Free Write Friday, Kellie Elmore: Tulips

English: Cultivations of Tulips in South Holla...

English: Cultivations of Tulips in South Holland Italiano: Coltivazioni di tulipani dell’Olanda Meridionale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Today you have been granted the opportunity to go anywhere, do anything, meet anyone, travel in time…whatever you wish, it is yours. Now, there’s a catch. (Isn’t there always?) When you wake up tomorrow… you will not remember any of it.Would you still choose to take the offer? Can you drink in the moment and enjoy it knowing you will have no recollection of what happened? Think about it?  How important is a memory?”

Part 1:

I would hop on a first class plane, sipping orange juice and amaretto on my flight to Holland. I stretch my legs and marvel at how wonderfully everybody treats you when you are sitting in first class. I have a menu in my hands and I need to pick what I want to eat for dinner. I decide on the Surf and Turf for my entrée, happy not to have to pick just one item. After the flight attendants take everyone’s order they pass around trays of appetizers: mini lobster rolls, Brie or St. André cheese and crackers, pulled pork sliders and chicken salad with chutney in phyllo dough. Loving food, as I do, my tastebuds are dancing with joy loving the different sensations in my mouth.

I sleep for three hours and by that time the pilot announces our descent which brings me right into the airport/and waiting limousine to take me to the Tulip Festival, now in full bloom. I bask in the beautiful scenery, the rows of color: red, pink, rose, orange, green that stand in line like tiny soldiers. I drink up the sight and as fresh, cold bubbly spring water quenches my thirst, these rows of tulips fill another need. The primordial need to see beauty .  Rows upon rows of beautiful tulips, in every color, so vast that you think it is a prop from a movie. Yes, it is real and the gigantic proportions make me feel like an insect crawling on the freshly mowed grass. The scent of the grass tickles my nose and I laugh.

I am here, at the tulip festival, a place I have always wanted to see. I am giddy, my cheeks are pink from the excitement, like the color of one of the rows of tulips, my body trembles. I sit down on one of the many benches they provide for tourists, wooden slated benches, simple, nothing overdone, they mustn’t out-do the beauty ahead of them. Looking around me there are other people, each one, staring at the beautiful scene in front of us. There is no litter here, just rows of flowers, tilting their heads to the sun. Some tourists try to take photographs but you can’t capture an entire field in a photograph. Or the smell. The smell in the air is clean, fresh, with a hint of sweetness, freshly moved grass, and sunshine.

There is nothing else I want to do but sit back, stare and breathe, long, take long, deep breaths.  I do not want to sit on a bus like some of the other people, seeing churches  and old houses and attractions. I am where I want to be, in the garden of beauty, nature’s beauty and I, a quiet admirer, overwhelmed by this magnificent sight. There is nothing else I want to do but stare and take in this picture of magnificence and beauty.  I am where I want to be, in the garden of beauty, nature’s beauty and I a shy yet ardent admirer.

****

Part 2:

It’s early morning in our house. My husband, Steve, has already left to go to work by train. He has left me coffee to drink in the machine and I greedily reach for it and drink it in two or three big gulps. I go about my chores as usual. I wake up the children who need to get ready for school. Fortunately, I always make their lunches the night before so I don’t have to do it in the morning. I don’t tell the kids but I hate mornings too. I pour cereal and milk, my two kids, 8 and 11 are loud but we laugh a lot. I rush them outside to wait for the bus, get them on the bus and I wave as the bus leaves. They still wave back to me, I know it won’t last very long, they are growing up so quickly.

I go to the grocery store with my list, a long one for four people in the family. I start checking off items on the list. Milk, bread, chicken, cheese, steak on sale, and about ten other items.  After I am done I wait on a very long line, reading a trashy Hollywood magazine that I refuse to buy but actually love to read. Finally, it is about to be my turn, I start unloading my cart. I add a pack of sugarless gum because I can’t resist those items at the end  of the aisle where their placement seems to stare at you, practically begging you to buy them.  My husband calls me”The ultimate consumer ” because I love to see new products at the store.  At the very last second, I reach over the counter to stretch and grab just one more thing. It’s something I never do, but I didn’t even think about this, it was impromptu. I reached over the counter and I bought tulips.  Pink tulips.

Pink Tulip 2 of 3

Pink Tulip 2 of 3 (Photo credit: krispijn.scholte)

Not Posting In Spain; Driving Me Insane

Roses - Spain - Spanien -  Abendstimmung

Image by Ela2007 via Flickr

-I am going to Spain, with my husband for ten glorious days. It appears things really do happen for a reason. We offered to take our teenagers to Spain, a place they have always wanted to go to and they declined. What? Yup, you heard me. When they politely (?) declined we were hurt and definitely confused about them not wanting to come. In the end, it worked out perfectly.

-Our son, the Senior in HS, didn’t want to be apart from this friends on their spring break and while our daughter wanted to go to Spain, she didn’t want to go without her brother. So, we stayed home while they had spring break (we are not stupid parents) and we left for Spain, just the two of us, three weeks later. Sometimes life is not only good, it’s great. I should have trusted that it would turn out this way.

-Our children have always left us to go to sleep away camp for 8 weeks each summer but we have never left them.We have talked to them, of course, and it sounds like things are going smoothly. I have no idea what the house will look like upon our return (silly me, of course we know how messy and dirty it will look like) but this vacation is worth pretty much anything.

-Today we left 3 days in Barcelona to drive to Roses, Spain. Honestly, I am not quite sure how we ended up here but I am glad we did. We are spending a few days at this little beach town.

-On the road to Roses from Barcelona we took a local highway. I noticed a woman sun tanning in a beach chair at the first exit. Soon, I saw another woman at another exit. Soon, my husband saw it too, how odd, I thought to sunbathe on the highway. A couple of exists further and the beach attire the women were wearing became skimpier and skimpier. Their poses were, shall we say, suggestive….. One woman wore a bright yellow warning sign on her lap. I read some place that they are supposed to have that garment too. Apparently the highway is notorious for having women sell their bodies at exit ramps. Is it legal or illegal? My husband googled it but we never came up with a clear-cut answer. Whether it is or not is immaterial, it happens. Hey, what do I know, I’m just a tourist!

-There is no happier place on earth for me than on any beach, especially one that has shiny blue-green Mediterranean water. There are flowers in the middle of every street, each street for the town has red roses in the divider. Sigh.

-We went out to eat at a local place where we let the waitress tell the cook what to make for us. We didn’t speak their dialect of Spanish and they spoke no English, but we smiled a lot and pointed and laughed and had a delicious meal. We ended up eating a beef stew, very tender meat in a brown sauce, a salad of lettuce and fresh, ripe red tomatoes and a white cheese platter served on a white plate, creamy and delicious. Of course, my husband sampled the local sangria (that’s a given.)

-We stayed at a hotel that we hated. It seemed like it was a geriatric nursing home and we were in the wrong place. Mind you, we are NO youngsters but we felt like teenagers at this place. The hallways were dark and it felt like we were underground. I clutched my husband’s arm each time we had to go there. It smelled musty and dank, the food was mushy and had no taste, the coffee was undrinkable. After two long nights, we left. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. It had bad vibes written all over it, bad smell, bad everything.

-Our reward: I looked up another hotel that was about twenty minutes and closer to Barcelona for the way back. IT WAS STUNNING, it was also brand new. Things got mixed up but with our reservation but the hotel/resort was welcoming and beautiful. For our “inconvenience” they upgraded us to a suite overlooking the ocean. Ten minutes later, a bottle of complimentary champagne appeared at our door. We were in love.

to be continued……