Back Home

The gardener and I just got back from a trip to Tennessee. We came home Friday night, but our plane was three hours late because a dent in the fuselage meant they had to find us a new plane. Not fun being stuck in the Nashville airport with celiac boy. The restaurants were appalling for the gluten-challenged. He can’t drink alcohol when he’s flying either because of his damaged GI system. So I made up for it with two weak vodka sodas. I asked for two limes in each, but I think each drink ran past a lime.

The non-tedious thing about the trip home was that for the second half of the flight home I actually engaged in conversation with a seatmate. Yup, anti-social flyer me. I’ve only ever done that once before. I wrote about that one a few years ago. You might remember it. Still Photo. That time was a young girl. This time was an elderly gentleman who has an engaging personal history, coming from a family of southern Arizona settlers, and a medical history of 20 years of leukemia. His wife passed away a little over a year ago, and that is why I continued to “chat” with him. Speaking of this momentous event, I recently heard Phoenix writer Susan Pohlman read a piece she wrote on the subject of plane conversation. She Will Dance. It’s published in the beautiful journal The Sunlight Press. When the plane landed, the man I was sitting next to shook the gardener’s hand and thanked him for loaning me to him for the plane ride. Of course, he thanked me, too, and he seemed really grateful. Made me feel like a louse for ignoring him the first half of the trip.

Because of one job put off until afterward and three deadlines that appeared while I was gone, I had four writing projects to work on this weekend. I want to blog about Tennessee, but it will have to wait a bit.

Have you ever heard of the Plath Poetry Project? You can follow along (as you like) with the poems Sylvia Plath wrote in the last year of her life (approximately) and write poems inspired by hers. I did so and submitted it with a little prose piece about how it inspired me. It was published on their site last week. Find my poem ” Near” here and check out the project while you’re at it!

The fall/harvest (and sometimes Halloween) decorations were up all over Tennessee.

Make it a great week!



Filed under #AmWriting, #amwriting, #writerlife, #writerslife, Flora, Garden, and Landscape, gluten free travel, Reading, Sightseeing & Travel, Writing, Writing Talk

45 responses to “Back Home

  1. I’m pretty anti-social on planes myself. Even when I’m with Greg 😉 We both break out our books or magazines before take-off and project “Do Not Disturb” auras. That said, I’ve had pleasant but brief interactions, enough to appreciate another’s humanity without invading her or my privacy. I really don’t enjoy flying anymore. I hate feeling so dependent on the airline. Congrats on your poems! Looking forward to reading about your trip 🙂

    • Do you understand why you prefer reading on a plane? In some part, I think it’s the anxiety of flying (for me). But the biggest reason is that I find it overly stimulating to talk in such close quarters with a stranger and once you start it’s almost impossible to close the conversation. I am not the sort of person who can say, “nice talking to you. Time for my nap now.” heh
      I despise flying at this point. They make it worse in every possible way.

      • I read to mentally escape my immediate situation. Long ago, I just enjoyed having a few uninterrupted hours to read. Now there’s constant interruptions. Greg gets very annoyed at the drop-down TV screens. There’s so much personal space being “violated” with the shrinking of seats. Flying, with the possible exception of first class, is not at all comfortable. I also resent how the airlines nickel-and-dime passengers. We worry that those passengers who paid extra to sit in an exit row might not be the most fit to open those doors in an emergency. 😬

        • You have to pay extra to sit in an exit row?????? I’ve never heard of that before! I am sheltered. They are definitely taking more and more of our personal space away. It’s truly awful. And daughter discovered that some of the pet kennels they sell for airline travel don’t even fit under the seat because of the shrinkage!

          • It might depend on the airline, but American was charging an extra $40-50 each for a seat in the exit row when we flew out to CA. I’ve never taken a pet on a flight but I can’t imagine trying to fit anything other than a soft, small backpack under the seat. Yeah, air travel sucks.

            • Never heard of that before! That’s crazy. My daughter has to take her cat occasionally on a flight, so it’s an issue, of course. What if she got there and it didn’t fit?! Yes, it definitely sucks.

  2. Pleased you got home in the end. Congratulations on the fine poem

  3. Love the photos, Luanne, and look forward to hearing more about Tennessee. Good trip recounting: Reminds me of some fascinating plane conversations I’ve enjoyed, one of the best of which was a young woman who trained dogs. Mostly I stick to my books and magazines. Enjoyed reading “Near.” Have a great week! My goal is to finish the first section of a novel-in-progress (title keeps changing) and to WRITE EVERY DAY.

    • I hope you are keeping BIC (butt in chair, you know) and WRITING EVERY DAY, Elaine!
      So talking on a plane doesn’t bother you? It’s so overly stimulating for me. And you can’t get away, you know . . . . Hope your week is turning out to be a superb one!

  4. I’m glad you survived the plane journey, and even conversed with a stranger. 🙂
    Congratulations on your excellent poem, and good luck with your other projects!

  5. I am definitely anti-social on a plane. I like to zone in my own world whatever it is. Congrats on your poem. Whatever does your husband eat when he can’t find GF?

