Mrs. M is at the grocery and the Spawn is back in the familiar surroundings of her bedroom, likely chatting with the Main Squeeze back in Terpland. I’m downstairs with the Hound of the Basketballs, listening to Chris Carter’s British Invasion on the TV. So let’s catch up, shall we?
Yesterday afternoon, I drove up to Charlotte to meet the Spawn at the airport. We brought her into Charlotte instead of Real City because the nice folks at SuperCheap Airlines had a deal on flights from BWI. I’ll be flying the same airline in a few weeks for my trip to NYC. However, because SuperCheap is not known for its creature comforts, we splurged a bit and put the Spawn in what passes for First Class for a more pleasant flight. I plan to operate similarly. But she’s much cuter than I’ll be:
I got to the airport about an hour before the flight arrived, so I staked out a spot by the appropriate baggage carousel and waited. As I checked the Book of Faces, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that one of my favorite former students and her wife were also arriving after a trip to New York, and in fact we got to meet up for a few minutes before they went to pick up their baggage.
But then I waited at the base of the escalator to baggage claim for a few minutes until the Spawn came down. Because of the angle, she said she saw my T-shirt before she saw my head, but she recognized the shirt all the same. (Because of the graphic, not the size, wiseass. Or so she says.)
It turned out that we didn’t need to stop by the baggage claim — the Spawn was carrying a small bag with her computer, phone, and chargers. And apparently that was all the modern young woman needs. “I have clothes at home,” she noted. (This version of traveling light also obviated any need for SuperCheap’s baggage fees. We’ll have to pony those up for the trip back (Don’t tell anyone, but I think Santa thinks well of her), but I reckon she’s worth it.
There are a couple of nice things about the Charlotte airport. One is that the first hour in their short-term garage is free, making the total parking cost a mere one dollar, which came out of my petty cash. Another nice thing is that it’s just a couple of miles from one of our favorite burger joints, so we stopped there for a midafternoon meal before heading back to Mondoville. As usual, portions were abundant and satisfying. In fact, I wound up batting cleanup when the Spawn couldn’t finish her large order of fries, and in turn that meant that I didn’t have to have supper last night.
The trip home was filled with music, smiles, and conversation. I got to hear about her job and coworkers, her classes, and the other aspects of her life in Terpland. Short version: She likes all of it, and it shows both in her general demeanor and her grades from first semester, which were better than mine from my first semester of grad school. At least she knew enough not to turn in a handwritten paper on yellow legal paper, which I did in those long ago days.
Mrs. M was also thrilled to have us arrive, and since it wasn’t as though the Spawn had to unpack, we settled into the living room to get further caught up. The three of us communicate on line pretty much on a daily basis, but it was deeply satisfying to sit and talk by the light of the Christmas tree. With luck, that’ll happen a few more times this week. Tomorrow, we’re heading to Real City for some shopping and bookstore time. Today, it’s just nice to have her home.
Unfortunately, not all the news around here is good. A former Newberry student (class of 2015) was shot to death Friday night in the course of an altercation at an office party. Mr. Warren-Camp was 26, and had captained the college’s baseball team in his senior year. Details are still emerging, but he leaves a widow, who is also a Newberry alumna. Fundraising efforts are underway for the family, and if you’re so inclined, you can contribute here.
Take care of the people you love — you never know how long you’ll have them.
In personal news, I’m looking forward to my own trip to New York, which will center around a book signing event at the Mysterious Bookshop on 8 January. The occasion is the release of two books under the Lawrence Block imprimatur, the From Sea to Stormy Sea anthology and Hunting Buffalo with Bent Nails, LB’s nonfiction miscellany. Mr. Block will be there, of course, as well as Janice Eidus, Charles Ardai, and Jerome Charyn. With heavy hitters like that, I’d love the affirmation of a few friendly faces in the crowd. Come on by — get something signed and chat a little. It’s a neat place!
As I drove the Spawn back to the Mid-Century Mondohaus, she mentioned that it gets dark faster where she lives than it does here, as we’re farther South. I told her that in exchange, she’ll have more daylight come summer. It’s dark outside, but we’ve passed the longest night of the year. Here’s hoping the coming days are brighter for us all, however the year may have been.
To close, I’ll break out some songs long time readers may recognize. I’ll start with a couple of tracks from Chicago garage band Saturday’s Children.
Then there’s this nifty take on an old favorite from SoCal Psychsters The Jigsaw Seen.
And I’ll wrap things up with a song I discovered last year, and have looked forward to playing again for quite a while. Here’s Jeff Kelly (of Mondofaves The Green Pajamas, who also have a Christmas album) in his side project The Goblin Market.
See you soon!