Directions to the Westin sounded simple enough.
” Just take 183 East to 114 West,” directed a young, female into my ear, as I was driving east on Pioneer Parkway. “We’re right on the corner of West John Carpenter Freeway and Esters Boulevard. ”
But as I approached the exit I should have taken, I found myself following another car onto Amon Carter Road. Before I knew it — BAM! — I was on my way to DFW Airport, and there was no way to turn around.
The woman in the ticket booth must have had the same experience.
“Don’t worry. Just make a left where you see those trailers, over there.”
Ah, yes, the trailers. Nodding that I understood, I gave her a thumbs-up.
“Thanks,” I said, driving away…and completely missing the place where she told me to turn.
Back to chaos, as I navigated the maze of airport traffic, coming out on the North Exit and still another lady at another ticket booth.
“I’m just trying to find my way back to 183 East and Esters.”
She pointed ahead. “This road will become 183, just up the way.”
Feeling proud of myself for surviving the airport madness, I leaned back in the seat. All I needed to do was find Esters Boulevard and I’d be there, soon. After all, wasn’t that the other street mentioned in the Google map directions?
When Esters led to a dead-end, I panicked, again. This time, though, I had the Westin Hotel on speed-dial. A cheerful voice chirped in my ear. This girl had obviously never been lost in her life.
“I’m lost again!” I wailed into my phone as I drove mindlessly, reaching an intersection, and not knowing which way to turn.
“Just a minute, ma’am, let me put the manager on the phone.”
About fifteen minutes later, I straggled into the lobby. Concern darkened the brown eyes of the dewy-cheeked brunette at the front desk — the owner of the cheerful voice who guided me.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, as though she didn’t know.
After forcing myself not to sound like a raving lunatic, I took a breath.
“You wold not believe the Dickens of a time I had finding this place!”
“I’m so sorry to hear that. Here is a coupon for a free appetizer or drink at the Blue Fire Grill for your trouble, Ms. Terry. Enjoy your stay.”
And enjoy I did. After settling into my spacious room appointed with everything I needed, including a microwave oven and small fridge, I gathered up my coupon, along with purse and key-card, and down to the Blue Fire Grill, where I dined on sumptuous Southwestern Crab Cakes and a glass of the house Merlot.
One of the highlights of dining at a bar in a high-end place such as the Westin is the interesting company sharing your space. Staying over from their convention were two men. One was from France. The other, who turned out to be a fellow writer, was from California. The convention had been — get this — a group of harmonica players.
Before lingering turned into loitering, I ordered a coffee and headed up to my room where I showered and shampooed and swaddled myself in a complimentary terry bathrobe, and wrote until the wee hours before slipping off to sleep underneath high-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets.
After a peaceful night’s sleep, I awoke around 7:30 a.m and brewed a cup of Starbuck’s coffee. Unlike other hotel coffeemakers that require you to stand on your head to operate them because they appear attached by a very short cord strung through the television armoire, this one was in plain view and easy to operate. After my two cups of coffee and a glass of juice, I got dressed and dashed across the highway for a Denny’s “senior” breakfast of cheddar scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage, an English muffin and two more cups of coffee. Keeping in mind that hotel food is always overpriced, I especially appreciated my bill total: $8.64.
Having quieted my growling tummy, I dashed back across the highway to wait for the shuttle ride to Historical Grapevine District. Thanks to Pedro, the driver of the shuttle, I spent a long and productive day strolling the streets, shopping in the stores, and chatting with the sales people, to whom I floated my card. To Leticia at The Designer’s Rack, a resale boutique. To Sandy at The Corner Store. And to Chad at D’Vine Wine.
Greg, from the new bookstore, “For Your Perusal” took time to chat with me and offer to let me sell By Her Daughter’s Hands. Doris, the owner or, as she put it, “head elf” of Main Street Station treated me to a Sioux City Prickly Pear soda pop. And Edgar, a server at Esparza’s Mexican Restaurant, brought me an order of brisket quesadillas and a “one-and-you’re-done” frozen margarita, I felt full and satisfied with my day. It was time to call the shuttle for a pick-up.
“All the shuttle drivers are picking up people from the airport. I can send a cab for you,” explained someone at he hotel.
“But a cab will cost me more than a shuttle would.”
“Tell you what. We’ll cover the charges.”
True to their word, I no sooner arrived in the cab when someone met the taxi driver and said they had it covered.
Now, as I sit in my comfortable hotel room, and as check-out time grows nearer, I have only to browse the literature I picked up today and the Sioux City soda-pop bottle and remember the succulent crab cakes and brisket quesadillas to know my retreat went exactly as planned.
In fact, I’m planning to do it all over again, come December. Stay tuned!