I lay/lie/laid in bed that morning and thought about how awesome the day before was. I had a great time with my friends, a good time with my brother and sister-in-law, and the LSU football team dominated Oregon, the number three team in the nation. Also I ate/drank a turkey leg, fried cheese curds, mead, a cheeseburger, a hot fudge sundae, a butterscotch malt, and an Arnold Palmer, which is a mix of iced tea and lemonade named after the famous astronaut. It was his favorite drink before a spacewalk.
Now the trip was over. It was time to quickly fly over much of the terrain my brother and I took days to drive through. So they brought me to the airport and I took one last picture with them in the chaos of the Minnesota streets:
I sure hope they can get street smart fast because I don't know how they will survive in this chaos. Actually, here is a real picture of the three of us, with below-the-neck battle wounds obscured, though my neck fat is not:
You can already see the danger-bred tension in their faces from just three days in that battleground. How they will survive in such a dangerous region is unknown to me, but I hope this is not the last photograph I ever take with them. Good luck, you two. See if you can enroll in those street smart classes, and find out how everyone else got those weaponized dinosaurs to ride. Though I don't need one in the small town hamlet of Louisiana, it would still be fun to ride around the bayou and chase my friends' pirougues as they paddle their way to school, leaving their stilted swamp-cabins unlocked without fear of entry to anything more than a drunk alligator or a friendly swarm of horseflies.
With the urban nightmarescape behind me, I made it through Minnesota customs, and boarded my flight.
Sometimes flying is okay, and sometimes you just want the plane to crash. Maybe that humor was a little black, and maybe I don't have a deathwish, but the second flight that day was even worse, and I haven't even gotten to that yet. Well, anyway, my first flight landed in Atlanta, the sweet, safe South of Southern Belles, moonlight, and magnolias. No more gunshots and gang warfare. I ate at some gross restaurant that touted itself as being a famous and delicious Southern tradition, but I did get to eat food that didn't poison me, and I got to read, so I can't really complain.
Then I got on the final flight. It was extremely overbooked and seemed made to only fit twenty passengers. I barely fit my carry-on into the overhead compartment. Then it started raining.
It was time for the wrath of Tropical Storm Lee. Oregon felt it the night before, but this was an altogether different Lee, who, instead of touchdown passes, threw twenty inches of rain in my face. It rained the whole way up through the clouds, and no ground was visible the entire, turbulent flight. The girl next to me actually grabbed my arm at one point and asked me if I was okay, but I'm pretty sure she just wanted a positive answer to raise her own trembling spirits. Yes, it was terrifying.
As we came in for a landing, the plane shook, rain hit the windows, and...well they weren't even really windows because you couldn't see anything out of them...they were like clear walls or something...which I guess is what a window is anyway...but dangit...don't you hate when you get stuck in a crappy sentence?
Anyway, thank God, we landed. Everyone stampeded off the flight, and I sucked in fresh oxygen as soon as I stepped off the plane.
I called my wife, and she told me she and my son were waiting just outside. I had no luggage but my carry-on, and I ran out into the rain. She was there, waiting for me. Inside our car, I finally re-united with my son after our tearful goodbye, five days before. Here is a photo of the face he made at me:
THEY GOT YOU!!!
THE CATFISH GOT YOU TOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!
Haha, like I am going to post a picture of my child on the Internet. What am I, Brad Pitt? Anyway, I got home.
They are all out of my system, the drugs. I can think clearly now. Squirrels are in abundance here, and the air is fresh and clean. I feel like I am turning over a new leaf after my traumatic experience. I take walks with Punkin everyday, and I've begun journaling. I think this is all for the best. There are mornings where I wake up and feel like I can take on the world, and there are mornings where all I can see is that dark tunnel and no way out. It is at those times that I feel the lowest, but they never last for long. I've got my whole doghood ahead of me. Every day is new. And squirrels taste delicious.