Hey… How’s it going? I’ve been away most of the days and nights since October 9th on business. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking of you. I have. Really.

My trip to Chicago is now just a blur. A sweet Italian dinner one night with Barb’s new team was a highlight… After one night at home and dinner out with Kyle, I was back on a plane, this time to Wally World. I met Jack (4), Kaitlin (8) and their mom on the flight down to Orlando. Jack’s mom told me he was slightly autistic, but she was hopeful the trip would go well. Jack was cool on the plane. He fell asleep before we hit cruising altitude.

My dad was more than a bit surprised when he opened the door to me later that day. It was his 73rd birthday and I worked out the surprise visit with his wife, Caroline. We had dinner with a few friends of theirs at their favorite place at the Villages and then had cake and presents at their home. My dad loves horses and on a previous October 13th I had given him this Degas print. This year a Degas sculpture to match seemed to please the birthday boy.

25 years and a week passed between dad’s date of birth and mine. Some mornings when I see him in my mirror, it sure seems like many years less. After this now-73 year old man beat me at a round of golf here, I think it rejuvenated him a bit. He hadn’t been playing much lately and I sense he’s a little depressed over life gone by and chances not taken. Still, he was out there and still can go out there. As his friend Wendy said as she motioned toward the local hospital just behind some distant trees, “There are lots of people in there who which they could be out here hacking like us.”

“Remember, it ain’t too late to take
a deep breath and throw yourself
into it with everything you got

It’s great to be alive”

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers

Two days were too short, but it was time well spent for both of us. “Keep getting out there, Dad,” I implored before hugging him and saying, “I love you.”

After my 4-day work event was over I found myself sitting again in an aluminum tube. Alone with my thoughts and accompanying iPod soundtrack, I saw a familiar and smiling face coming toward me. As she got closer her smile widened, so I got to my feet to let her and Kaitlin in next to me. Jack and his dad were in the seats next to us. Jack’s mom said they had a wonderful trip and showed me all the pictures in a tiny LCD screen on her digital camera. We’d come full circle.

At the gate in Boston, I stood waiting to de-plane and noticed an attractive 40-ish woman in the seat behind me. After a brief hesitation, I asked if she was enjoying “Angels and Demons.” My conversation with Tina continued all the way to baggage claim. I wish I’d got her number, but initiating the conversation was good enough for now. This past Friday night I did the same thing with Kathy at the local grocery store. I’d seen her a few times before, but never had the chutzpah to approach her. I stood in the rain and introduced Kyle and myself. I asked her if I could meet her there next Friday. “Probably,” she said with a smile.

“While we still have the daylight,
I might become some brand-new kinda guy.”

Jason Isbell – Drive By Truckers