Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Friday, August 10: On My Way

The minivan left the house at the appointed hour, though, thanks to me, the gas tank was nearly empty. I also left the house unacceptably low on milk. The kitchen was a mess with the residue of the previous night's dinner of linguine and scallops, a surprising hit with the boys. Willem got tired of wrestling with the noodles after a while but ate every last bit of scallop. Nels was inspired to sing a modified version of "The Muffin Man" called, of course, "The Scallop Man." He pronounced it with a very refined British accent: skah-lup. I have no idea where he learned the song (Auntie Hillary?) and was mightily impressed that he recalled that the Muffin/Scallop man "lives on Drury Lane."

Saying good-bye at the airport was about as hard as I expected it to be. Nels was happy to be off to see his grandparents, so no problem there. Willem, on the other hand, cried like the baby he is. This was also to be expected, as the last time the minivan pulled up to the airport curb, Hillary got out, and he hasn't seen her since. He cried then, too.

While waiting for my slightly delayed flight I peruse a frivolous magazine and experience alternating emotions of elation and incompleteness as I watch other parents of young children waiting for their flights. I want them to know that I belong to their club.

We finally board the plane, and I am thrilled to discover that the seat next to me will remain empty for the next two hours. As we speed down the runway, I am deeply regretting that I did not take advantage of my flight delay by having a beer in the airport. I get very nervous when traveling apart from my family. To distract myself, I work the crossword puzzle in the in-flight magazine. The two-thirds of it that is left undone, that is. Instead of being annoyed that someone has filled in clues that I know, I am wondering about this person who knows (and doesn't) the same things I do. A "Dutch South African" is a "Boer" and an "S.E. Hinton novel" is "Tex." "My Name is (blank) Lev." "Asher," of course. We could be friends, mystery crossword puzzle filler-outer.

As I write, there is about 1/2 inch of chardonnay left in the second plastic tumbler of my complimentary beverage. I am tickled to note that the man across from me, who sports a ponytail, beard, Harley t-shirt, jeans, and cowboy boots, is also 1/2 inch away from finishing his second plastic tumbler of complimentary chardonnay. Cheers.

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