Thursday, April 13, 2006


The trip ended officially at 1:36 this afternoon when we landed in Austin. The first sight as we hit the runway was a field of bluebonnets. Nice to be back home!

Aside from a 20 minute period where I could not find my car in the garage to save my life, we could not have asked for a smoother vacation. We had a lot of fun, found a lot of good stuff at the library in Fort Wayne, saw a lot of beautiful country, took a lot of photos that no one is going to be interested in but us and the folks at FindAGrave, and ate a lot of good food. What else can you ask for from a week's vacation in America's heartland?

Well, there were no puppy or grandkid kisses for 7 days and we were in serious withdrawal by the time we got home. I can't speak for Lana, but I was thoroughly kissed by three deliriously happy puppies when I got in. I'm assuming she was similarly greeted by grandkids and dogs. I think we will sleep a lot better tonight.

The last story to tell involves the airport at Austin. As we deplaned, a young woman and a little girl were waiting at the gate, holding a big sign with the words "Welcome Home, Daddy!" We knew immediately who they were waiting for, as we had watched the soldier board just ahead of us in Dallas. We decided to wait and witness the reunion, and so did just about everyone else who had made the trip with us.

The soldier was one of the last passengers to exit the plane, and the little girl ran down the ramp to meet him. The three of them were hugging and kissing, while his fellow passengers burst into a spontaneous round of applause.

America, the beautiful.


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