Alicia in Virginia

Gumby & PokeyAfter Alicia and I reconnected in the late 1980s when I stopped in Salt Lake City during a business trip to the west coast, she made a few trips herself to visit with Ted and me on the east coast. She came to Washington for a meeting of the American Institute of Architects once and brought me a set of tiny, rubbery Gumby and Pokey figures. Very cool. She also gave me a button that said "Why be normal?" Very cool. We all went to a ballet performance of Giselle at the Kennedy Center. That was also very cool. Everybody enjoyed it except Ted, who hated to go out at night during the week.

During a typically sticky mid-Atlantic July a few years later, Alicia came to Virginia again, arriving with one of her various husbands on a midnight flight into Washington National Airport from Salt Lake. Ted's and my plan was to take them sailing for the weekend. That endeavor entailed a late night drive from Washington down to Cobb Island, MD, where Ted was already on board the boat.

After I picked up Alicia and hubby at the airport, we could have returned to my air-conditioned house, stretched out, and had a good night's rest. We could have left the next morning and stopped for breakfast along the way. Instead, I packed them into my little Datsun for the 90-minute trip to the marina. That's 90 minutes of additional travel after a five-hour flight. In the middle of the night. We arrived about 2:30 a.m. to the cramped, stuffy, humid compartment of a 27' 10" sailboat. Any sailboat under 30' is closer to substandard housing than it is to luxurious recreational transportation.

Dawn arrived with sultry, windless air. We motored on the flat Potomac River and felt the day grow hotter. The whole weekend was hot and still. Alicia isn't a particularly enthusiastic traveler, given to bouts of motion sickness. The hot weather and the motion of the boat on slow, rolly water must have been the pits for her, but she never complained or let on that the trip was anything but pleasant.

After she left us, Alicia joined her folks for a week in Maine's Acadia National Park. She later commented that she had never so much appreciated cool air as she did after four days in a Chesapeake summer.