When we first arrived at the Gathering and were looking for the right entrance, I heard my cousin, Val, say to no one in particular, “Oh, there’s the Arizona flag. This must be the right place.”
Val was walking next to Gus behind my brother, Billy, and me. I had listened to her talk to herself all the way from the car, which we had parked quite a ways down the street. “Mary drives safely,” she said. “She puts her hands at 2 and 10 on the steering wheel.”
“Have you ever really listened to Valerie?” I asked Billy. “She’s really funny.”
We had passed the door to the room where the Gathering was taking place and were backtracking when I realized we had left the cheesecake that Valerie and I had gone all the way to Walmart that morning to purchase, in the car. We’d worried all morning if we had done the right thing by leaving it in the car while we got ready. “Will it be too warm? Does cheesecake melt?” I finally walked outside and determined the car temp would be cool enough. “That’s good, Val said. ” We would have had to tip it sideways if we put it in the little refrigerator, and that might mess it up if it fell out when we opened the door. Would we be going to the Gathering if we weren’t still with it?” She asked as she laid down on the bed.
I thought that was an interesting question. Who would say, “You girls can’t go. You’re no longer with it!” Someone other than us would have to make the decision if we were with it enough. That’s a daunting thought for sure.
I had the best time with Billy, Gus, and Val. Though I don’t look like it, I’m the youngest of the four of us. Some days I’m with it and some days I’m without it. I hope the decision maker catches Val and me on a good day because we would sure like to go to the Gathering again next year.
That is a daunting question, Cuz MG. Maybe we should nominate someone to officially decide if we are “with it“ enough to attend next year’s Mesa Gathering. We have a lawyer cousin who could draw up the legal papers and delegate psychological healthcare providers to determine if we are able to go in 2024. Or we could both vouch for each other. After all, wasn’t that pretty smart that I identified the Arizona flag flying over our hotel? And I had pretty good spatial thinking predicting that our Walmart cheesecake wouldn’t fit in the hotel room mini fridge. I also observed your outstanding driving skills.
You were pretty much ahead of Bill, Gus and I during our treks to the casino, restaurants and the Gathering clubhouse, walking briskly along to get to the doors before us. I remember your head above the others bouncing along a few feet in front of us as you raced to check out that Mexican restaurant the night after the Gathering. You were energetic and fast! Of course we had a great sugar rush from all the desserts and cheesecake we had eaten that afternoon; we were full of energy, not to mention, we hadn’t gotten a full night’s sleep, which you admitted made you silly. And Bill was the lucky recipient of the remaining Krispy Kreme donuts as we left the Mesa party. Surely we could eat a couple more donuts in the morning. MG and I secured the box of donuts in our room. Mary ate one later mentioning how worth it those calories were.
In the lobby the next morning at breakfast, Mary returned from her 5:00 am drive and thankfully avoided a Silver Alert driving back to the hotel. I sat in the lobby sampling the hotel continental layout but those donuts kept creeping into my feeble thoughts. Still I was with it enough to text Bill back when he asked what we were doing. Mary brought the donuts down to the lobby after she got back and chatted with me about her trip to the casino. The large cardboard Krispy Kreme donut box sat beside us as we had tea and coffee. When Gus came down, he asked a gentleman trying to enjoy his breakfast alone at the table next to us if the man would mind if Gus set the donut box on his table. The man didn’t mind. “Thanks, sir.” The man was officially on donut patrol. So we filled out a bday card for our sweet cousin in South Dakota and chatted. Next Bill came down and MG said, “I thought you would’ve looked better for all the time it took you to get ready.” Bill kinda ignored her asking me, “Did my sister just put me down?” Then Bill noticed the donuts. Mary turned around to the donut patrol man and said, “Sir, you’re in charge of our donuts. They were free. Would you like one?”
“No thanks, “ Sir replied, “How’d you get them for free?” He looked curious.
Bill explained that we were at a reunion and they were left over. “We didn’t find them by the side of the road or steal them or anything like that!” Sir didn’t want one.
I was beginning to feel less with it and spaced out. (Mary mentioned that she, too, often got distracted though she will probably deny saying that.) . I recall Mary mentioning that Gus wanted his jackknife from the car and Jesus is Calling in the car. Mary said, “Yeah, I will go get it and Jesus is calling.”
Shocked, Val, who had been distracted, said, “Wait. What? Jesus is calling? Huh? I didn’t know you were that close, Gus.”
After a quick laugh and a joke Mary told, after a couple funny videos Gus shared, Bill reached over and got a donut. We all left to get packed up and ready for the drive to the airport. The donuts went back up to the room. When Mary and I packed up, we each took a chocolate frosted donut in a plastic bag and crammed them into our purses. I left a note atop the box for the hotel maid, “Free Donuts. They’re still good. Enjoy.”
Hours later, my crème filled, chocolate-frosted smashed donut tasted like nourishment from sweetness heaven, as I sat down to indulge and wait for my flight. The trip had been a blast, a great success, and we four would all happily remember it, and take the memories with us, as well as a few extra calories.