It's been months. So many months that it hardly seemed worth counting because that just made the wait seem longer rather than shorter.
But here we are now, leaving so soon, so very soon, that I'm wondering how to get everything done I need to do; time is flying so, with wings the size of an eagle's and the speed of a hummingbird's.
Stratford waits for us -- The Tempest! As You Like It! -- and I only wish I could feel more convinced that our passports won't decide to climb out of the car when we stop for lunch and hitchhike back home. I'm always convinced that passports are plotting some wicked scheme that will involve me standing helplessly at an international border while an armed guard with a big rifle and one raised eyebrow listens to me explain why I thought it would be a good idea to lead a travel group to Canada.
Worries about my passport remind me of going to Italy with Ma when I was fifteen. We went in November, so the weather was soft and cool. I took several sweaters with cowl necks so that I could keep warm, but also so that no one could see my secret shame, which were these strange passport-carrying devices Ma had found in the Harriet Carter catalog or somesuch place.
The secret shame was an opaque plastic packet, just big enough to hold a passport and some folding money. It attached to one's bra straps with snaps. This left the pocket dangling in one's cleavage, although I didn't really have any cleavage to speak of at age fifteen, which left the pocket banging around on my chest instead of resting cozily on my bosom. It was as much of a torment as Laura Ingalls's long underwear, and every time I wanted to get my money out, Ma had to turn around and throw her London Fog trench coat over me like a magician's cape so that I could gracelessly fumble under my sweater to find my lire. Oh, it was a lot of fun, but not quite as much fun as being hit in the kidneys with an umbrella by a nun on a city bus who must have thought I looked like I was hiding something. Which, of course, I was.
Ma was totally vindicated, however, when someone tried to pick my pocket when we were standing in St. Peter's Square right before we went to the Sistine Chapel. He came up with nothing but a Bonnie Bell Tootsie Roll Lip Smacker and was so disgusted, he threw the lip balm on the ground at my feet and swore at me in Italiano. Heh.
What the people in my tour group don't know is that I've made passport pockets for ALL of them, even the dads and the boys, who need to immediately go out and buy bras so that they'll have something to snap their artfully concealed pockets to. Which should create many memories, don't you think? Won't they all just be delighted with their little gifts?
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