Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, February 11, 2023

My First Blog (January 2011) - Comic Relief

 Every Wednesday night, I attend choir rehearsal. Every Sunday morning the choir sings - and in the Episcopal Church it's not just a few hymns and an anthem, but almost constant "service" music, plus three numbers during Communion. Let me tell you, our choir really works. Below, is a "rehearsal" photo taken last Wednesday night, the photographer our director, Tim, for whom our choir is only a small portion of the many, many rehearsals he handles each week, including events at the Performing Arts Center in downtown Orlando. (I'm farthest left in the front row.)


To add to the collection of English Oddities & Bloopers . . .

Fortunately, someone had second thoughts about erecting this sign.

From Facebook memories . . .

Tea party at my house in East Orlando, 2013


To go back even farther, an illustration of the age of my grandgirls at the time of the tale told below.

They started performing early! 

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Grace note:  This  following true tale becomes a comedy only in retrospect. 

My Nightmare Drive Home from West Orlando 
to East Orlando, Christmas 2010
(Part 1)

My daughter is a blonde.  She is also CEO of a Real Estate Investment company.  This does not mean she does not have blonde moments.  

Each Christmas my daughter and her husband take the extended family (about fifteen relatives and employees) to First Baptist Orlando’s Singing Christmas Trees, a truly superb presentation in a church that seats about 5000.  This year, my son-in-law also bought tickets on the same night for a concert in downtown Orlando.  So it was arranged that I would drive their three girls, ages 4, 6 & 7, home.  Sounds simple, right?  I even had help from others in the group to get all three little ones into my daughter’s SUV through the crush of 5000 people attempting to leave at the same time.  So far, so good.  

By the time the girls were settled into their seat belts, there weren’t many cars left in the lot.  I buckled up, started the engine . . . and the car didn’t move.  I tried again.  No movement.  My daughter had set the hand brake in flat-as-a-pancake Florida?  I looked where the hand brake is on my car.  Nothing.  I looked where the brake was on my old car.  Nothing.  It was, by the way, nearly pitch black in the parking lot.  The 7-year-old put on the overhead light for me, but I still couldn’t see any hand brake.  

I got out of the car and called to the one couple still walking toward their car.  They kindly came over, but they too could not find the hand brake.  By this time people were getting into the car in front of me.  We had a five-way consultation, the two couples and I, and the husband of the new couple gave it a try.  Took him about ten seconds, while the rest of us stood by, red-faced.  I like to think he was more familiar with Honda SUVs than I was.  With profuse thanks to all, I climbed in.  At last we could go home.

Figuring the couple who had been parked in front of me knew the way out better than I did, I followed them.   Which took us out a different way than we’d come in.  (Oops.)  No problem, just turn right and right and . . . except in all the traffic I ended up in a Left Turn Only lane.  (Double oops.)  After two or three blocks I figured I’d better make another right and right and hopefully end up on the road I should have been on in the first place.  Except . . .

We were instantly in a residential area, and that’s when I had time to glance at the dashboard and notice the Gas Light was on.  Houses, houses everywhere, and not a sign of a thoroughfare with a gas station.  And at that dire point, the 7-year-old said, “Gramma, do you know where we are?”

Uh, no.  But of course I didn’t say so.  I just kept doubling back until I saw—oh, joy—a stoplight.  And at the intersection, a GAS STATION.  Before pulling up to the pump, I tried calling both my daughter and my son-in-law.  I was not happy!  Lucky them, their phones were off.  They were enjoying their concert at the new Amway Arena.

The children, fortunately, knew which side the gas tank was on, so we managed to pull up with the pump on the correct side.  I popped out, stuck in my credit card, and the silly machine wanted to know if it was a debit card.  When I said no, it cancelled the transaction.  I tried again.  Same result.  To say my blood pressure was soaring would be putting it mildly.  There I was with three small children in the car, and I had to go INSIDE.  Fortunately, we were right in front of the door.  I told the children to stay put and dashed inside, where the attendant managed the transaction while I kept looking out the glass door.  

Put ten dollars worth of gas in my daughter’s car and headed out, the children completely angelic or I might have lost myself along with the car.  We did a couple more turns, looking for lots of lights signaling a major road.  And there it was.  Kirkman, the road that runs past Universal Studios.  I was so turned around by this time that I simply chose a direction, knowing either north or south would lead me to a major east-west road that would take us home.  And, sure enough, in less than a mile there it was, the 408, Orlando’s East-West Expressway.  Yay, hurray!

But, no, this isn’t the end of the story.  The night’s “annoyances” will be continued in my next post on Friday, January 21, 2011.

~ * ~

Another story I've likely told before, but is also good enough to bear repetition . . .

Way, way back in the dim dark ages of the 70s, I made the first of two trips to Machu Picchu. I was fortunate enough to do this with a group of Yalies and their wives (and yes, this was during a time when no woman my age or older had been allowed to apply to Yale). Michael Coe, Yale Professor of Anthropology, was our accompanying expert. During a two-week period we explored the major known ruins of that time, from Peru's desert coast to the famed Nazca lines, Cuzco, and finally the train trip along the Urubamba River to Machu Picchu. All, an absolutely fabulous adventure.

While at Machu Picchu, Mike and I happened to meet as we climbed higher and higher, to the very top of ruins. Once there, we turned onto a narrow path, the ruins on our left and terraced farmland towering upwards on our right. In a matter of minutes Mike spotted an arched stone gateway, which he recognized as the ancient entrance to Machu Picchu—the end of a mountain trail that once stretched from Cuzco all the way to this hidden city on the edge of the jungle. Awed, we walked along it a ways, lost in the wonder of finding this ancient footpath, and by the incredible view out over the ruins and the valley of the Urubamba far, far below.

That night at dinner, we recounted our tale, and I saw our NYC tour guide's eyes light up. A trail through the Andes? Only months later, the tour company announced a "Men only" walking tour along this long-forgotten trail, an act that inspired an influx of adventurous hikers in the years to come—so much so, access to the trail was "rationed," with reservations required months in advance. Wow, to think Mike and I initiated an international hiking frenzy!

All this leads up to the tale of the Adventure I wrote, using my knowledge of Cuzco and Machu Picchu. No, I never hiked more than a few feet of what is now called the Vilcabamba Trail, but many of those who came later made detailed notes, which I leaped on to add authenticity. If you like mystery, adventure, a bit of history, and a touch of romance—check out the title below. (Available on Amazon, Smashwords & its affiliates.)

(Ah yes, I should have mentioned that it was historian and explorer, Hiram Bingham, with the backing of Yale University, who discovered the ruins of Machu Picchu, well camouflaged by hundreds of years of jungle growth, during an expedition in 1911.)


Weddings and murder do not mix well. When things begin to go wrong for her family's Fantasy Wedding & Vacation business, trouble-shooter Laine Halliday gets more of a challenge than she bargained for, even with the aid of a mystery man she finds on the Inca Trail in Peru.

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For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page  click here.


Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)



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