Day 1, Wichita

 Day 1, Wichita:  Saturday, June 6th

Caitlin was at a sleepover on Friday night, so Daniel drove me to the airport early Saturday morning.  I arrived about 7:35 a.m., asked the United rep where to go, and he pointed to the shorter line.  About 10 minutes later, I checked in my bag and proceeded to the gate.  But first, I had to get into the security line.  There were at least 200 people in line!  I had 50 minutes to make it to my gate. 

The line moved fairly quickly, so I arrived at the gate before the first boarding call.  First they started boarding those who were first class, then those who paid for preboarding.  They no longer allowed seniors and people traveling with children to board first… unless they paid.  Next it was group 1… of course I was in group 4!  Finally I’m on the plane, and wait… something is wrong.  My knees could barely slide into the leg area, so I can sit down.  I sit with a mom and her grown up daughter, and we were trying to figure out if we suddenly gained weight, or the planes were getting smaller!  I arrive in Denver around 12 noon and felt a little hungry.  I walk towards the gate of my next plane and called Barbi because we were flying together on the same plane.  I walked over to meet her at the gate and then we walked back to the food area.  We talked while we ate our Mexican platters and got to know each other and our families and background, and soon it was time to board the plane.  I can’t remember much, but this time it was much better.

We arrive in Wichita, and our first job was to rent a car.  Barbi got the poor young man so flustered… it was just a sign of things to come (for those of you were with us, think of Beth and that singer or Lois and the waiter).  I actually missed the very beginning of the conversation, but from I figured out mid-way through, he was a polite gentleman from the south, and he said, “Ma’am” after every sentence.  Barbi told him to call her Barbi and definitely not ma’am.  That’s why the poor guy was flustered… he kept saying “ma’am,” “sorry,” and “I mean, Barbi” right after that.    By now, all the other passengers were gone, so it was pretty obvious that we were the only two left.  We went across the street with our luggage, put everything in the car, and then decided we needed the bathroom.  So… we ran back across the lobby, past the rental car counter, into the bathroom, and then out the same way again.  I couldn’t help but wonder how comical we were.

We made it our hotel, the Courtyard Marriott at Old Town and registered.  Our room was quite nice and roomy.  Barbi called Beth (?) when we arrived.  By this time most, if not all (I can’t remember!), of the other women who were planning to meet up with us in Wichita had arrived and were split between two other rooms in the same hotel.  They all came over to our room for a short visit filled with laughter.  We also met Reina, Lois’ friend, for the first time, and it was just as if we knew her forever too!  At that time, my goal was to remember everyone’s names (I always do poorly with this!).  Finally we decided that we better get changed and ready for dinner and we would meet in the lobby at a specific time.  At one point, I left my room and went down the hall, probably to find the ice machine.  As I walked by one room, I heard a lot of laughter, and I smiled, “That must be one of their rooms!”  

For dinner, we went to the Mosley Street Melodrama, which is a dinner theatre.  With our admission, we get an all-you-can-eat BBQ and two shows performed live with audience participation.  We arrived around 6:30 and were promptly seated.  Our table was all set up for us, and there were popcorn on the table.  Perhaps it was for throwing at the villians, but I ate some!  Once settled down, we got in line for the BBQ buffet dinner that is catered by Pigs In, Pigs Out.  Food was pretty good; the potato salad was the best I ever had, and I loved the maple beans.  The BBQ sauce was very tasty.  But for once I wasn’t there for the food.  I was eager to watch the show!  They did not disappoint at all!
They started off the show by celebrating birthdays and anniversaries; the performers would take photos with them… after they teased them.  Then they introduced the groups.  First they introduced a bridal shower.  Then the emcee looked at our table and asked, “If they are the bridal party, then who are you?!”  We were all wearing flashing tiaras, so we stood out.  Beth stood up and explained that we met on a message board during the past 10 years and decided to meet in person… smack dab in the middle of the U.S., which created a lot of laughter among the crowd. 

Here’s the side bar conversation that happened in the front of the table that others in the group didn’t get to hear – totally paraphrased since this was almost 4 months ago:

Beth:  They’re gonna pick on you.  I told them to.

Lois:  No, you didn’t.

Beth:  Oh yes, I did.  Just watch!

Lois:  Oh no, you better not!

This banter went back and forth for a short while.  The first performance, Thoroughly Modern Mennonite, starts.  The performers come out… and one of them addresses Lois!  I couldn’t stop laughing.  Finally, I nudged Beth, who was sitting next to me and asked, “Did you really tell them to pick on Lois?!”  She denied it.

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That was the first of much laughter.  In one scene the female star of the show improvised, “She’s not Amish, she’s not a Mennonite, she’s not even a SCRAPBOOKER!”  That drew a lot of laughter in the theatre because it was totally unexpected.  In the second performance, Fun in the Sun Revue, the male lead swooned all over Beth – I’ll have to post that photo if I can find it.  We were laughing uncontrollably throughout the entire show… and can’t wait to return!P6060103     P6060106

Next post:  Day 2, Wichita