Returned to the Shenandoah on May 14th. after a long absence. Last year I left during the last week of November, stopping for a wonderful Thanksgiving at Julie and Tayfun's in Germany, to return to the USA for the winter and some much needed surgery.
Finally, in January my back surgery was performed. Weeks of physical therapy followed along with a comparably minor eye surgery and I was ready to return to France by the end of April.
A scheduled week at my friend John's in Naples, Florida, turned into three as the sun and sand and the ability to do a lot of therapeutic walking outweighed any real need to leave.
Finally, it was time to get back to the Shenandoah. I had spent all winter in Toledo, staying with my mother and sisters. The extended visit was great, but...
While talking with my brother Tom, I casually asked if he would like to accompany me on my return to France. He, of course, said “no!” About five minutes later, he called back and said “yes” he would go! Linda, his wife, had obviously given him permission.
So, on the 13th we boarded an AA flight in TOL to ORD and from there, to CDG arriving on the morning of the 14th. Tom had not checked any bags, but I had checked one, so after collecting the bag we headed for a taxi to the Gare du Lyon, in Paris for our train ride to Dijon. I had turned on my US cell phone after we landed and as we were walking to the taxi, it rang! I had done what I had diligently, over the years, tried to never do – taken someone else's bag. The baggage service representative at AA had found my phone number on my bag and called it to tell me that my bag was still there and I had taken someone else's bag! In five minutes, the bags were exchanged, apologies extended and we were on our way.
Uncle Tom had never been to France, or for that matter Europe, save a Greek sailing cruise with his wife a few years back. I think he may have been a little overwhelmed. Anyway, we cabbed it to the train station where I bought two tickets to Dijon. It became readily apparent that I was going to be the banker on this trip which actually worked out pretty well.
The train trip, which I slept through, was uneventful and we got to Dijon where the Hertz rental car I had reserved was waiting for us. Well, sort of, anyway. It was located on the top floor of the new parking garage at the station, not outside Hertz where it had usually been in all my previous rentals. We finally found it nestled among the rest of the cars parked in the garage and headed south to the Shenandoah for a week of cleaning, touring, eating and drinking.