I am on the annual Oprah and Gayle pilgrimage to Québec , Canada to visit my darling grandchildren, Noah Jr. and Cortney, with my son Noah. The pilgrimage was so named long ago as an homage to Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King’s Big Adventure – a 10 day road trip from California to New York. During that trip Oprah had moments of crabbiness, diva-esque behavior, and inflexibility, while Gayle remained cheery, effervescent, and a delightful traveling companion.
It was apparent during my very first pilgrimage to Quebec with Noah that he was Oprah and I was Gayle. Not that we spend 10 days in the car together driving across country, we only spend a few hours here and there in the car, but our time together over these trips is constant. I think, what a gift to be able to spend all that dedicated time with your mother – how delightful. Noah thinks, my mother never stops talking and asking questions and she feels obliged to engage with everyone she crosses paths with – how exhausting. Hence, Noah is Oprah and I am Gayle.
Being Gayle is not always easy with an Oprah in tow. The balance of the Oprah/Gayle universe relies on Gayle’s ability to luxuriate in the sunshine of life even as Oprah feels obliged to linger under a rain cloud. I think, a Gayle is that much more special for being able to nurture happiness in the face of gloom – what a gift. Oprah thinks, not everything is, or needs to be, sunshine and lollipops – what a pain in the fanny.
At the end of the day, I know that Oprah would not enjoy the annual pilgrimage even half as much without his Gayle in tow. Of course there have been adjustments in the pilgrimage over time. The first outing I was the driver of the car, that was short-lived – something about my driving skills and music choices. There have also been a series of unfortunate lodging choices to include the bed bugs at the Alpengruss (which seemed on its face to be a “quaint” location to stay); that sent Oprah to the emergency room, left him with both physical and psychological scars, and took away visiting days on our trip. That was pretty much the last straw for Oprah regarding my ability to select appropriate lodging. Since then, lodging choices must be pre-approved and the blame for any level of disappointment in anything with the annual lodging choice sits with me.
Never fear, I do not let Oprah’s negativity harsh my mellow. I only get to see my grandchildren in Canada once a year and there is nothing Oprah could grumble about that could diminish that joy. I would go through hell and high water to spend this precious time with them and with Oprah. The torrential rainstorm that presented itself on the highway to Québec on Friday (and made travel near impossible – see image above) was symbolic in so many ways of the types of challenges Oprah and I have encountered on our Canadian adventures. Yet, trials and tribulations aside, these are the memories that make up a happy, well-lived life.
I think, this trip is the highlight of Oprah’s year – how lovely. Oprah thinks, this is the highlight of Gayle’s year – bring medication. At the end of the day, the pilgrimage is a gift of family, tolerance, and joy that Oprah and I both think is worth repeating.
Another day in the new forty – obla di obla da