A year ago one of my very best friends moved to Alabama. And she doesn’t like it there. She’s even written about it on this very website. I don’t like her being there either, as it is way too far away from me, and it annoys me greatly that her gorgeous little boy will likely grow up with a southern accent.
I am one of the few people that has not yet visited my dear Abbie since her big move. With work and Lulu and Trent’s business, plus family obligations that seem to take over our lives every summer and holiday season, there was just never any time (or money) to get ourselves down to Auburn. And every time Abbie came home to Kansas, she’d beg me to come visit.
So a few months ago, I decided I was going to visit her. Somehow, someway, I was going to figure out how to get myself down to Alabama and to my dear Abbie. The first plan involved a lot of driving, and an early summer visit. The second also involved a lot of driving, and a Fourth of July weekend. Both ideas quickly fizzled, and I never mentioned them to Abbie. I couldn’t bear to get her all excited, and then crush her when the plans didn’t work out. I told myself I wouldn’t tell her I was coming until I was absolutely sure I would be there.
During this time, I contacted her husband, Luke, another friend of ours from high school. He and I went back and forth with schedules, dates, places, ideas…and when I was just about to give up and start planning for next year, they had an opening in their schedule for a late weekend in August. I checked with Trent, and amazingly, the stars aligned and he was able to take off that weekend as well. We called up our saviors, Trent’s parents, who’ve always offered to send us on a trip since we were never able to take a honeymoon, and asked if the offer for plane tickets still stood. They asked us when and where, and before we knew it, we had three tickets booked to take us to Destin, Florida for four days. Luke’s grandparents have a condo on the beach in Destin, and he was going to tell Abbie they were going for one last summer weekend before his work picked up in the fall. The plan was set.
Now, it was never going to be a surprise. But weeks went by, and I never found a reason to tell Abbie. Somehow I kept it a secret. And so did Luke, Luke’s grandparents, Luke’s mother, Abbie’s parents and all of Abbie and I’s friends (thanks Mara and Hayley for keeping your mouths shut!). And last week as Monday rolled around, I realized this was really going to happen. It was going to be the best surprise of all time!
And then three hurricanes started swirling around in the Atlantic, with one heading right for Destin. Once they, thankfully, fizzled out, the forecast remained wrought with thunderstorms and predicted awful weather. But we trucked on, getting up at 3 a.m. to make our very early flight out of Kansas City. Then Delta Airlines proved once again to be the most awful airline on the planet when they held us on the runway for two hours due to weather, promised us we wouldn’t miss our connecting flight, then when we did miss that flight, promised us we’d be on the next flight out, then told us we actually were not on that flight and we’d have to wait until 7:40 p.m. (All the while I was unable to air my grievances on Twitter, since I didn’t want Abbie finding out our secret. So sorry Twitter peeps, for all the cryptic tweets!) Our plans to get to the condo hours before Luke and Abbie quickly crumbled as we all scrambled to keep the secret while scheduling new airport shuttles and tickets. Luke and his mother had the unfortunate job of convincing the ever-sleepy Abbie to stay awake late enough to see us when we got in, texting me over and over that she kept trying to go to bed and they were running out of excuses.
Trent and Lu in the Memphis Airport during our ten hour delay. Thank god for iPods and iPhones. Taken with my iPhone and edited with Camera Bag.
But we made it. Somehow, someway, we walked into that condo on the beach, under the cover of night, ten hours past our planned arrival, and walked out on the balcony where my dear Abbie was waiting. I wish I had a good video or a picture of her face, but with the dark night, none turned out. Let me tell you something, it was hilarious. Her eyes were huge and her mouth hung open, and she just sat there, silent, like she didn’t believe it.
The only video we were able to get in the darkness of our arrival. Again, taken with the iPhone.
In fact, just yesterday she called me, after we had all returned home, and said, “I think it’s just now hitting me. Did that really happen?”
Yup, it did. A few bumps along the way, but it totally did.