A fresh new year

The first morning of 2023 dawned a little bit misty over Smith Mountain Lake, and it’s always a good look.

This mist wasn’t so cute last night, though. It derailed our family’s flight into Roanoke’s tiny airport, so much so that our rattled American Airlines flight crew diverted the plane full of rattled passengers to Richmond, Virginia, which is three hours down the road. After some back and forth and a hasty reboarding, the whole thing was canceled.

This is not a New Years Eve hot spot

Instead of decamping to a hotel to try again this morning, the Reynolds crew was rescued by the kind folks at Enterprise Rent-a-Car: we piled in a Camry and drove home, arriving about an hour and a half into the New Year.

On the bright side: we did NOT wake up with hangovers this morning.

And seriously, it’s hard to complain, because we were coming from an amazing destination. Jim and I had enticed our grown-up kids to spend the week after Christmas with us on a trip to Cancun, Mexico.

A very nice sunrise from last week

I took a trip to Cancun back in 1992, right after I’d started my first grown-up job. One of my college friends had just graduated from business school, and she and four friends were going to Cancun to celebrate. My buddy invited me along. While waiting for out taxi to the hotel, one of the friends started talking enthusiastically about playing pinochle during the trip. Trying to be a good sport, I enthusiastically said that I’d love to learn how to play.

“It’s a four-person game,” she replied coolly. And that was just about how the rest of the trip went.

But that was then, this was now. This time around, we absolutely delighted in spending time with the grown-up kids.

And Cancun was lovely. We stayed at the Wyndham Alltra Cancun, an establishment that probably has the nicest people in the whole field of hospitality working for it.

The passageway to our rooms. And also the hot tub

So, lessons for the new year: travel companions make all the difference, a Plan B can save the day, and fog looks a whole lot better in daytime than in the dark.

Happy New Year (and Feliz Año)!

The beginning of big things

We had the excellent experience last weekend of going to our nephew’s high school graduation. It is more fun going to a beloved nephew’s event because as an aunt and uncle, Jim and I can enjoy being supporting characters. Also, we didn’t have to put together the post-graduation brunch.

Our nephew went to a very large high school up in Northern Virginia. Like many local high schools, his commencement exercises were held in the arena located at the university where I work, so it felt a little bit like deja vu from a couple of weeks ago.

I found a large person to sit behind

The ceremony itself was well organized. There was an interesting speech from a member of the school’s security team (“I didn’t know he ever said anything other than ‘Why aren’t you in class?'” remarked Nephew later), and some sincere reminiscences from one of the graduates. As all 680 graduates made their way across the stage, I had time to think about the work that goes into an event like this, as the school tries to balance the students’ (and parents’) desire to get that diploma and get out of there with the need for some solemnity to make the event meaningful. By the time they’d gotten to the second bank of students, some in the stands were leaving their seats and coming back with popcorn.

Afterwards, my sister and brother-in-law hosted the family at their house, and visiting with those folks was obviously the best part of the day.

Nephew is a bit younger than our two kids and the day felt like we were saying goodbye to the kid part of our lives. But despite being (typically) Anne-nostalgic for some of those memories, it really does feel like a commencement. That guy will soon be off to a large university with large adventures ahead. I can’t wait to see where it takes him.