Some weeks ago I told you of a high school classmate of mine who had just returned from a trip around the world. She had gone with a daughter-in-law who was on a buying trip for her unique gift shop. Realizing that their original destinations of Bali and Bangkok would take them half way around the planet, my friend, Ruth, suggested they just continue on, instead of turning back and re-tracing the way they'd come. They plotted a route that included legendary sites most of us have only read about. Some points of interest were reached by truly strenuous means -- riding an elephant, for example -- which I would have been reluctant to have attempted at half our age. I was recently privileged to have a long phone conversation with this friend in which she revealed some additional harrowing details of that journey which I thought you might like to hear.
After completing their first round of exotic shopping, they went on to Borneo where a most unfortunate thing happened. The younger woman's wallet, which contained her passport and other personal papers, was stolen. It happened in clear view of a surveillance camera where everyone could see a native in the act of snatching the object and running out the door, but there was no way to pursue or identify the miscreant. Then it was decision-making time for these two American women seemingly stranded, half-way around the world. As their trip had been paid for in advance, the last thing they wanted to do was to give up and come home. They chose not to even notify family members who could do absolutely nothing for them at that distance, so they forged ahead on their own. The daughter-in-law's credit cards were cancelled and other necessary precautions taken. Then Borneo authorities were persuaded to issue her a passport to replace the original. Ruefully, Ruth told of the strange looks often given them when that document was presented. It was always eventually stamped, as it was clearly authentic, but its blonde Caucasian holder certainly didn't look like a native of the country from which it had been issued.
This addition to the story only increases my admiration for the grit and "git-go" of my fellow member of the Rinard High School Class of 1938. Oh yes, she did say she was no longer contemplating any trips, other than her annual trek from Minnesota to California to spend the inclement winter months in a more favorable climate. So, at last, she's beginning to sound a bit more like us ordinary mortals!
Then, too, I must tell you of another interesting phone call I had last week. Carl Zehnder, Marcus football coach from long ago, called to thank me for the 94th Birthday Card I'd sent. He mentioned, too, a much-appreciated letter he'd gotten from one of his former Marcus players. He also wanted us to know that he no longer resides in Branson, Mo., but is now in the city where his youngest son, Jonathan and wife Bette live. His present address is:
Lindsborg, KS 67456
My ramblings today have resulted in two stories of individuals who have truly managed to grow old gracefully. Hopefully, many more of us can manage to do the same!