October 1-October 4, 2011:

The saga of getting home starts with endings. I got a hair cut, tea with Christine in her sitooterie, dinner with Debby and Bob, and repacked everything once again, mailing home stuff that was too heavy to carry and that made closing the suitcase impossible.

Then bright and early Sunday morning, I put my stuff into the car and drove over to Debby’s house as she will have my car for the winter. Then she drove me–without trouble, though at times it was bucketing down–to the airport.

The Scottish and airplane portion of the trip was entirely without note. I got settled in quickly, no problem with bags, nice folks sitting next to me. I watched (for the first time) GranTorino with Clint Eastwood, and a forgettable Owen Wilson film (aren’t they all?) about Paris and time travel. I liked the bit parts–Hemingway, Scott and Zelda, Dali, and especially Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein, but the rest–feh!

But once I got to the US, the trip turned into a saga. At Newark airport, it took over an hour to get through customs. (If I’d gone straight on to Hartford, customs usually takes at most fifteen minutes.) The bus into the city was late. Dropped at Port Authority, I couldn’t find a cab for over twenty-five minutes. It was shift change, and all the taxis zipped past with their Off Duty lights on. (There were NONE at the taxi line in front of Port Authority.) Finally, I hauled my ever-increasingly heavy two bags and bottle of single malt for my host along two avenue blocks and five streets in the rain looking for a cab. My bag fell over, twisting my fingers and ripping off half of my fourth finger’s nail so hard there was blood.

At last a cab and then a second materialized. Got me uptown. I fell onto my friend’s guest bed crying, “Sanctuary!”

We had an early dinner, but my body whispered seductively, “You have turned into a pumpkin.” Because–of course–six o’clock in New York is elven o’clock in St Andrews. I (wo)manly stayed up till 8:30, then said goodnight to mine host, and fell into the aforementioned bed and stone-slept until 5 a.m.

The next morning the train was an hour late. Which made, with my various delays, the trip from Newark to Hatfield (I am not counting sleep time or dinner/breakfast time) longer than my flight across the Atlantic. The hours just don’t add up. I have to find a better way home.

Greeting me at home– besides my love granddaughters Glen and Maddison, and the ever wonderful daughter Heidi–my first copy of THINGS TO SAY TO A DEAD MAN, a copy of SISTER BEAR, several reprint pieces in anthologies, etc. News that a favorite illustrator of mine has signed up to do YOU NEST HERE WITH ME. And several copyedited mss. will be heading my way any minute.

Heidi and I went clothes shopping and we bumped into our dear friend Angela DiTerlizzi and her marvelous daughter Sophia. I scored big in the clothing buy, necessary since I left a lot of stuff (of course) in Scotland. And I managed to go to hear poet Jane Hirschfield (an old friend from our teaching days at Centrum writing conference) do her Q&A session with Smith students but there was no way I could stay up for her reading later. Jetleg was (and is) still dogging me.

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