I hate flying. Oh, I’m not scared of flying. I really like that; feeling the earth drop away beneath you, the wind tearing over and under the wings, watching the cities become abstract and indistinct. I love that part. I really just hate modern airline travel.
Sure, I’m not the smallest guy you know, but I’m damn sure not the biggest, either. How is it then that I get stuck in the center seat, every frickin’ time? Makes no sense. I was cramped and miserable all day, and it started out badly when half of my toiletries got jettisoned in Wichita Falls because we were suddenly at threat level orange. Lousy terrorists.
The puddle-jumper to DFW wasn’t so bad, but DFW certainly sucked some of the life out of me. It’s the size of Manhattan; I know this because they were bragging about it on their signs. They have their own shopping system, because you can apparently spend your vacation at the airport. That’s just wrong.
Flying into Chicago, I hit Midway, because I hate effing O’Hare. Terrible airport, O’Hare. Always a problem there, every single time I ever flew into it. Midway is great, though (well, as great as an airport can possibly be, that is). The highlight of my day was getting to buy a couple of char-grilled red hots. Man, you just can’t beat that taste. It’s not a hotdog as most Texans understand it. It transcends and becomes like a sandwich, really.
Hartford’s airport was just dull. Thank god Bill Willingham was there to pick me up. We hopped into his rental and hoofed it up to Brattleboro, chattering the whole way. Good friends are the ones you can just resume your last conversation with, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen each other.
On the way up, we caught up and planned a late supper with Bill Williams, then stuck in Albany traffic in his own rental. I watched the countryside, all hills and valleys, ramshackle farmhouses and stately gingerbread mansions, and couldn’t help thinking of Lovecraft and Hawthorne. Just outside of Brattleboro, a raven flew across the road in front of us. I knew then I was not in Texas anymore.
Brattleboro has that characteristic trait of being built on a series of hills and hollows, so the streets wind and curve and dip and rise. Picturesque, in a non-postcard kind of way.
The Kipling house is breathtaking. I don’t know if I can describe it yet. Maybe I’ll try later. The three of us ate a Mamma and Papa Z’s café, and I had a scallop calzone (yeah, you heard me) with bacon and cheese. It was heavenly. Pappa Z is an orthodox minister and he looks it. Very nice, personable chap. Our first “interesting local” who was really nothing like I thought I’d meet here.