The prodigal son is back home! Good to see you all again. After touring (what seemed like the whole of) Ireland with the St. Sebastian choir along with the St. Francis de Sales choir (more to follow on the trip some day) we began the long journey home. And it was longer going home than it was going. There was a six hour layover in Newark, New Jersey. SIX HOURS! It is difficult enough getting people to make a holy hour, how do you fill six hours (on a full stomach) in an airport?
Answer: Not easily.
So about two hours in, I started going through all of the shops trying to find something (besides another book) that could fill the hours that still stretched out before us. And you know what? There was NOTHING. I kid you not. Unless I wanted to play with a miniature New York police car, there was absolutely nothing for sale that would eat up time save buying a couple of bottles at a duty-free shop and dodging open container laws.
(Which, by the way, I did not do.)
Don't you think SOMEBODY would have come up with the idea of selling something - even a deck of cards! - that a guy or a couple of people could use to kill some hours? (And I just could not stomach paying another $19 for a SINGLE BOTTLE OF CHEAP AMERICAN BEER.)
So I asked my magic phone how to kill time in an airport. After learning that one should not use the term "kill" in airport I was given a list of five possible things to do:
1. Jog through the terminal. (That's not likely to happen anywhere unless a mugger is chasing me let alone a busy terminal with angry people and roving golf carts.
2. Do yoga. Again: No.
3. Go into town. This one was actually feasible but the very thought of getting lost, not making it back in time, going through security again and possibly then having to spend another day in the airport kept me right where I was.
4. Play a game. Nice idea. Again - THERE WERE NO GAMES FOR SALE.
5. Eat like a king. Good advice if you have the money of a king from a rich country.
So I started making phone calls and sending texts, something I usually deplore but desperate times require desperate measures. But of course everybody was at Mass or work or sure it couldn't possibly be me because I don't call people.
One text did get through to Fr. K.
Sure thing. The only problem is that nowadays airports are not the best place to be adventurous. They discourage adventurousness. In fact, every adventurous scenario that I could call to mind either led to my detention or possible arrest.
Then a thought came to me. Why don't I stage a raffle in the terminal? Preparations alone would take up half an hour! So I went about looking for inexpensive (cheap) prizes. While hunting I ran into a young couple, their child with a soon arriving one on the way that I married during my first assignment. (Oh my, that means they aren't so young anymore!) So we chatted for a spell and then I headed back to gate 82.
And there was a fellow priest! Fr. Turner was returning from a mission trip. He too was stranded at the airport and was hoping to get on OUR plane so he wouldn't have to wait for a long time. That was a nice surprise.
(I forgot to mention . . . while I was out an about I saw this incredibly ugly dog. It was SO ugly that didn't tell anybody about for fear they would think I was making it up. But lo! The dog's picture was in the newspaper when we got home for having won the world's ugliest dog contest. Go figure.)
So we were going to play a huge game of heads and tails and I invited anybody who wanted to play to play.
Bob is your uncle from pennies to guineas
the two sided mint is the rule not exception
and would you not feel quite the fool of deception
to find the same face on both sides of the coin?
Except there was no head at all. So after scrounging up some U. S. coinage, the game was afoot! And just about the moment that last prize was awarded, boarding was announced.
Thank you guardian angel for keeping me sane.