So here I am on American Airlines, bound for home. My morning started at 3:30 am when I awoke, got ready and caught the hotel shuttle for the airport and my way too early flight. After a two hour layover in Dallas Airport, we just left the tarmac and in a few hours I will be home. This marks the end of my annual teaching schedule. Please don’t ask what I am out there teaching unless you are short on both sleep and sleep aids. My circuit begins in Wisconsin where we zig zag across the state but ends with a week travelling across the State of Mississippi, finishing just in time to still get home for Christmas.
I guess what I wanted to write about was the amazing experience of not just visiting another state, but working and interacting with the locals as well. My experience is one of meeting incredibly gracious people with a very easy and much more laid back view of life. I will say that the term “fast food” is kind of lost when you are down here in the South and believe me, when you are crisscrossing the state and driving between your hotel sites, you get a lot of opportunity for fast food. Down South, they just aren’t in that same frenetic hurry that we seem to be in up here in the North. Never the less, I do look forward each year to my “Journey’s Across Mississippi”. I will shamelessly add that I can take extra heaping helpings of the “can I get’cha anything honey” or “how’s it go’en sweetie” any day and miss it every time I return home.
One of the fringe benefits I look forward to each year, is leaving the cold of Wisconsin weather in December for the subtle warm weather of that same time in Mississippi. I would pack for sixty and seventy degree weather looking forward to even donning shorts on my day off. So what went wrong this year? It seems the cold weather somehow purchased an airline ticket along with mine and showed up to accompany me across Mississippi. Though we did get one day of fifty degrees, I feared for snow on the rest. What was humorous, was their reaction to this weather. The term “oh my God, Hell is freezing over” seemed to be the general reaction. That and blaming my wife and I for bringing it with us. Newscasters warned the fearful citizens to bring in all animals, wrap your pipes and head to the grocery store for a week’s worth of provisions before the shelves were bare. We saw all forms of warm weather gear as they prepared for this onslaught of “death by cold”. Now in fairness, we in Wisconsin, given this same degree of cold, would at least have put away our shorts and flip flops. We may have even donned a sweater. But gloves, ski masks and parkas? By the way, I still packed for seventy degrees. Rather wore out that one sweater I had somehow packed, or was that the one I wore to the airport the day we flew down?
But I am on my way home now and I apologize to the Deep South for bringing that taste of winter with me. I am told a good old snow storm waits for me to land so that it can blanket us with a beautiful layer of white. The more I think about it, the more I look forward to it. Poor Mississippi, suffering through the cold without the one beautiful benefit of winter, snow. After all, what would winter and especially Christmas be without it?
So I will sign the end of my trip, gently dozing off on the plane while dreaming of a white Christmas and glad to be home once more.