My bride and I recently returned from a quick trip back East to see my family, most of whom I hadn’t seen since the beginning of the pandemic. This was the first time I have been on a plane in quite some time. I wore a mask during the flight and in the airports, and took a number of other precautions, one of which was to fly first class in order to increase social distancing.

I can say that first class today is little if any better than I remember coach being decades ago. On the flight from LAX to Detroit I was offered a salad or two kinds of sandwiches. The salad contained two thin slices of chicken on top of lettuce that a hungry rabbit would have declined. When I asked for a cookie, I was brought a cup of coffee, and so it went. On the short flight from Detroit to Albany, I was offered a bag of pretzels and water.  I believe Bernie Madoff ate better in prison.

We drove north of Albany and into the Adirondack Park, and I was struck by the color green. It was everywhere. Georgia O’Keefe complained about the absence of other colors in the Lake George area, but having experienced a drought here in Malibu for much of the past 10 years, I kind of liked seeing green again. It was refreshing.

On our second day of the reunion, I walked outside and felt something wet on my head. The more I stood there, the wetter I became. As I looked around me, I noticed that everything around me was getting wet. It seemed like the wetness was coming from above. I looked up and saw nothing but dark clouds, and then I remembered something called “rain.” In around fifteen minutes, we experienced more rain than Malibu has had in many months. Being a college graduate, I immediately put two and two together and figured out that all that rain has something to do with all that green.

Following the rain, the sun reappeared, and suddenly I heard a frightful buzzing in my ear. Yes, it was the dreaded mosquito, and once again I put two and two together and figured out that there also exists a striking relationship between rain and mosquitos. I guess I’ll take Malibu with its sun, the color brown, and no mosquitos, thank you very much. 

The trip back was uneventful. This time I went for the sandwich, and spent much of the flight looking for the slice of provolone hidden somewhere between two gigantic buns.

Despite the airline’s attempt to starve me, the trip was well worth it to see my brother, his high school prom date, my niece, her husband, my two great nephews, my first cousin, and of course, my daughter and my son and his wife to be. There are no people more important to me than my family.

And so I survived wetness and mosquitos, and as always, it is great to be back in the Bu.

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