“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

Wheels Up

Dear Kay,
It’s been a hairy morning, I tell you. Remind me to plug in the earphones next time I’m waiting for a flight.
I’m sitting at the airport gate, knitting away, and realize I am in the midst of a high school group from Kentucky going to New York for the first time. They all wear lanyards with their names written in Sharpie on them. “You will be wearing these for four days,” their teacher says. “Do not under any circumstance take them off.” I think about what could happen should a fifteen-year-old from Bowling Green remove her lanyard while wandering the streets of Manhattan.
Guy wearing a football jersey with the number 81 on the back looks into the backpack of a non-talking skinny guy sitting across from him and says: “Dude, did you bring a book?” You rat! I think. What a crummy thing to say!
Master of the Universe behind me has a completely intelligible conversation about how he is going to Boulder to fire Gene Hankins (name changed to protect the poor sales rep in Colorado who will be having a very bad day tomorrow). (Memo to all sales reps in Boulder, Colorado: one of you is going to have a very bad day tomorrow.) Master is clearly stoked at the prospect of dropping the guillotine. You smug weasel!
Two women who run a dress shop in Nashville are going to New York to buy for the store. “I tried on those jeans, the ones with the really low pockets, and they don’t even fit. And they’re even my size. The pockets. Are. Too. Low.” Too-low pockets? I never thought about that. A whole new thing to worry about!
Burly guy, shaking his head: “So they walk out of the doctor’s office, thinking that the aneurysm was not going to ever be a problem, guy drops dead right there in the parking lot.”
Jeez, people, stop talking! You’re creeping me OUT! I cannot take this!
As I board the plane, I look into the cockpit as I always do (how do they keep track of all those dials? They surely can’t), and I see a crew member’s hat hanging on a hook. Inside is photo of a woman and her baby. He keeps them right next to his head. Aw, man, this is just too much.
I’ve got a picture of the fellas as close to my head as I can manage without sort of pasting it on my forehead. It’s funny: the older they get, the harder it is for me to leave them. I thought it would be the other way around, that the more independent and rational they got (OK, that’s a work in progress, and I’m still working on rationality myself), the less of a pang I would feel. They’ll be fine. They know I’m coming back. But as I woke up David to say ciao, I had a ferocious urge to toss him in a tote bag and bring him with me. Doesn’t weigh much; he’s great company. I almost had the chance to bring Clif with me, because he wrapped his legs around mine like an orangutan and hung on. Marsupial. “Have a great adventure,” he said.
A minute later, Hubbo said the same thing. At this point, it’s nine in the morning, and I’ve already had plenty of adventure. I’m hardly, even, in New York or anything.
Love,
Ann

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35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. now that made me feel all gooey inside… have a lovely adventure with Kay on THE tour,
    xo P

  2. Maybe Kay will give you a lanyard, too, so you won’t get lost. Also, no aneuyrisms or dropping dead allowed. You can’t get fired, since you’re a world-famous author. Your kids will just rack up the long-distance calls and it’ll be like you’re with them.
    So basically, you just have to worry about your pockets, and I can’t really help you there….

  3. Maybe the lanyards are some sort of magical protection–you know to keep them safe from all of the kryptonite hidden on the streets of Manhattan–or maybe they say, “if found please return to Bowling Green” Fly safe and enjoy NY.

  4. Isn’t saying goodbye and letting go of children the hardest? The easier it gets for them (or so it seems), the harder it is for us. Have a great trip and book tour….enjoy.

  5. That’s a great entry, Ann. I hope you have a great trip. And I hope something disappointed Master of the Universe. Jerk. :)
    xox

  6. I’m with Polly — now I feel all gooey inside. How the heck am I supposed to go to my Very Important (snicker!) Meeting and be a hard-ass NOW? Sheesh!

  7. Your book arrived on my porch yesterday, YIP-PEE!!
    Last night I had it open while I was supposed to be listening to my 12 year old daughter studying for her science test. She likes to read the chapter aloud to me to review. Trouble was every few minutes I would burst out laughing, the first time she thought it was in response to the 7th grade textbook she was reading. She caught on quickly that it was not Darwin’s theory of evolution that was so amusing…and that her mother was paying absolutely no attention to her homework

  8. I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for the brilliant book which arrived yesterday. It’s almost as good as having you guys in my sitting room!
    Charlotte

  9. A great big “Have a great adventure” from me, too. Wish I could be there!

  10. Doncha love air travel? People watching in the airport is more fun than TV. BTW, I got your book in the mail yesterday and I’ve already expanded my project list by…well, let’s just say a lot…LOVE IT!
    Enjoy NY!

  11. Note to Football player re: looking like a geek — you have your name on a card around your neck. ‘Nuff said.

  12. Ann,
    My dad is a commercial airline pilot, and I just have to say: they know what every darn one of those buttons and knobs do! I have asked him a million times in my very serious, you’re-really-just-faking-it-aren’t-you voice. After 30 years in the cockpit, you’d hope they should know. ; )
    etheral

  13. Awww. Ann. Not to worry! We’ll take great care of you up here!!!

  14. You are right, headphones make all the difference. I pull out my knitting and become absorbed in that as well when I travel.
    My knitting pal brought your book to our group last night, and it is obvious that I need my own copy, since I didn’t have time to absorb everything. I was especially intrigued by the Euroflax honeycomb cushion cover, which looks very similar to a monochrome stitch I’ve been using.
    Have a great trip, wish you were stopping through NC!

