A cousin from North Carolina chose Phoenix as his wedding destination, and our huge extended family was only too happy to fly in, from all points, and celebrate with him. We're a close-knit family, and being together guarantees fun and laughter.
My cousin Myra and I wandered off to do some sightseeing and shopping. I rented a gold Chrysler convertible. With the top down, and the wind in our hair, we drove up and down the main thoroughfare, and over the steep back hills. Several wrong turns found us in areas we hadn't planned on visiting, but we were free spirits, enjoying the adventure.
We stopped at a hotel high in the hills and enjoyed lunch and a breathtaking panoramic view of the red canyon.
On our way out of the hotel, we stopped at the gift shop and giggled like teenagers as we tried on an array of hats. I found one I liked, but the price was exorbitant. It was made of brown straw, with a wide brim and hand-beaded headband and chin strap.
"Buy it, Laverne," Myra encouraged. "You look great."
"It's expensive," I said. "I have no right spending that much money on anything, much less a hat I'll probably never wear once I leave Arizona."
"What are you talking about?" she asked. "You can afford it. You have more than enough money to last you the rest of your life."
I cocked my head. "I do?"
"Yes," she said, "providing you die within the next three months."
I bought the hat and wore it the entire four days I was there. Then I took it home and hung it on the wall as part of the southwestern design in my den. Extravagant? Yes. But, I never regretted it.
And now, roughly seven years later, I was in Arizona again. It was a different kind of vacation for me. Generally, for a vacation to make me happy it has to include a body of water, a lounge chair and tall drinks with umbrellas. This time I was with my husband. We had chosen Scottsdale because Scottsdale is known for art galleries and colorful, southwestern pottery, and we were on a mission to find items to decorate our newly renovated home.
We perused countless shops and galleries. I wanted everything. Mighty Marc had to physically restrain me on more than one occasion.
Then I saw it; a beautiful hand blown piece of bright orange and red glass, roughly two by two and a half feet in diameter and set in a swirl of black wrought iron. It was meant to hang on a wall. My wall. We agreed it was perfect so we bought it, and paid to have it shipped home.
We were back in New Jersey about three weeks when we decided we were ready to hang the glass piece on our wall. Mighty Marc went into the bedroom to get it. It wasn't there, and that surprised us because we both remembered that when the piece was delivered we had shoved it under the master bed for safe keeping. We looked in closets, in the basement and in the attic and came up empty handed. We were baffled.
We sat on the living room couch, scratching our heads, trying to figure out where we had put it. It didn't make sense. It wasn't as though we were attempting to track down a box of chocolate truffles or a bottle of Merlot. We would have known where they went.
Just then someone knocked on the front door. It was a UPS man with a package. We signed for it, ripped it open and turned to each other in disbelief. There it was. The glass sculpture we had been searching for. The sculpture we clearly remembered as having already been delivered. The sculpture we both recalled pushing under the bed. That it should be delivered on that day and at that moment magnified the absurdness of the situation.
It would have been weird if only one of us was certain the sculpture had previously been delivered, but the fact that we were both so sure was downright bizarre. Not to mention mystifying.
Mighty Marc laughed the whole thing off. I found that difficult to do. I half expected to see Rod Serling lurking behind the drapes, because there was little doubt we had just spent time in the Twilight Zone.
Either that or we had taken a giant leap into senility together.
We still haven't figured it out.