Veins on a Plane

Writing during my chemo session is a tricky proposition. I’m not my “normal self” during this time, and more tellingly it means I’ve procrastinated saved my weekly writing for the last minute. I’m also more likely to vent than if I were to write at a time of lesser duress. Case in point: I would typically not channel my inner (Chattanooga native) Samuel L. Jackson if I were writing from the comfort of my bed. As I sit in this chair, however, I feel compelled to declare that I have had it with these (expletive deleted)  needles in my (expletive deleted) arms.* Whew, much better. Lest you worry, please know that once I esacpe the needles, I return to my normal jovial self- still living the dream.

Three weeks, three trips, three continents. The first one is now in the books, and I’m off to quite a start. Two more weeks like this one and it won’t be a tumor that gets me. With D out of town for a few days, I thought this would be the perfect time for a boys getaway. My heirs and I took off for a long weekend, and this is our tale.

I once observed the fact that the barista at the airport remembered how I took my coffee was proof that I traveled too much. The second clue came as we were boarding the plane last week and the CHA Delta gate agents had a birthday card waiting for me. (Perhaps Delta does this for all medallions, but I prefer to believe that it is unique to our Chattanooga people). That it was not my birthday is somewhat beside the point, they were close. After a couple of uneventful flights we landed at DCA, and hit the ground running. A quick ride on the Metro and we were in front of the White House.

That's about right.
My traveling companions know I have patented the Walking Death March™ system for seeing new cities. My boys would not be spared. That first afternoon was tough: White House > W > Washington Monument > Lincoln Memorial > King Memorial > Jefferson Memorial > Korean War Memorial > Vietnam Memorial > WW II Memorial. At that point, the six year old was a bit grouchy, the ten year old was unfazed, and I was wiped out.

The march to the hotel was a serious test of stamina. Just as we were nearing the Washington Monument, three massive helicopters approached from the south. We could see that the streets in the path of the ‘copters were closed. They flew over our head, past the monument, and made for the White House. The two outside ‘copters peeled away and what we would later learn was Marine One landed on the south lawn. We gawked for a bit, watched the ‘copter take off and finished the last stretch of our trek back to the hotel.

Marine One is pretty cool.

No sooner had we crashed on the bed and turned on the TV, than the station cut to live statement from the President. Mr. Obama went on to address the attack in Chattanooga. What a surreal moment. There was the President, who we just saw fly by, sitting in the White House which was 621 feet away, talking about a tragedy in the city that has defined my adult life but was 600 miles away. Unreal. I don’t have anything to add about the events in Chattanooga last week (other than the fact that I am taking a break from browsing Facebook for a while).

Speaking of Facebook, as we were relaxing in the hotel, I got a message from a dear friend that was heading to D.C. for the weekend. Joe Edward was one of the first Phi’s I met in New Mexico. He was the leader of our chapter’s re-founding and unquestionably the adult among us. Friendship, Sound Learning, and Moral Rectitude are the Cardinal Principles of our fraternity, and there was no greater embodiment of those values among us than Joe.

I haven’t seen Joe since the early nineties, but we’ve had some close calls recently. We were at the same ‘Bama game last fall- but missed each other due to cell phone problems. We missed each other by a day at Disney World last month. This third time proved to be a charm. These days, Joe works with the Dodgers and was in town for a series with the Nationals. He invited the boys and I to join him and his daughter for the Saturday evening game. We had a big time catching up- it was a wonderful and unexpected treat to see my brother.

The next morning we were up before the sun to take the first flight home. Upon arrival the youngest and I crashed. The oldest proceeded to hit golf balls, play baseball, and shoot some hoops- all during the muggy heat of the day (oh, to have the vim and vigor of a ten-year-old).  One week, one trip, and one continent are in the books. More to come...

*Sincerest apologies to my Mother, and all of my God-fearing friends and prayer warriors. Indelicate, but needed to be said.

For chemo tunes suitable for foul-mouthed venting I turn to NIN. Survivalism, Only.

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