OUR WINTER ROAD trip officially ended at about 6:10pm on the night of January 1, 2012 when we pulled into our driveway at the end of seven days 2954 km of travel. About one minute later we got a surprise that we certainly were not expecting.
As I went to open our front door, I noticed something that looked like a magazine or a newspaper on our front step. Because the outdoor lights were not on I couldn't make out exactly what it was, but I suspected it was something that a neighbor had dropped off and didn't think much about it. Once I opened the front door and turned on the front lights, I reached down to retrieve the item and held it in the light to get a better look. What I saw actually startled me and I was in a bit of a daze for about 10 seconds. In my had was a copy of my hometown (and favorite) newspaper, The Washington Post. That was odd, to be sure, but what threw me for a loop was the date on the top of the front page: January 1, 2012.
I was standing in a small village in France holding that day's morning paper from Washington, DC.
When Kerri came up our front steps I turned and showed her the paper. We both then knew what was going on, though we were not sure how it had transpired. What was clear was that someone had put that paper on our door that day; someone who had been in DC within the last 24 hours.
Yep, Kerri's parents! They were here. They had completely surprised us. They had taken the New Year's Eve flight from DC and arrived in Nice around mid-day on the 1st. We had no idea they were coming.* They had finally pulled a fast one on us after years of us pulling fast ones on them (though, admittedly, not nearly a big as this one). We knew they didn't have a key so we went to the computer and Skyped them. Sure enough, the background that came up when Kerri's dad answered bore no resemblance to their house and instead looked vaguely like a hotel room. It didn't take us long to discover that it was the Hotel Campanile in Chateauneuf-de-Grasse -- a mere 4 km from our house. 20 minutes later they pulled up to our house and surprise was complete.
Well done, Poppop and GiGi!! You got us good.
*Though I should admit the Kerri was a bit suspicious for reasons I won't go in to -- and she kept telling me something was going on. Now we know what it was.