Part 2 – Fear of Flying…and more

Posted at May 19, 2016 2:48 pm

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Yes, I may have been inclined—called, even—to set a book in South Africa. 

But no, I never, ever wanted to actually go there, for goodness’ sakes.

Not ever, I adamantly add once again, just in case anyone didn’t catch that the first time. When it came to writing the book, I’d always figured I had two great research resources, namely, Jennifer and Google. Why would I spend a small fortune to go someplace so far away – especially with two kids in college when extra funds weren’t exactly overflowing?  A trip there seemed unnecessary, and honestly, for a not-so-adventurous type like myself, kind of scary.   

So approximately six months after the most disappointing writers’ conference of my life when Jennifer phoned out-of-the-blue, as always I was glad to hear from her. 

Until she mentioned the real reason for her call.

“I don’t know how to tell you this,” she said, “but I’m going back to South Africa next month to work with the ladies, and I keep having this feeling…” She paused momentarily.  “I feel very pressed to invite you to come along.”

Talk about stunned speechless.  That was me.  Until a litany of excuses began pouring from my mouth.

“Oh, well, see, I don’t think I can do that, Jennifer,” I started in.  “I mean, mostly because Mark and I are actually talking about going to Florida next month for a vacation, and I really don’t think we can do both trips. So since we’re already planning on heading south, I mean, there’s the money issue…and work to think about. Because you’re always away for like a couple of weeks, right? I don’t think I could get that much time off.  And plus that wouldn’t be fair to my husband, since it’s his vacation time, too.  And I wouldn’t want to go all the way to South Africa without him. ”

After my lengthy dissertation, Jennifer offered simply, “He can come too.” 

Poof! Immediately one of my excuses dissipated into thin air! While across the room, my husband was overhearing my side of the conversation and making questioning eyes at me.

“It’s Jennifer.  She’s talking about us going to Africa with her.” I gave him the lowdown.


I was truly shocked to see how his eyes brightened at the suggestion. Or was that just the glimmer of the setting sun shining through the window?  I was sure hoping it was the sunlight.

“But I was just telling her we’re planning to go to Florida, and we can’t do both, so…”

He shrugged – I thought it meant that he was in total accord with me until he said, “But we can go to Florida anytime, can’t we?”

I have to say at that point I was feeling just the slightest bit betrayed, and very much dumbfounded by my husband’s response.  And it wasn’t true anyway.  It’s not like we ever zipped down to Florida on a whim. I stared at him, thinking I could get him to back down and change his thinking with my imploring eyes.  But he didn’t seem to be picking up on the intent in my expression. Instead he continued, “And we’ve always said we wanted to go on a mission trip at some point in time.”

Yeah, but to South Africa?  Seriously?  I felt like I was being hemmed in on both sides. 

“Listen…” Jennifer was saying on the other end of the phone, “I know it’s late notice.  But if you guys are even thinking about going, I’ve made arrangements for discount flights with my neighborhood travel agent.” She gave me the name and number of the agency.  “But Friday – tomorrow – is the last day for those rates.  However, the agent told me you can book the flights tomorrow to get the rate and have the weekend to think about things.  If you decide against the trip, you can cancel on Monday without any penalties.”

Well, now…that sounded doable.  I had an entire weekend to get out of a trip I didn’t want to make! I let out a breath I didn’t even realize I was holding. I reluctantly agreed to make the reservations.

Dutifully, that Friday morning I called the travel agency and booked our flights, truly thinking I’d be cancelling the reservations by Monday.

But then came Friday afternoon.  Which brought one surprise.  And then another.

After lunch I fetched the mail as usual.  All of it much the same, a few advertisements and a couple of bills.  But then…there was an envelope that stood out from the rest.  Something from a legal firm.  Were we in some kind of trouble I didn’t know about?

Opening it up, I saw it wasn’t trouble at all.  Just a short note explaining that we’d been included in a class action lawsuit involving the music recording industry – something we’d never known about.  And the result?  A settlement check for $1250.00.


A few hours later, our daughter pulled up in the drive.  She’d decided to come home from college for the weekend to catch up on her rest.  Oh, and she just happened to have a letter with her from the university, explaining that there’d been a miscalculation in regard to her tuition.  According to their records, we were due a reimbursement. (For real?) Enclosed with that letter was a second check – this one also over $1000.00.

The grand total of our surprises that afternoon?  Just what we needed to pay for our two flights to – you guessed it – South Africa.

Neither my husband nor I could believe it.

Obviously, there was no more talk.  Nothing left to decide.

It seemed we were meant to travel the other side of the world.


…to be continued



2 responses to “Part 2 – Fear of Flying…and more”

  1. Jacalyn says:

    Dude, right on there brorhet.

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