When my nearing-ninety Godmother, a former Flamenco dancer, announced her plan to travel alone from Miami to Pittsburgh this summer, she scared me. It wasn’t her going itself that bothered me, or her going alone. Rather it was her plan to pilot a 37-foot RV, towing an SUV the entire way–a solo flight. It was her doing THAT that concerned me.
“I won’t be alone,” she insisted. “Pepe will be with me.”
“Madrina, Pepe’s, well . . . .” Did I dare say it? “Madrina, Pepe’s . . . a cat.” (“Madrina” is the Spanish word for “Godmother.”)
A sweet cat? Yes.
A smart cat? Of course.
But could “Pepe le Mew” (his full name) read maps and flash a valid Florida driver’s license if pulled over for hijacking a huge-to-most-of-us motor vehicle and elder-napping a retired Spanish dancer fast approaching old age?
(I knew you’d agree.)
You see, my Godfather, a former Venezuelan movie star, passed away last fall, one month shy of his 97th birthday. And in January the Florida chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association acknowledged his decades-long contribution to the profession, a vocation he pursued after retiring as a dancer. At the same meeting, my Madrina was switched from an alternate to actual delegate; she would represent her state at the national convention in Pittsburgh this August, assuming the position to which her husband had been elected. Ever since that conference at the beginning of the year, she had been determined to take the trip.
This had been bothering me for months, when I woke from a dead sleep recently with the sudden realization that I should ask to travel with her. Sure I’d have to get to Miami from my home in Cuenca, Ecuador, but then I could keep track of her. At least, that’s what I told myself.
It was only then that I realized the full extent of her plan, that she also wanted to attend the World Massage Festival in July, since she and Raul had been inducted into the organization’s Massage Therapy Hall of Fame in 2008. She expected to be gone nearly 8 weeks, to travel as far north as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and as far east as Manhattan.
And it was only then that my instruction began on items to pack, the kinds of lists I needed to start, and why I should bring enough knee socks and plenty of underwear—at least 14 pairs. (All of this because of limited laundry opportunities.)
“Madrina?” I was reluctant to pass along the sorry state of affairs when it came to my undergarments. As it was, it took me nearly an hour to confess I had a mere 12 pair of panties.
“I don’t think I own a single pair of knee socks.”
“As long as your legs won’t get cold. Now, maybe you know, football players wear panty hose under their uniforms in the winter.”
“You don’t say?”
“Well, I like to wear them under my slacks to keep warm, but since it’ll be summer, we might not need any. Even in August, though, it can be cool in the early mornings.”
So begins the story of my summer travel with Madrina–a journey set to start in only a couple of weeks. And since I did NOT inherit my Godmother’s grace, it’s a “trip” I’m certain to stumble and stagger through.
We hope you will follow our adventure and discover how my Godparents met, fell in love, and traveled the world as dancers, partners on and off the stage for six and half decades.
And just so you know, I’m now the proud owner of knee socks, a navy, nylon pair, my calves (and feet) certain to “stay warm” during a blistering summer of COOL temperatures, LOW humidity, and CRISPY road tripping with my very own Fairy Godmother Flamenco dancer.
Do you wear pantyhose under your slacks, lest your legs and feet get cold? Or maybe you prefer knee socks in the summer. Do tell us in the comments below! Will you take a road trip this summer?
Note: I grew up in Pittsburgh, the oldest daughter of a mobster bookie. (Some of you know I’m writing a memoir about my childhood, one that was punctuated by FBI raids and Grand Jury investigations.) Since the last official stop on our grand tour will be Pittsburgh, I will use that visit to reintroduce the tale of my family. I also plan to write a book about my road trip with Madrina. It will share, not only our summer adventure, but also my Godparents’ back story. And at the end, it will launch the memoir about my early years in Pittsburgh. So stay tuned!
If you’re inclined, we’d love you to share this post via social media.