Would a blazer have helped?

Maybe I should have worn my navy blazer after all. Jenny had talked me out of it, saying that it really didn’t matter what I wore for the photograph.

But as I stared at the picture of an old-looking man in a black shirt, I thought maybe it did matter. I didn’t look very business-like; I looked a little like a retired enforcer for the mafia or something. What would the immigration and customs officers think?
We were in Walgreens Saturday night picking up the photos we had had taken for passports.
Jenny was smiling and chipper in hers; I looked like I had just been mugged in mine.
Oh well, at least we were getting our passports renewed. We were getting used to the idea that we were going to Paris in June. (Yes, the one in France, not the one a few miles south of Oxford.)
The decision to go to Paris had sort of come out of the blue. It wasn’t really a decision on our part anyway. It was sort of made for us by my sister Donna and her husband Homer, who live in the Kansas City area.
It all started many years ago when my sister started signing up for free weekends in timeshare condos around the country. You got a couple of nights free if you were willing to listen to a sales presentation about timeshares.
One thing led to another and she eventually ended up purchasing four or five weeks a year in timeshare condos.
I thought it was a dumb idea at the time, but fortunately I kept my mouth shut. (Sometimes keeping my mouth shut is not one of my best traits.)
The company she bought them through has expanded and merged several times and now has condo properties around the world. Donna and Homer are both retired and they spend a lot of time traveling.
But I digress. Donna called up a week ago and said they had booked a timeshare condo in Paris several months ago and had decided they were not going to use it. They were going to go on a cruise instead.
“Why don’t you and Jenny use it?” she said.
“How much would it cost?” I asked.
“It won’t cost you anything. Just think of it as a gift,” she said.
I told her we would have to think about it. That took about 10 minutes, and we called back and told her we would feel really guilty using her condo – but not guilty enough not to do it.
It turns out we are not going to have to pay for air tickets, either.
We charge about everything we do in life – groceries, gas, cell phones, eating out – to an American Express card. Points have been building up for years on the card and we haven’t used them.
We checked the flight schedules out of Memphis and found that Air Canada has the most convenient connection. We fly to Toronto and then change planes for the cross-Atlantic flight. And we have enough points for free tickets.
So, it’s pretty much a done deal. Unless, a passport picture of an old, grumpy-looking guy in a black shirt causes me trouble.
I don’t think it looks like me at all. I could ask Jenny.
Maybe not.

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at publisher@newalbanygazette.com.