  15. I was in NYC last weekend and dragged my sister into the Borders at Columbia Circle to go look for your book.
    I had over-filled my carry on, so didn’t buy it in NY… but had fun looking at it. Will be looking for it in the lower state tax area that I live in … and try to find someone to accompany me to your appearance in DC!

  16. Note to self: beg/borrow/steal an iPod before plane travel next month. And see if the 5 year old will fit in my backpack.
    Have a great trip. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that when I get back into my office tomorrow morning, your book will be waiting in my mail slot for me! Very Excited!

  17. I know all about those pangs when leaving the house on a trip. I usually hire a car service to drive me to airport and the driver wonders why this crazy woman has tears the entire way.

  18. Kay and Ann’s Most Excellent Adventure. Is that going to be the movie title? Proper.

  19. moms leaving sons.
    it starts to get hard once they can bathe themselves. i think its hardest when they go off to college and you realize that they are going to eat, sleep, walk, talk, laugh, cry and live a life that you will no longer share.
    i couldn’t enter my son’s room for at least a month after he left for Carleton (when I did enter, it was a disaster area…). every time he leaves again, a little hole opens in my soul.
    enjoy those boys who cling like orangutans (did you have to use spell check on that word?)
    enjoy the book tour.
    i am off to log cabinize. the book inspires me.

  20. Sounds like pretty entertaining eavesdropping, really….

  21. I take care of my parents, I have absolute panic attacks everytime I leave town. Now, everytime something has gone wrong I have been in town nothing has ever happened while I have been away but it doesn’t matter.
    Don’t wprry about the pocket too low thing. Chances are you have tried a pair on and not bought it. Whne the pockets are too low and you walk the pocket bunches up under the bum and is uncomfortable. Jeans like this don’t sell unless the person doesn’t try on or it’s on clearance for $5. Trust me, I’m a professional.

  22. My book is on its way to me. Not sure if it will be here when you guys are in DC. Not sure if I will be able to hit the Politics and Prose stop. As I leave on vacation the next day! Have a GREAT tour!

  23. I always find interesting conversations when flying in Nashville. Although, my group from Kentucky went to New York by bus when I was in high school, and I really *really* wouldn’t want to be 15 and walking around that city with my name plastered on me. At least they are hopefully having a good spring break (as I am reminded that it is indeed spring break by the influx of professorial children running around our office today).
    I hope New York is ready for you! I would love to be visiting up there right now (just to not be in icky Bowling Green).

  24. Aw Ann — what a morning.
    My book arrived yesterday — but I’m out of town till tomorrow — so won’t get to see it till then. I bought it sight unseen based on all I’ve been reading about it in blogland.
    Please come to Indianapolis — or somewhere close. I’d really love to meet you both!

  25. Hopefully you have a better experience with your seat mate on the plane. Or maybe have a drink or three.

  26. I think I have to disagree with Ms. B. G. Teacher. Do you really want to have these children advertising their NAMES on the street in NYC? Perhaps Boy with Book will tuck his under his shirt.
    One day I had to put (soon-to-be-knitting-world-famous) James on a plane to New Zealand all by himself at age 18. I held it together until he walked down the jetway. I was very proud that I didn’t blubber in front of him. But I’m sure Hubbo, David, and Lil’ Clif will bond in much masculinity and will be truly thrilled to see you when you get home. Makes it worth it.

  27. Go Ann Go!

  28. I think airports are the best places for being an eavesdropper. Such fab conversation! (And it is even better when you have your headphones on, but no music is playing. Then people think you can’t hear, but you are listening to every torrid, awful detail.) I guess this is why I love to write. I’m absurdly nosey.

  29. I’m with Mary Neal. Nothing says “mug me” like your name around your neck.
    Can’t wait to see you on Friday. So glad your adventure is bringing you to Philly!

  30. Just wanted to tell you that my Grandma cut out a picture and little write-up about your book from Parade magazine…and she sent it to me! Awww! Have fun ladies…I’m still trying to get to Kansas City to meet you two.

  31. I know just how you are feeling, heading off on a grand adventure… Tomorrow morning I am leaving at 8 a.m. for Japan (for 12 days). I’ve been nauseous with nerves for two days straight. I’m also having a hard time leaving home (although for me, it’s boyfriend and cats, being that I have no kids so far).
    I know we will both be fine and have just loads of fun and new experiences. And hey, you know you’ve got the marvelous Kay to escort you around… I’m staying in a homestay with families I’ve never met. How exciting!
    Best of luck and safe travel!

  32. Ah, the sadness of family goodbyes! It does get more complicated later on. I’ll follow you to New York this weekend (damnit you’ll be in DC by then), saying goodbye to daughter and husband here so I can visit with oldest daughter in college there.
    Then again, that exhilaration when I walk out of the terminal at JFK makes it all worth it and more. Surely to be on one’s very first, fine book tour is like virtual champagne-drinking! enjoy the party!

  33. Ipods are worth their weight in gold. I am convinced of it. Until last week, I wondered why all the kids love Ipods so much. Last week, I bought one and figured it out for myself.
    Can’t wait to see the book, Ann and Kay!

  34. Is it now possible again to take knitting on the plane?

  35. Ladies, how about a trip through lovely Hartford, CT? Maybe on your next NY loop? We’d love to have you come to our local yarn store in West Hartford, Sit ‘N Knit (though I am not the owner!). I’m a southerner living in yankee-land so I really appreciate what you say. Love the book, linked it on my blog. You guys rock!