Saturday - On the Road

Telling stories in Hagerstown last night with Geraldine Buckley, Slash Coleman, and Diane Macklin. Great fun. We will continue this afternoon with Adam Booth replacing Geraldine.

Jim and I are staying at the PA house. Even though we have an hour commute it is more comfortable staying in familiar surroundings rather than a hotel- - besides being less expensive. Don't get me wrong. I love to travel. Hotels and meeting new people - but I also appreciate the quiet comfort of a familiar place.

Traveling for work is several shades different than being on the road for pleasure. More stress. Keeping focused on the job you came to do as well as navigating new territories.
Especially on an in and out quick stop - a meeting and then back on the road or in the air.

The other night Jim and I watched the movie, Up in the Air. I understood why George Clooney's character focused on connecting the dots with familiar services, hotels, airlines and ways of handling his baggage. Creating sameness however he could. Anything to simulate some form of belonging as you leave your real life behind -

Once I had several jobs that took me on the train or into the air. When I was hired I was excited by the prospect of being "on the go." I learned things aren't always what they seem.

Once when I was going to speak about ERA to a League of Women Voters gathering in Fort Dodge, Iowa - I cried all the way out there - my daughter was being inducted into Phi Beta Kappa at UNC - and I was on this blasted airplane - Jim went. They had a great time. But I missed it -

My father was a traveling salesman. He left on Monday and came back on Friday. This was in the days before cell phones and instant contact. In fact - he left and our home life settled back into our usual normal. He bopped back in over the week-end and stirred the pot. We knew little to nothing about his work or the people he met. And during these years he knew even less about his children. I do remember though how he prized the Frequent Flier baggage tag he earned by flying only with Eastern Air Lines.

At 6am one morning I was sitting in the Atlanta Airport waiting for a home-bound plane. I was tired, bone tired and sleepy. I looked at the other passengers waiting at my gate. All men in freshly pressed suits - reading a newspaper or thumbing papers in folders or just staring into space.

Seeing them I thought of Daddy. A realization swept over me as I pictured him here at this gate in the Atlanta Airport. I felt how hard that must have been on him as well - tiring and lonely - separated from his family. I wanted to thank him - to let him know I sort of understood. I stepped over to a line of wall pay phones and called him.
He was always up early. I knew he would be sitting at his desk in the bedroom, with a cup of coffee and the Charlotte Observer. He was. I told him where I was and why I was calling. He listened. A man of few words who did not like to talk on the phone - "Thank you, Ellouise."

I don't know what it meant to him. It meant a lot to me.

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