Monday was an interesting weather day. I had barely made it through our screen door when all ‘hail' broke loose - hail bigger than dime-sized came down, hitting the tin roof over our patio, making it sound like bombs a-bursting.
A light rainfall had preceded the event, so the hail was completely unexpected. By Tuesday morning when I checked our rain gauge, we had received some 4 1/2 inches of rain. Perhaps even more the way water was bouncing out of the nearly-full measure.
The hail reminded me of being in Beijing, China in September, 1995 for the United Nation’s 4th World Congress on Women with my mom, Nikki Beare. Mom had attended the 3rd World Congress on Women in Nairobi, Kenya ten years earlier so prepped me on what to expect. Turns out the Chinese were the ones surprised. They had expected a simple forum about women from around the world, much like a tea party. When they found out that it would be peopled with strong women leaders from most countries around the world, including Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan and thousands like them, they hurriedly built a complete small city about 30 miles from Beijing in Huaren.
Everyone was expected to be housed there, not in Beijing. Mom and Dad at that time owned and ran Silver Beare Travel in Havana. Being part-owner, I had many travel opportunities myself as well. As a consequence, we stayed at the hotel we had booked right downtown.
Not only did the Chinese not know about the type of women that were to attend, they soon felt these women would need watching. I had expected to have our luggage and hotel room searched, having experienced that in my airline career while in foreign countries. I soon became amused because not only did we find all of our belongings searched, but every time we opened our door, we heard footsteps running down the stairs from the floor above as a pair of officials of some sort came down to follow us wherever we went. Door-opening soon became an amusement for me.
As we rode through town in a hired vehicle one day on our way to the congress, hail started raining down on us. The driver pulled over under an overpass to wait the storm out. That hail had been golf ball-sized and scary. But Monday’s hail made me think of Mom and our wonderful trip, and wish we could travel the world together again as we
had done so often. I will miss my mother, Nikki Beare, and dad, Dick Beare, every day for the rest of my life.