I sat in the back of the theater, somewhat listening to the speeches, mostly confused by the clue. I put the money in the belt I wore under my shirt and quickly tried a search of Mr. Gordon.
Wikipedia informed me that “The Honourable Sir Frederick Gordon, KCB, DSO was a senior British Army officer who served as a major general in the early Royal Air Force.”
None of the rest of the information I found regarding The Honourable Sir made any sense when cross-referenced to an arrival date or spending time in Algeria.
I had limited time in Disney World, so, even though the downpour continued, I decided to try and make the most of my time here and let my brain ruminate on the odd clue.
I was aware of the distinct possibility Dad had lost his mind.
The Definitive Guide to Having Fun at Disney World in a Deluge
- Wear sandals. Wet socks ruin everything. And they smell bad. And they also cause athlete’s foot, and that’s gross.
- Pretend you’re swimming. Getting wet is much more enjoyable while you’re swimming. You just happen to be swimming and walking on land at the same time. Bonus, no sharks or jellyfish to fear.
- Rainy Day Cavalcade is a riot. Characters in covered vehicles and a special song for the wet occasion. Don’t miss it.
- Give high fives to cast members and any employee as a form of encouragement. Don’t be mean to them. They have no control over the weather.
- Find some place to eat inside.
- Dance and splash in the puddles. Be careful not to splash anyone who really doesn’t want to be splashed, but chances are they’re wet anyway.
- Ten points for every new friend you make. Twenty-five points if they are from another country. Fifty points if they’ll take a selfie with you dancing in the rain.
- Laugh, laugh, laugh.
- Purchase some kind of ridiculously cool souvenir to forever remember the occasion.
- This has been my TED Talk. Thank you very much.
Some of the most brilliant, understated, and underappreciated superheroes on this planet work in public libraries. I go to the library most every week and know my librarians by name. For years, they have asked for the latest news on Dad and Fagan, and they always support my art. At least once a year, they let me hang a few new pieces on display near the coffee shop in hopes of helping me sell a couple pieces. Several new commissioned works have come as a direct result of my art hanging in the library.
Tamara works in research and with non-profit and community organizations. She once recommended me for a starving artist grant, which gave me $2,500 and helped me keep painting. Every fall, Tamara hosts a “how-to” weekend, inviting dozens of people from the community to share their expertise for an hour with kids of all ages. Last year, I did a presentation on abstract painting. I’ve already been invited to return this year and am strongly considering leading a group mural.
Leah faithfully answers all kinds of absurd questions at the information desk. She always has a couple of recommendations for me whenever I stop by. Leah was one of Dad’s former students.
“It’s because of him that I have this job. When I was in high school, all I wanted to do was read. I loved books. I loved escaping to other worlds. I loved everything about books and nothing about the ‘real’ world. It was your dad who first planted the seed in my brain about the difference a librarian can make.”
Evalyn is the branch manager who never could have predicted preparing policies on homelessness, staffing armed security for after school programs, and dealing with some kind of ghost living in the attic of the 100-plus year old building.
“He, well, it might be a she, is particularly cantankerous on full moons, rainy Mondays, and every April 15. I’m trying to convince Ghost Hunters or someone to come spend a weekend in the attic, but I haven’t been able to reach them yet. Maybe, if there’s confirmed paranormal activity, we could do something special at Halloween — news, YouTube channel, Facebook Live — and invite daring people to spend the night in a haunted library. Charge fifty dollars a person…”
“Sounds great. Count me out.”
Once I saw Dad’s clue, I knew these friends would be able to help me figure it out.
“I don’t think I ever told you I saw you on the news,” Evalyn laughed.
I nodded my head and smiled.
“Want my autograph? It’s been quite the adventure so far. But I’m completely stumped on this one.”
I tossed the white envelope on her desk. She pulled out the paper and had the clue figured out before I could say anything. I’m convinced she could be a Jeopardy champion.
“It’s an immigration record. Ellis Island.”
In a matter of moments, with just a few clicks on the keyboard, Evalyn introduced me to my great, great-grandfather who came into the United States as a teenager.
Aboard the Algeria.
“Ever been to Ellis Island?” I texted Nick.
“Grade school field trip.”
“Wanna go with me?”
“And pick me up at the airport on the way?”
“Are you available in three days?”
“Thanks! See you then!”