Florida and Back

[Palm Trees]

We took a long weekend and made a quick trip to Florida to go to a wedding. We flew in on Thursday, and spent Friday visiting Samantha’s family, meeting her friends, and going to the wedding rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and co-ed bachelorette party. The wedding and reception were on Saturday. We spent an hour of relative quiet on the beach on Saturday evening, and spent Sunday in airplanes and airports. It felt like we were there for a week; and when the daze lifted, around the time that I finished my second cup of tea on Monday, it felt like everything had happened a week ago.


We only had a few minutes to sprint across George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston to meet our connecting flight, but I had to stop at the halfway point to get a good look at this:

[Chocolate Bush]

A larger than life statue of George Bush made entirely out of chocolate… (okay, actually he’s made out of bronze).

A couple of people strolled past. One of them glanced over at me and then looked at the statue. Without slowing down she said to her friend, “Oh. It’s forty-one.”


Samantha had her mom bring her some of the things that she missed from Florida that we wouldn’t have time to get ourselves. Some of the things she asked for were sandwiches.

Samantha looks a lot like her mom. Her mom looks a lot like her grandma. Her grandpa looks a little like an angry Jimmy Buffett.


We always had someplace that we had to be, and every one of those places had air conditioning. Whenever we walked from one place to the car or vice versa, I wanted to stand outside for a few minutes and feel the humidity.


I met Hayden, who is nearly responsible for bringing Samantha and me together.


Someone asked Sarah, the bride, about the police officer that was hanging out at the wedding rehearsal. Sarah was thinking of a dozen things at once. She answered, “I have to move my car. He’s the DJ at the reception.”

Later, I went out to the church parking lot to get my camera from the car. The cop was standing out there partly hidden behind the open trunk of his patrol car. He was flicking the bracelets of his handcuffs around and around, listening to them click open and closed. He noticed me and let the cuffs click one more time before slipping them back into his belt. When I walked back from the car, he had a container of shoe polish in one hand, and was leaning over to dab some polish onto his shoes.


The guys who gave me a ride to the wedding had trouble finding our hotel. Then we had trouble finding the church. We dodged into the back of the church, scurried around the bride and found a place to sit just as the organist played the first few chords of the wedding march.


No alligators.


The sun was setting during our connecting flight out of Cleveland. The sky and the clouds dimmed to darkness and the horizon disappeared on our side of the plane. On the other side, there was a perpetual dusk and a line of orange-lit clouds that stayed with us past the Continental Divide. Night finally fell on that side around the time that the pilot gave us his second update of the score in the Detroit-Lakers game.

Whenever I saw city lights out the window, I leaned over Samantha to study them and guess where we were. There was one city on either a Great Lake or a great lake, and I decided that it was Chicago. The pilot came on the intercom and told us we were crossing over the Continental Divide, and I called the city below us Missoula. Later, I felt the plane’s rumble change timber — which I took to mean we were slowing or changing altitude and getting closer to home. There was a city beneath us — Spokane or Ellensburg? There’s a big difference in size between those places, but I have no sense of scale at 30,000 feet (or is it 3,000 feet?).

The pilot announced our descent. We were flying low over a city and I tried to find an identifying landmark. We curved to the left, and then the floating bridges over Lake Washington came into view. We had been flying over Bellevue and Kirkland, and now we were over Seattle.

We landed, and then sat for a few minutes. The pilot told us our gate was closed for repairs. We sat for a few more minutes, before the plane rolled off to another gate. We disembarked into a satelite terminal, at a gate with a different airline’s logo on the signs.

[Airport Tarmac]

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