Coming home … a long strange trip

With my six-week editing fellowship in Reno at an end, my friends Jennifer and AJ dropped me off at the Reno airport just before noon on Saturday, and my journey home began.

I was heading back to S.C. via Philadelphia. It was the last stop on this year’s baseball trip. Four of us – Chris, Richard, Will and myself – take a trip each year to three of four major league cities and take in some baseball. Toward the end of the trip, we typically plan the next year’s trip.

This year’s trip involved an Astros-Nationals game in Washington D.C., a Rockies-Mets game in New York and a D-Backs-Phillies game in Philadelphia. My fellowship forced me to miss two of the three games on this year’s trip, but I flew to Philly to meet up with the guys and finish out the trip.

I was supposed to fly from Reno to Dallas to Philly, getting in at about 12:45 a.m.

I was supposed to.

Got to Dallas after a ridiculously rough flight. Found my gate. And boom! There go the lights.

An hour and a half of sitting in the darkness of the Dallas-Fort Worth airport later, an hour and a half after our original boarding time, I make it on a plane. I get to Philly about 1:45, to my hotel room about 2:30 a.m.

My dinner? Beef jerky and an orange juice.

The game in Philly is OK. We eat lunch at the park. We hit the road. Richard had to get back home to D.C. so he could then head to meet his wife at the beach. I was riding on to Christiansburg, Va., with Chris, where I would meet Brooke and the kids, surprising Dylan, who thought I wouldn’t be home for the next day.

After a typical dinner at Hooters, we left Richard and headed to Virginia.

Sometime after 11 p.m., my phone rang. It was my wife, crying. Her mom had taken her dad to the hospital because he was having pain on his left side. They thought he may be having a heart attack. Now she may not be able to meet me the next day.

Finally, at Chris’ house in Christiansburg, after discussing several methods for me to get home if my wife wasn’t going to show up to get me, Brooke called back to say her dad was OK. They think he just had a SERIOUSLY pulled muscle. Thank goodness.

Around 12:30 p.m. the next day, my wife pulled in the driveway at Chris and Bridget’s house. I watched out the window as she got Dylan and Ella out of the car, Dylan having no idea I was there. (Apparently, according to Brooke’s blog, Dylan ran down a laundry list of what his “surprise” might have been, even thinking for a time that Brooke was taking him to a horse she had bought for him.)

His face lit up when I walked outside, and he saw me. I’m sure mine did, too. I knew six weeks would be a long time, but I had no idea how tough it would be to not see them.

“I knew Daddy was my surprise,” Dylan said.

Yeah, right.

The drive home was long. I felt like I should already be there. I was with everyone I wanted to see there. We stopped for dinner at a Chick-fil-A, and I gave Dylan some of the surprises I had bought for him.
He loved the chunk of silicon. It cost a dollar, but it’s like gold for a 4-year-old.

After dinner, we drove two more hours before getting home. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to go anywhere else for six weeks.

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