It was out of character to be grounded for a month, but there was a lot going on in Washington: the start of a nice six-month consulting assignment, and a two-week “intensive learning experience” at Georgetown University’s business school, essentially a semester of work crammed into 12 days. I was repeating a course I first offered in 2014 on advertising campaign development. I made some changes to lighten it a bit, but it was still a ton of work for students and the prof. Lots of work, but lots of fun, too, for the 33 students and for me.
So I didn’t take wing again until Thursday, March 26, out the door way before sunrise, to the airport and onto the US Airways Shuttle to LaGuardia. Whoosh, that takeoff was fun – 49 years later, flight still thrills me. It was a day trip with two activities, to hear my old boss Bob Crandall give a speech to the Wings Club, a venerable aviation institution, then zip over to Brooklyn to meet my young friend and mentee Emily Sheppard.
Landed, hopped on the new Q70 express bus for the short ride to the subway at Jackson Heights, then into Manhattan. In no time I was ambling across the main concourse of Grand Central, one of the world’s truly remarkable transport hubs, gazing at the robin-egg blue ceiling decorated with constellations. Way cool!
The club now meets in the Yale Club, a rather stuffy place. By noon I was hugging and shaking hands with old friends, including Mr. C., catching up with folks I had not seen in awhile. The JFK team of American Airlines kindly offered me a seat at their table, and I yakked with AA airport chief, Mike, and Beth, who heads customer service. After a big plate, Bob took to the lectern and delivered his customary great speech; at 78 he still is totally on. He made us all proud. He always did.
The event ran long, and I zipped out, across the street, and onto a downtown train, then east to York Street in the new-cool Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn. Down Jay Street to the Brooklyn Roasting Co., where Emily works. She’s the youngest child of my dear friend Jack Sheppard, who died way too early, in 1993. As noted some months ago, I had not seen her in more than two decades, so it’s been great to reconnect, and try to help a bright and eager young woman develop her career. We had a great chat, a fine cup of cappuccino, and I was back out the door, onto the F train to Queens, back to LGA, and home. Fun to be back on the road, if only for a day.
Two days later, on Saturday the 28th, Linda dropped me at the McLean Metro station, to the airport and onto a flight to DFW, then out to Lubbock to see Jack. I knew we were in Texas when, before the DFW-Lubbock flight left the gate, the flight attendant asked the four of us sitting in the emergency-exit row to verbally confirm that we understood her instructions, and all four of us replied, “Yes, ma’am.” Civility is good. Landed at 4:30 in summer – clear and 82°. Ahhhhh! We zipped to his house to watch the NCAA basketball playoffs, then out to dinner at Bigham’s, an old-school barbecue place.
Was up early Sunday morning, pumped air in the tires of Jack’s mountain bike, and out for 20 miles around the huge Texas Tech University campus, one of the largest in the U.S. Back home, out the door for a burrito at Picante’s, a nearby Mexican place, then back to the “man cave” for more basketball. Seriously relaxing, and great to yak with our son. Dinner was at Chuy’s one of my fave Tex-Mex chains, then home to watch a movie on Jack’s new way-big-screen TV.
Out the door Monday morning on foot, backpack over shoulder, necktie and jacket, toward Texas Tech and a 10 AM lecture in the College of Media and Communication, now a regular stop. Jack zipped over from work to hear the 50-minute talk, first time he was in my class since Tokyo in 2007. It was great to have him there. We visited with some students after class, said goodbye to my host, Sun Lee, and motored out to the Ranch at Dove Tree, the treatment center where Jack works, for an early lunch. He dropped me at the airport and I winged home.