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October 7, 2008
"But I've always traveled as Sally, our guest said. "For forty years. More than forty years. I got here as Sally, for heaven's sake."

But she couldn't leave as Sally. Her passport may have said "Sarah," but her frequent flyer mile pass read "Sally." I guess they don't know that Sally is a familiar Sarah. No amount of explanation or telephoning of faraway bureaucrats sufficed: they were not leaving Italy, not that day. So they carted all their luggage back to our house, to try again tomorrow.

There is a solution to everything. If it looks like you're going to be stuck in Florence for an extra day, take advantage of it. Take a walk. Look up at the Giotto campanile one more time. Exchange those souvenir tee shirts you bought your grandson, in case he's bigger than you think he is. Have a nice dinner, a glass of wine and a laugh or two. Take a nice bath.

They left on schedule this morning, without a hitch. I suppose they are in Paris by now, preparing to board the plane for the second leg of their journey home.

Things don't always go according to plan. Sometimes they veer monstrously off course, tossing us into places we had no intention of going, and there's not a thing we can do about it. But we can decide how we will receive such things. Your last day in Florence didn't turn out to be your last day in Florence; as it happened, it was your next-to-last day.

Lucky you.
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