Now when they got to the house, there was no sign of Mary. The realtor had given the sheriff her spare key…she had the keys to most of the houses in town. The sheriff and the deputy wandered through the house looking for clues…..nothing seemed out of place…..the fridge had been emptied of all but a jar of marmalade and a bottle of sweet chili sauce, so it seemed that Mary’s absence was was purposeful, but she hadn’t told anyone at all where she had gone…… All they could do was to reassure Mary’s family and friends that wherever Mary had gone, it had been purposeful, and as she hadn’t turned the electricity and gas off, it seemed that she intended to return home…at some stage, so it was just a case of waiting.
Now Mary, unbeknownst to everyone (including her family), had decided to save up all her fuel dollars and give herself what she thought would be her last and final fling…a cruise through the Carribean on a big, glorious ship – the Queen Elizabeth. The journey required a flight to Miami, and flying was something else she had never done, so the whole thing was starting to resemble a real adventure!!!! Mary had contacted a travel agent in a big city well away from home and they had organised her itinerary for her…Mary didnt have to do anything but pack and call a cab. Yet, no-one knew of any of this and Mary quietly giggled to herself…this was the first time in her 89 years that she had ever done something for herself and by herself! She never even considered that family and friends would worry about her while she was away.
On the first Tuesday in March, a taxi pulled up at 5am, well before the neighbours were awake and spirited Mary away on her big adventure. An hour’s cab ride took her to the airport and due to her advanced age, there was no shortage of willing young helpers to get Mary’s luggage inside the terminal and indeed all the way to the checkin counter…it seemed that she could have been everyone’s grandmother! After checking in and padding through security in her stockinged feet, the agent suggested that Mary get a cup of coffee and then go down to Gate 26 to wait for her flight to Florida…..she was fascinated by the comings and goings of families with young children, teenagers toting backpacks, business people in their suits with briefcases and the flight board listing flights to almost anywhere you could imagine!! The butterflies started as soon as she finished her coffee and got even more fluttery as her plane taxied into the airport and disgorged its passengers! It was starting…the adventure she’d saved up for ages!!!!
(to be continued)