What I love?
It's the welcome: Sue Mosher picking me up at the airport, despite the inconvenience; toddler, dad getting a pacemaker, her life was in a deep fold at that moment.
It's the dinner with opinionated, fun, new-met colleagues at a hip, little place and trying for the first time an Oklahomer specialty: deep-fried dill pickles (a last-meal-on-death-row favorite, I'm told); delicious with a tangy sauce. Good, too, with the Fess Parker Pinot Noir (yes, boomers, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, turned into a seriously good winemaker); long legs, complex as a close shave.
It's definitely a little bit about Françoise and Darell Christopher. They operate the buoyantly welcoming Kennedy Mansion Bed and Breakfast, where I stayed the night. We watched a few hard-to-swallow minutes of the Republican National Convention together. Françoise packed me off with two kinds of crepes next morning.
Then Janet Gaskins, for the Tulsa AFP chapter, swept me away to Oklahoma State University -- Tulsa. This was my second time speaking at this impressive, well-appointed venue. That's Janet there on the right, in the light jacket, headed up the aisle in the main auditorium. On the end of each row of chairs is a big, metal "T" for Tulsa. The good kind of pride. All this, and it got even sweeter: the Christophers turned up in the audience! Surprise! My heart just about burst its baggie!
And it's a little bit about the fading romance/sheer annoyance of air travel these days. Carry everything with you, if you ever want to see it again. Put your gels and liquids in 3 oz. containers in a plastic bag. And eat in the Mexican place at the Cincinnati airport, C concourse, if you get the chance. The ancho burrito and a beer saved my road-worn sanity heading home.