Ah, Love Field, the scent of baking asphalt heavy in the air… even indoors where it is nominally air-conditioned (the word nominally here meaning “in name only”), people rushing about like lemmings and hamsters (though not the cool hamster-people of the recent car commercials), and air-port workers moving at the speed of airport business transactions (slower than molasses outdoors at Christmas during a blizzard).
Number One Son, the Marine home on leave, gave me the heads-up when he texted me at 7:45 am that he would be arriving “around 11:00”. I knew he would be flying in… but it didn’t occur to him to give me any details. What is the flight number? What airline are you on? What airport? Remember, there are two big ones in the DFW area. So, like all men who don’t know which end their own heads are attached to, I asked my wife. “Love Field” was all she said.
Now, this is partially good news. Love Field is small… compared to DFW. I could most probably catch him at the cattle-gate where all the passengers come out of the concourse through the same door. If you look carefully at the picture, you may spot the reflection of my be-hatted old head forlornly watching the ramp up to the cattle-gate.
“Jeez, Princess, if you bathed more often, you would smell a lot better than you do now!”
“I don’t stink any worse than you do, Henry!” she retorted, “And I bathe as often as you do.”
“I just had a shower last night!”
“Well, so did I. I took a shower right after you!”
Before the blows and the beatings began I said in a grouchy voice, “Can we not have a stink-fight right now, please?” The air-conditioner in the car only works poorly and part of the time… We also had to park out in the sun on the deck of the airport parking garage. And it was a long walk in the sunshine of hot-old Texas to get where we were at that moment. All of that pretty much was the reason for verbal combat and aroma follies.
“Where is he, Dad?” asked the Princess who complains right up to my patience-capacity red-line. “Shouldn’t he be here already?”
“I texted him, but I don’t think that Houston flight at 11:00 was actually the one that he is on.”
Suddenly I got the “Where are you?” text from number one son.
“We’re at the exit waiting.”
“Oh, gawd no!” I said. I started to hustle the two stink-warriors back towards the distant car. “We’re at loVe FIeld.” I hate when my finger is too big to hit the right key while texting and not simultaneously hit another key as well.
“Oh, hang on.”
I held my breath.
“That may be the one I’m at,” said the next text.
So, I halted the rushed exodus towards the $6 parking fee and the mad rush across the metroplex to the other airport. I was still holding my breath a bit… and turning slightly purple when… There he was with his guitar case, Marine backpack, and a rather silly grin on his face.