Flying back home from a week in the Florida Keys was not something that I wanted to do, but the bills that will come in the mail someday must be paid. And while my two children could spend all their days on Duval Street, their teachers here in Chicago might eventually hold it against them.
On the first flight of the day, from Miami to Nashville, I had the pleasure of sitting next to an elegant lady from Trinidad. She was meeting up with a family member in the airport in Nashville, for a drive back to Alabama. I found her Caribbean accent to be fascinating, as well as her stories of traveling throughout the region with her recently-deceased husband.
I learned that she had been married for more than fifty years, and I complimented her on such a long partnership with another person. I’ve been married a little bit more than 20 years myself, and I realize that I’m far head of most marriages, statistically. But meeting someone who had fifty-plus years–and took that “until death” part to its intended conclusion–was very humbling for me.
I told my new traveling friend that I had first heard of Trinidad when one of the Miss Universe winners came from there many years ago. She informed me that there have been others from her native land that have also done well in this competition, and I understood that this speaks very well of the nation and its people.
We talked of the recent spate of bad news for travelers on the Malaysian plane, and the South Korean ferry, and even the unexpected deaths of climbers on Mount Everest. We discussed how traveling is usually very safe, but there will always be risks involved with traveling from one place to another. It may not have been an uplifting topic to discuss at 30,000 feet, but still I enjoyed our conversation a great deal.
Near the end of our flight, I pointed out that I had heard of Trinidad–without Tobago–in a Jimmy Buffett song called “Son of a Son of a Sailor.” I had listened to heavy doses of his music as I was in the Florida Keys, between the Margaritaville channel on the rental car’s satellite radio and the CDs that I had brought along on the trip. The Florida keys were clearly an inspiration to him through the years, and his music had formed a perfect backdrop for my trip. I reminded myself that I was actually speaking with a lady who hailed from Trinidad, and it seemed like a perfect way to end my trip.
The lady who hailed from Trinidad–and I already regret not learning her name, even though I would not use it here if I knew it–informed me that her island was not, as Jimmy Buffett had claimed in his song, the “island of the spices.” She told me that Grenada, a neighboring island, is actually known at the Spice island. I chuckled at the creative license that had been taken with the song, and knew right away it was too good of a story to keep inside of my head forever. I write a blog, after all, in the hope that my stories and thoughts can manifest themselves in a format that will survive longer than I do.
We said our goodbyes as the plane landed, and the lady who hailed from Trinidad told me that I should come and see her country one day. She said I would love it there, for all of its beauty and warmth and history. And I’m sure that I would, too. I wished her the best in her travels throughout my home country, and I hope that she experiences nothing but good things during her time here.
NOTE: If I’m going to mention creative license here, I had better be prepared to acknowledge taking some myself. The picture above was not taken in Trinidad (as I’ve never been there), nor does it depict any place in the Caribbean. I took it on the island of Dry Tortugas in the Gulf of Mexico, which is more than 1,500 miles from Trinidad. But if Jimmy Buffett can take some creative license, I suppose that I can, too. And it’s a pretty picture, so why not?