Orange Crush has become a tradition for Me and My Captain on New Years Eve.
No substitute….only Orange Crush!
Orange Crush?!! you ask…how odd, you say!
Don’t you want to ring in the New Year with Champagne or a special concoction, such as Pina Colada or Margarita …anything but orange soda pop? (I have been asked this very question on numerous occasions)!
“I think there is a story here” … said Truvy played by Dolly Parton to Clairee played by Olympia Dukakis in the movie “Steel Magnolias”.
Yes, … there is a story here and it goes like this:
The first year the Captain and I were married, I realized the inevitable that the Captain would not always be home on Holidays! His job as a Pilot flying corporate jets would keep him flying his worldly passengers to exotic places on Christmas and New Years Eve’s and Day’s….. as those are some of the busiest days for his travelers.
Being the ever romanticist (is that a word?) … I told the Captain that I would fly to wherever he was on New Years Eve and we would have our celebration together….that is, if Southwest Airlines flew there… I didn’t want to overpay for a last minute round trip ticket. Romantic and Practical! Are the words Romantic and Practical synonymous? Oh well!
In the Captain’s profession, he doesn’t really know where he will end up on any given day. His schedule is subject to change at a moment’s notice. After all, people who can afford private corporate jets don’t always know when and where they want to travel. That, coupled with maintenance on aircraft, weather conditions, pilot and co-pilot work schedules and just a number of variables can change at the last minute.
In fact, the Captain has had a schedule change or diversion from original destination, while on the taxi way as he is ready for take off. So predicting an evening’s destination is really a toss of the dice. But I was willing to do just that… in an effort to spend New Year’s Eve with my Man! sigh!
The Captain had a general idea of where he might be going or ending up, when he called me at about 11:00 a.m. on New Year’s Eve Day ….He said …”I believe I will be in Tuscaloosa, Alabama tonight”.
I immediately called Southwest Airlines and found out that they do not fly to Tuscaloosa, but that they did fly into Birmingham, Alabama. I grabbed a map and saw that Birmingham was about 50 miles from Tuscaloosa and I knew I could rent a car and drive over to Tuscaloosa to see my Honey on New Year’s Eve.
The last flight out of Kansas City was about 3:15 p.m. and the Captain was not sure he would have a definite confirmation that Tuscaloosa would be his last stop for the day. He said he wouldn’t know for sure until about 4ish or 5ish….I was going to have to go by faith and my own instinct! (I am an adventurer-er…don’t think that is a word either…but you know me! I make them up as I go!) 🙂
The stars in my eyes and the love in my heart didn’t care…. I packed an overnight bag and sat it by the front door. I called Southwest Airlines and booked a ticket! Luckily, I didn’t have to pay for the ticket up front and it was a reasonable amount. We lived about 10 minutes from the airport so I knew I could drive my car to an overnight parking garage and be at the boarding area in a matter of minutes. (Remember, this was a few years ago…long before all the restrictions and “be at the airport 2 hours early” days).
I sat by the phone waiting for the Captain to call. He would only be able to call between his scheduled flights for the day….which can sometimes number up to 5 legs (trips).
Now that I think about it, this reminds me of two of my other favorite movies….”An Affair to Remember” with Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant, … where they set a date (a year later) to meet on Valentines Day at the Empire State Building in New York City….sigh! OR “Sleepless in Seattle” where Meg Ryan set up a date (based on the above movie) to meet Tom Hanks at the Empire State Building on Valentines Day! I am smiling now….love, love, love those movies!
But now back to New Year’s Eve in Tuscaloosa, Alabama…perhaps not as romantic as New York City…but romantic just the same, for Me and My Captain!
At almost 3 p.m….the Captain called and said he was reasonably sure he would spend the night at a hotel in Tuscaloosa….not positive…but almost sure. He asked me the question that I didn’t want to hear….He said, “what if dispatch sends me somewhere else and you end up in Birmingham alone”? I told him I would take that chance! Spending the night alone in a hotel in Birmingham would be about the same as spending the night alone in Kansas City at our home. I assured him I would be fine and that I would catch a flight home to KC on New Years Day… which was a part of the original plan anyway.
My plane landed in Birmingham and luckily the Captain had just landed in Tuscaloosa! He wasn’t “shut down” yet….meaning Dispatch had not said he was through for the night, but at least we were only 50 miles apart.
I rented a car and drove the 50 miles to Tuscaloosa, hoping he would be there when I arrived. On the way, the Captain called me on my cell and said Dispatch had shut him down and for me to meet him at the Hotel. He was waiting for me at the front entrance and after embracing and rejoicing that we actually pulled it off, we decided to go to dinner.
On the way to dinner, we knew our choices would be few, it was New Year’s Eve after all and reservations were the norm unless one went to a fast food place. We didn’t care! We would be together at the stroke of midnight. (still sighing, as I remember that wonderful evening)
Wait! we needed a toasting drink when that clock struck midnight! Technically, the Captain was still on duty as he would be flying passengers the next day, so any form of alcohol was out of the question. We stopped at a Walgreens (they are everywhere aren’t they?) and looked down the aisle of “drinks” and I spied an Orange Crush! Our favorite soft drink at the time was Coca Cola….(now it is water or tea)….but we didn’t want something we usually chose to drink…we wanted something special! We both agreed we had not sipped an Orange Crush in a long time! (I used the word “sip” because I didn’t want to conjugate a verb. My English teacher Mrs. Walker would not be happy) 🙂
As the countdown of the large, silver ball in Times Square began on the television, The Captain and I took our plastic drinking cups from the hotel room and poured our bubbly, Orange Crush. Ok, more fizzy than bubbly.
We toasted in the New Year with a traditional kiss and a promise to always have an Orange Crush to drink on New Year’s Eve, no matter where we were! Our drink of choice is always going to be the “orange stuff!”
This year, the Captain is home on New Year’s Eve….but will have to fly away early on New Year’s Day. We have the “orange stuff” in the fridge cooling for the countdown tonight.
Some years, if the Captain is home, we have friends over for an intimate early dinner as the roads get a bit dangerous as the evening wears on. That way our friends can get home safely. They are of our age group and don’t like to be out and about with the city revelers!
This year, we may watch a good movie like “When Harry Met Sally” and perhaps we may “doze” a bit and have to wake up to see the ball go down in Times Square,… but we will be together at midnight. Just like our first New Year’s Eve!
Happy New Year to all……