7:14 PM I'm no longer stuck in Modesto. At the moment I'm at O'Hare Airport in Chicago (the greatest big city in America, by the way). Coming in from LA, as we descended through a light cloud bank, the sun was shining on downtown Chicago. We flew over Lake Michigan, banked hard to the right so we got a breathtaking view of the shoreline. Just a moment ago I passed a hot dog stand so I stopped and had a Chicago hot dog with all the trimmings (including sport peppers) in honor of Steve Boisse and Ted King. It wasn't as good as Parky's or Gene and Jude's, but it's a far sight better than any hot dog you can buy in Tupelo. Just talked to Marlene who is on the road from Nashville to Memphis to pick me up. God willing, we should be home in about four hours.
9:10 AM I can report that the Modesto airport has free wireless Internet (a big plus) but no restaurants (a moderate minus). They do have a couple of vending machines that I have not sampled. My flight to Los Angeles leaves at 9:55 AM.
6:53 AM I'm sitting in the Modesto (CA) airport because I arrived five minutes late for the 6:10 AM flight to Los Angeles. The conference center is in Tuolumne, in the Sierra Nevada foothills, about an hour and 20 minutes away. The young man who drove me to the airport said that if we left at 4:30 AM, we should make it with time to spare. But it was dark and he wasn't sure how to find the airport and I couldn't help him, and we arrived at 5:45 AM. The lady at the United desk said it was up to the TSA people whether or not they had time to check my bags. Given the state of the world today, I can understand why they don't want to be rushed by people who show up after the deadline for checking in 30 minutes before takeoff. So there really wasn't anything to do. It doesn't matter whether I fly through San Francisco or Los Angeles, instead of getting to Memphis at 4:26 PM (and back to Tupelo by 7 PM), I'll arrive in Memphis at 9:20 PM and we might be home by 11:30 PM. So I spoke too soon about this being a shorter trip. It looks like it will take me 18 hours to get home.
Where there are no alternatives, there are no problems. I've been listening to Jeanne Robertson talk about accepting what you can't change and keeping a sense of humor. Now I have a whole day to put it into practice.
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