Friday, June 29, 2007

What's Goin' On?

With that Marvin Gaye title, I give an explanation for my absence from here of late.

At the conclusion of the mission trip in Canandaigua, NY, with Group Work Camps, I got home one week ago.

On Tuesday, my wife and I flew to Florida to spend time with our daughter and her husband. It was a wonderful visit!

Yesterday, our daughter's boss, seeing that she was distraught from having said goodbye to us at breakfast and knowing that we wouldn't take off until 7PM, told our daughter to take the day off. That was a gift!

Among the most special of memories I'll take from this short foray to Florida was late-night ice cream with our daughter. (My wife is an early-to-bed, early-to-rise person.) The best memories and the best experiences always seem to happen in the supposedly mundane and inconsequential encounters we have with those we love. The old saying is absolutely true: Love is spelled T-I-M-E.

Our daughter seems to be doing very well with her new job and appears to have the respect of her bosses. She's a on a track for management, which is exciting. Given her childlike enthusiasm and love of people, that doesn't surprise me.

My wife and I also got some "just the two of us time" and that too, was fantastic. Whenever we get to do that, we remember again how much we love and value one another. That's good for a couple soon to be married thirty-three years to remember!

The only down part of the trip was a group of loud, inebriated fellow passengers on the return flight. Particularly annoying were a man and a woman who spoke so loudly that I'm sure that two-thirds of the passengers heard their every word. They'd met at the airport lounge and gotten pretty loaded even before we boarded. She was married; he wasn't. His subtle spiel included several expressions of regret that the woman was married. She indicated that that didn't really matter to her and toward the end of the flight, they exchanged telephone numbers...and planned to find a bar to which they could retire.

But as smarmy as their dialog was, it was their loudness and that of several of their fellow revelers that was most annoying. About three-quarters of the way through the flight, a man several rows behind me asked if the two "flirts" could keep it down.

They were quieter for a short time. But soon they were as loud as before, he with his booming and increasingly profanity-laced pronouncements and unsuccessful attempts at humor, she with a loud, penetrating cackle.

When the flight ended, we waited for awhile as an elderly man was escorted from the plane by paramedics. From my seat sixteen rows back, I saw the old man kiss the flight attendant in gratitude, his wife close at hand.

During that brief wait, the cackler smacked the shoulder of one reveler and asked, "Did you have a good time?" Several people in the back replied instead: "None of us had a good time. You made it insufferable for the rest of us!" When the boomer tried to explain that he was celebrating a $300,000.00 sale he made earlier in the day, the crowd was unimpressed.

In all honesty, it's the first time I've ever encountered anything like that on a flight. My feeling is that the attendant who might otherwise have cut off the annoying group, was too busy with the special needs of the elderly man up front to note what was going on in aisles fourteen and fifteen.

A highlight of the entire trip, including the flight, was time spent reading Philip Yancey's fantastic new book on prayer. I'm sure that I'll be writing more about this in the future.

My wife, daughter, and I also had the chance to look up and briefly visit with a Lutheran pastor with whom I've corresponded and had phone chats. He's every bit as nice in person as he is from a distance!

So, have you read Yancey's book?

Have you dealt with long distances from your grown children?

Have you ever spent time on a commercial air flight with noisy drunks?

Tell me about those experiences, if you want.

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