We actually celebrated our Thanksgiving this year on Wednesday instead of the traditional Thursday. My oldest granddaughter had a soccer tournament in Orlando on Friday and Saturday, so I spent most of Thursday on the road with my daughter and her family.
After we arrived in Orlando at our “home away from home” and checked in, my daughter and I made a grocery list and then set off to a Walmart that we had passed just down the road. As soon as we turned off into the parking lot, we realized we had made a terrible mistake. We had to park about half a mile away because we realized even though it was still Thursday, at Wal-mart it was actually Black Friday since it was after 6 p.m..
We went inside and bought our groceries and then for the fun part — waiting to check out. You see, they had everything organized so the line wound around and around until you finally reached a cashier. They even had cashiers checking people out at the self check out registers. While we waited for our turn to pay and go, we couldn’t help but notice what was apparently the bargain of the day. It seemed as if every other cart but ours had this huge stuffed animal hanging out of it. Since that was not on my wish list, I didn’t give in and buy one (which is a good thing because with seven us of traveling together, we just would not have had the room anyway.) We finally got checked out and back to our rental and had the pleasure of carrying those groceries up four flights of stairs. At least now we had food to eat for breakfast and snacks to carry with us to those soccer games.
On Friday morning, I was absolutely amazed at the huge Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World, where two of the soccer games were going to be held. Besides soccer, there are also football and baseball fields as well as basketball courts. There were so many people there who were rushing here, there and everywhere that I was really glad to be able to follow someone, like my daughter, who knew where we were going, because I absolutely had no idea.
After the two games on Saturday, we were finished with soccer, so we could then look forward to spending the day at the Magic Kingdom on Sunday and then on to Epcot on Monday. I was looking forward to going to both since it had been about 30 years since I had last been there.
On Sunday morning, we got an early start so we could be at the gates when they opened at 9 a.m. My daughter and her husband had done their homework and had it all mapped out so everyone could take in all of the attractions they wanted to see. When those gates were opened, I didn’t really know what I was in for by just trying to keep up with everyone else. I had a backpack my daughter had loaned me and I thought I had everything I needed in it. It didn’t take me long to find out what else I needed — some younger legs and feet to carry me and that backpack!
We had a great but exhausting day at The Magic Kingdom, but I found myself almost glad to find out it was closing at 7 p.m. By the time we got back to our hotel, I was pretty much ready to get to bed at the same time as the kids. I found out 9 p.m. is not too early for grandmas either, if you’ve been on your feet all day like we had.
Those old feet and legs didn’t really want to get started carrying me around on Monday as we set off for Epcot, but I was hoping we were not going to have quite as busy a day as we had had the day before.
It did turn out to be a little bit slower day, which this old body really appreciated. I did manage to lose my family, however, at least for a little while. When we were headed toward the exit my daughter pointed up overhead where they were showing the faces of some of us as we had gone through the ride. I turned around and looked back and then when I turned back expecting to see my family, they had all disappeared.
I stood there for a minute looking in every direction and finally decided they must have gone out the exit. As soon as I got outside, there all six of them stood — waiting patiently on Grandma to catch up. They were a beautiful sight, I have to admit. I certainly didn’t want to end up in the Lost and Found Department at Epcot. I can just see the “Missing” flyer now with my face on it.
I might say that in a funny way, but that actually happened to a lady who apparently was at the Wide World of Sports Complex the last day we were there. We saw some flyers around The Magic Kingdom and Epcot with a lady’s picture on them. It seemed she was last seen at the soccer complex. I can only imagine the agony her family was going through trying to find out what happened to her. I whispered a prayer to myself for her safe return to her family.
That incident made me realize how important it was to try my very best to keep up with my family. I must have really been a sight; almost running at times to make sure I didn’t lose sight of them. On one particular occasion I had sorta fallen behind so I took off at a gallop with my backpack flapping on my back. Just as I went flying by a group standing along the fence, one of the men said “Look at Grandma.” I suppose they could all tell: I had to be a grandma — just trying to keep up.
It was a great trip and I really enjoyed spending time with my grandchildren and seeing them enjoy all of the wonderful attractions that have been created at Disney World. However, if you asked me if I wanted to go back tomorrow, I would probably have to tell you that I would just have to stay home and help my husband dog sit “the granddogs” instead so I could rest this tired old body!
Azalea Bolton is a resident of Richmond County, member of the Story Spinners of Laurinburg, and member of the Richmond and Anson County Historical Societies.