    • Yes, zone in my own world! And thank you!
      Well, funny you should ask. NOT MUCH! He’s a fairly big guy who works out a couple of hours 5 or so times a week, so he does need to eat. I do carry hard boiled eggs and cheese and rice crackers on the plane with us. But getting stuck in an airport for an extra three hours, you want to be able to go into a restaurant, feel like a person, have a beverage, and order something to eat. But what? Nashville’s restaurant choices were heavily glutenized with no regard for allergies. We ate at O’Charleys which they seem to have at a lot of places. Awful place if you ask me. They had an ancient binder with allergens in their food, but the dishes didn’t correspond with what was currently on their menu so there was very little assurance of anything. Then the server barely spoke English and I didn’t speak whatever she was speaking. She was a deer in headlights about gluten. I had to ask her to go back and ask in the kitchen this and that. Finally I figured that the plain grilled salmon and smashed potatoes were likely gluten free and ordered that for him (yeah, I’m the expert–otherwise, he will take a chance out of frustration and embarrassment and be sick for days and it’s awful to be the bystander haha). A lot of places are quick to tell you the salads are gluten free, but in places like O’Charleys what happens is they put the croutons on the salad and then TAKE THEM OFF, leaving a residue of crumbs. 1/500 of a slice of bread is enough to make a celiac sick!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • I never knew about taking something off a salad still makes it allergic. Our former neighbors have a grandson with a severe peanut allergy. He got a bad rash because a playmate had just eaten peanuts and he touched his shoulder with residue on his hands.

        • I’ve heard of that with peanuts. Of course, peanuts can be a deadly allergy. Celiac is actually an auto-immune disease, so it isn’t an allergy that makes someone sick from a crumb, but how it affects the GI system (and other systems for some people, like the gardener) because of the auto-immune disease.

  6. Your poem is intriguing – I read it three times and each time ‘it’ was more elusive – changing shape in every verse with every reading. I think you are very good at crafting a poetic chameleon – I liked the wink! Gorgeous harvest displays in your photos, sometimes I wish we had traditions like that here – but we don’t. There is something special about finding yourself in conversation with a stranger and breaking down those separation barriers isn’t there. Another link made. One day, through human interest and interaction all the world might be linked. Then what would the weapons-guys do with their wars? 🙂

    • Pauline, thank you so much. I love the chameleon comment! and so glad you appreciate the wink hahaha. Oh, I had no idea that you don’t have traditions like that by you. What holidays or seasons do you decorate for? Christmas?
      I wish I was altruistic enough to talk with strangers in the hopes of breaking down the separation barriers between us. I know that you must be right about it promoting peace. It is just so darn stressful for me, especially in a confined environment that lasts for a few hours. I am just so darn HSP and all. But I am very glad I let this man chat on!!!

      • We aren’t a culture that is big on decorating except perhaps for Christmas and as that falls in mid summer it is a very different type of Christmas experience as in the northern hemisphere. I have known American immigrants who arrive with their rooms full of seasonal and religious decorations and who steadfastly put up their ‘welcome spring’ banners inside and out where applicable and are shocked and appalled that no-one else does. We are a boring lot 🙂 I rarely am the first to start a conversation, except when out walking with Siddy when I feel very confident (what’s that about?) But I have learnt that it is worth my while to be open to others who might need to talk – and I have an insatiable curiosity about the human psyche that can only be assuaged through real meetings and makes my shyness a burden 🙂 I loathe phatic communication and gossip and follow the trail into the heart. I learn so much and meet some amazing people.

  7. Those fall decorations are spectacular. I don’t talk to anyone on a plane so I think you were rewarded for your graciousness.

  8. Your poem is intriguing, indeedy. When I first saw the title I thought it said “Fear” and that’s what I though “it” was. then I reread it and wondered did you mean rain is it? So much fun. So many ideas. Your imagery is jaw-dropping!

    • Susanne, yes of course part of the title Near is meant to conjure up the word Fear as well!!!! Thank you so much for bringing that up! Thank you thank you!!! Haha, I will never tell. As I told a friend on ye ole Facebook, I would never break the fourth wall of poetry (using a theatre/film reference).

  9. I love your poem, Luanne! Congratulations for getting it published 🙂
    I’m glad you got home okay at last. Knowing that there are regular delays at airports and that there are so many people with illnesses, allergies, food intolerancies and the like, you would think that airports would provide foods and drinks for them!

    • Clare, thank you so much!
      Some airports are beginning to get more accommodating (just early beginnings though), but NOT Nashville. We so appreciated Tampa having P.F. Chang at their airport. It made the wait a pleasant experience because that is truly gluten free food. They even serve the gluten free offerings on different plates so that nobody gets confused!

  10. Congratulations on the poem – well done!
    And welcome home from the hills of Tennessee…

  11. I prefer to drive, but sometimes it’s just TOO far, so there is no choice but to fly. It’s not my favourite thing to do though.

  12. That’s so pretty! I have heard of the poetry thing, mmhm.
    I liked the intro best, because initially I read it as ‘two weeks of vodka sodas’ 😛 hehehahaho 😛 and I was all, ‘yes, luanne, get it girl!’ LOL
    Welcome home 🙂

  13. Congratulations again, Luanne! You are on a roll! Sounds difficult in terms of the celiac issues (several people in our family have the same or similar conditions), but you did well in your selection! Sending admiration and love!

  14. WOW, those decorations are gorgeous!
    Reading about your plane conversation reminded me of an experience I had wayyyy back in 1980 on my way back to Montreal from a NYC conference. I had a long conversation with this really cute man right across the aisle from me. We yakked like old pals, and there sure was a spark, too! Gosh, he was good-looking! I was 35, divorced, and looking hard, what can I tell you! 😀 Anyway, by the time we arrived here at Mtl., we were like old pals! We got our stuff, got off the plane, went into the terminal, I looked around, and – he’d disappeared!!!! GONE, I tell you!! So much for that fantasy… argh, what a letdown! Lol!

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