather has finally turned. I feel as though I should be wearing a T-shirt that says “I survived a winter in Saskatoon”. I am certain the locals would find it funny…like, “what’s to great about that?”. Anyway, the days are sunny, sunny, sunny…a great mood lifter….and the temps are in the high 40s to low 50s. The trails on the amazing trail system they have here are clear and it isn’t a health-hazard to walk on them.

I must get to my daily chores and packing. I wish all of you a joyous and blessed Easter. Please remember my nephew and all of our troops in your prayers.

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