Another random note: in many years of (granted, intermittent) airline flights, this United flight from Tulsa to Chicago was the first one I've ever been on piloted by a team of women, and I also think the first one for me where the principal pilot was female. As soon as I noticed it, I was also struck by my noticing it: I've not, apparently, been struck by the uniformly male piloting I've had until now.
I've been highly honoured by friends this weekend. Having spent a month's budget - more than I'd intended - at the American Academy of Religion conference last month, both on the extra days of staying at the Palmer House for what turned out to be a five-minute mini-interview, and for spending more on a new suit than I'd hoped to do in my optimism, I'm now well into scraping the bottom of the barrel for this semester's student loan. Enter Kevin and Frannie. They really wanted me to come down and visit them in their new home in Tulsa, but I just couldn't afford it. And then hey! presto! I'm suddenly receiving from them a round-trip airline ticket. I have cool friends, who apparently think I'm pretty cool, too. All weekend, I was humbled by their generosity, which included meals, a ticket to a John Prine concert last night (with Iris Dement opening), and, from Frannie's folks, Bob and Fran, a ticket to this afternoon's matinee of The Nutcracker, which is the first time I had seen it performed since I was an undergraduate.
My flights down to Tulsa, delayed and swapped for a set through Cincinnati instead of Chicago, were unusually fun. The flight to Cincinnati had me sitting next to a young woman named Renée who managed some aspect of a pet supply company and who was just a riot to talk with, with the two of us laughing through everything from 80s clothes we remembered from our youth to hazards of business travel to comparing notes on favourite overseas travel (with particular attention to Santorini, Greece and the west coast of Ireland). Since I was in Cincinnati and just a matter of a few miles from Joe and Daniele's place, I called and checked in with them while I was delayed at my gate. Then, in my flight to Tulsa, I ended up seated in the midst of a pack of young women doctors in their residency in Chicago who were headed to Tulsa for some kind of clinic on scoped surgery of some gynecological sort. I was seated next to a D.O. named Aspen (which named I'd never heard before and liked) from Montana, and so we compared medical/theological professional notes, particularly emphasizing dismal aspects of residency and dissertating stages. Kev picked me up at the Tulsa airport and we rode in the glorious warm air of central Oklahoma with the top of his Jeep Wrangler down, wind blowing through my hair, and into town. My eyes kept catching sights reminding me of my first visit, driving into town from the airport, when I first went down to meet Frannie in May 2004.
That first night had me settled in by around 1230am, with a quick tiptoe tour of the house and a bit of talk until Kev had to take on another hour's work before bed, with having to be up at six. I was settled in the playroom/guestroom, which was slightly detached from the rest of the house, and therefore had a good night's sleep without any of the kids sounds that the parents have to live with.
TO BE CONTINUED