The Short Hop to Los Angeles
Our drive to the Sacramento airport (with daughter-in-law G on the wheel and grandson Adrian on a kiddie car seat), the check-in and security processes, plus the long walk and train ride to the departure area, is longer than our flight to LA.
I catnap as soon as I put my seat belt on. When I wake up, we are taxiing on the runway.
Compared to Stockton, LA is a beehive. There is a super long queue to the Avis rent-a-car that lasts two hours. Famished from all the waiting, we drop by Panera, one of Adrian’s favorite eating places, to grab some salad and sandwiches before another hour drive to our destination: Tony’s side of the family.
I have forgotten that everything about the US is expansive, with all the synonyms of big—roads, parking lots, food servings, even sidewalks. No wonder second son always comments when he comes home to the Philippines for a visit, “This house seems much smaller than I remember.”
The rambling house of Tony’s cousin, L, sits on a half-acre lot, with two huge living rooms, one with a fountain and a pond filled with colorful Koi, and lots of spare bedrooms. Tony and I are assigned one, G and Adrian (joined by second son a few hours later) are assigned another, all complete with amenities not often offered in hotels or inns.
Tony and L were playmates in childhood, but they have not seen each other since they-both-can’t-remember. Therefore, everything—both physical and emotional—is super large and overflows.
From my side of the family, a nephew organizes a mini reunion. Fifteen of them— nieces who were babies when they left the Philippines, new in-laws, etc.— come from all areas of LA. The joy of hugging kin one sees only on FB over the years go beyond words. I try to document everything with my trusty old camera and hope that my battery, with a charger that doesn’t fit in any socket here, won't conk out on me.
Tony’s aching right knee is eased with Tylenol and with the cane he brought with him from home. I take my anti-allergy pills to lull me to sleep so my resistance can hold with our youthful schedule.
In Los Angeles, grace has been abundant.
It flew us here on a short hop to reunite with people dear to our hearts. We leave for another place in three days, but already the airplane in my mind is packed to maximum with memories.