I was awakened by the sound of all those plastic bags of plastic utensils being ripped open. Alas, I had missed being served dinner by the stewardess. As I looked down, I noticed my tray table was open and holding my dinner. My seat companion had snagged it for me while I was asleep! I groggily ate my dinner. As soon as I had gotten rid of my trash, I fell fast asleep again. The same scene occurred as breakfast was being served. If it were not for my companion grabbing it for me, I would have missed it. I didn't wake up again until after the airplane's wheels hit the tarmac had. Randy once asked me how intense I wanted our trip to be. I replied, "I'll sleep on the plane." Now I was living up to that.
I spent a five hour layover in St. Louis sorting my photos and catching up on my journal on my laptop. Once I was back on the plane, I was asleep before it left the ground and didn't regain conscienceness until it landed in Dayton.
As I emerged from the plane, there was no squealing children or smiling wife wrapping their loving arms around me. Sadly, things have changed since September 11th. I exited the gate without any fanfare. I claimed my luggage and stepped out into the Ohio weather, a living breathing summer sauna which hit me like a wall of water. I was affectionately greeted at the curb by my wife and two daughters. It was good to be home! I was a little sad that my son wasn't there. He was traveling with grandparents and it would be another week (for a total of four weeks) before I'd see him again.
A welcome home banner hung happily above our garage door. The new concrete driveway and sidewalks looked great. All had gone well in my absence. Sandy and Dickens, the true loyal dogs they are, went crazy when I walked in the door. Instead of unpacking and putting things away, I chose to spend the rest of the day with the people who love me the most.
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