You really should have joined us in Orlando! I mean, it’s no big deal. It really isn’t. We would have all had a lot of fun down here, that’s all. And seriously, I know you were really concerned about the ticket, but promise me you will not worry. Say it aloud if you have to: I-WILL-NOT-WORRY. If anyone is to blame, Janet, it is certainly me. I shouldn’t have put the tickets on my credit card. When you informed me you weren’t coming, you had no way of knowing that the airline would not refund the four hundred and eighty dollars, and thirty-seven cents that the ticket cost.
So please, please, pretty please, do not worry.
Now, I hate to gloat, but the weather down here is absolutely ideal. Temperature’s in the mid 80s, and the sun never stops shining. George and I have been drinking margaritas poolside as if we were all back in Champaign once again.
Clarence and Paula are arriving tomorrow, and I’m sure they will be upset that you aren’t here. It’s been so long since we’ve all spent time together. I’ll explain to them though that you were feeling tired from your part-time job shelving books at the library, and that you needed time to work on your novel. How wonderful, Janet, I didn’t even know you were trying to be a writer. It’s a shame because – I’m sure you’re not aware – but Clarence actually had his manuscript picked up by Downtown Publishing in New York. I’ll have to let Clarence know you’re trying to write. Maybe he could have given you some pointers? Also, I really meant it when I said I’d love to read what you have and give you feedback on it. I’ll be brutal Janet, if you need me to be. With your permission, I’d love to give him your email. Actually, I have your email address on my phone, from when you emailed me a half-an-hour before our departure time at the airport. It’s a really good thing I saw that email Janet, because we were worried about you! We had no way of knowing if you’d been in a car accident, or worse. How could we have known, if you’d slipped on one of those double-decker bus toys you bought for your son when you went to London with Sharon Gayles. You know how he always leaves his toys lying out in the living room? Or we even wondered if one of those snow globes you have on displayed your shelves, from when you went to Alaska with Candice and Ron Walker, that one time and didn’t invite me – just kidding – had fallen and clocked you on the head. We were so worried about you! George and I have vivid imaginations and we can be quite morbid sometimes. I’m sure you aren’t aware of our newfound morbidity though, Janet. I mean, how could you be? You’re so busy all the time these days, and can’t ever come by and see us. Anyway, we were so glad to hear that you were safe.
Did I mention that Disney World is truly the happiest, most magical, place on earth? I guarantee that no more wonderful place exists on this earth. George and I went to the Magic Kingdom today and I’m not exaggerating when I say we had the best time of our lives. We got there right as they opened and spent the morning getting to all the good rides before the major crowds rushed in. We screamed through the dark of outer space on Space Mountain, tore through the Wild West on the Thunder Mountain Railroad, and how could we forget “It’s a Small World!”
“It’s a small world after all…it’s a small WORLD after all!”
I know this to be true, Janet, because of that time last year when I ran into you at the grocery store. I doubt you’ll remember, but I do. I remember it was funny to me how loud the jazz muzak was in that store, because I kept calling your name, and you continued shopping as if you didn’t hear me! But it’s a small world after all, Janet. Isn’t it. I still can’t believe that when I finally tracked you down we discovered that we’d been living in the same neighborhood, ever since graduating U of I.
You had the most surprised look on your face. It was almost as if you seemed upset to think that you’d spent all these years so close to your old college friend, and had nothing to show for it. What a waste. Think of the odds? All those years – I can’t believe it’s going on fifteen now – and there we were, living so close together, while all the time I’d thought you’d moved to Chicago to give the writing thing a chance.
Speaking of our beloved Land of Lincoln, how’s the weather back home? Pretty cold, I bet. Illinois winters are the worst.
Like I said, I don’t mean to gloat, but you’re really missing out Janet. Like, for instance, last night, we met a real bonafide celebrity. We met a former pitcher from the Cleveland Indians at the hotel bar. He was there with this knock-out woman – I think she was from the Ukraine – and we got pictures with him and, we talked to him, and he bought us a round of drinks. Can you believe it? A Major League pitcher buying us drinks? And he was such a charmer, Janet. You would have loved to meet him. I know what a baseball fan you are too.
None of this would have happened, if we hadn’t gone on this trip. I really wish more than anything else that you could have been there. You know, I worry about you Janet. It’s going to be hard to get out and meet people, if you pour all of your time into writing that novel of yours. But what do I know?
Well, George is getting cranky. I need to apply lotion to his bald spot, or he’s going to get sunburned. You know, as a result of the endless sunshine and warmth down here.
So with that, my friend, I’m afraid I must go. We’re going to have beers by the Mickey Mouse shaped swimming pool, and read some mystery novels, until another dazzling Florida sunset prompts us to return once more to our luxurious suite. The additional room – what would have been your room – has really been a blessing in disguise. You see, George overpacked, as always, and we’ve been storing his extra luggage in what would have been your room, had you been well enough to come.
Isn’t it funny how things tend to work out in the end?
As I said before, don’t worry about the ticket. Please don’t feel like you’re in my pocket now. We can work out some sort of payment plan when we return. We’ll figure out something. The most important thing for you is to get your rest. Fatigue is a killer. Don’t overdo yourself with this writing thing of yours. And don’t hesitate to put the ever-growing manuscript away until you’re better.
Ironically, it sounds like what you really need is a vacation. Too bad this wonderful trip to Disney World – which was already paid for – couldn’t be it.
Postcard: Found at the Melrose Trading Post in Los Angeles, CA in October 2011.