Monthly Archives: May 2015

Scotland and England

Glasgow: The Royal Highland Fusiliers building, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Glasgow: The Royal Highland Fusiliers building, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

I was home from Mexico less than 40 hours. Just before noon on Monday the 18th I hopped the Metro to National Airport, flew north to Philadelphia, then across the water to Glasgow, Scotland. My first time in that city in 38 years (a similar lapse as in the 2015 visits to Amsterdam and Copenhagen), and I hadn’t been in Scotland for nearly 20 (Edinburgh with the family in 1996). The usual forecast for Scotland is damp, and they said rain for Tuesday, but it was a mostly sunny, if a bit cool. Landed before seven and hopped a bus into town. Happily, the Holiday Inn Express, a mere block from the Buchanan bus station, had a room ready. Showered, changed, and headed out.

Approaching Glasgow

Approaching Glasgow

Stream near Glasgow Airport

Stream near Glasgow Airport

Travel articles about the place invariably talk about “far different,” “cleaned up,” and other comparisons to its former rather dismal and industrial face, and it was true: it did look much, much better. Part of the difference was visiting under sunshine in spring versus my last and only time on a bleak and rainy Sunday in October 1977. The solid stone buildings, many from red sandstone, had been cleaned up, and new buildings interspersed. A lot of money had clearly been spent on the retail streets, many closed to vehicles. Streets and sidewalks were repaved with smooth stone. It had the look and feel of a well-planned city. What was also different from four decades earlier was the absence of heavy industry: back then, shipbuilding and other major works were still a big part of the local economy. That work left for Korea, China, and elsewhere.

Glasgow: solid

Glasgow: solid

Donald Dewar, Scotland's first-ever First Minister

Donald Dewar, Scotland’s first-ever First Minister

I ambled south on Buchanan Street, and into city hall, called city chambers, then around George Square and south to the River Clyde. Followed it downstream to a long stretch of redevelopment where some shipbuilding had been (although the core of that work, for instance the birthplace of many Cunard liners) was a few miles further downstream in a place called Clydebank). Paused for a cup of coffee in a hotel, crossed the river, ambled to a subway stop, and headed back to the center. Walked to the University of Strathclyde, ate a light lunch, and introduced myself to a marketing prof, offering to return as a guest lecturer.

Along the River Clyde

Along the River Clyde

Entry to the St. Enoch station of the Glasgow Subway

Entry to the St. Enoch station of the Glasgow Subway

Ceiling, lobby, Glasgow City Chambers

Ceiling, lobby, Glasgow City Chambers

Bridge over the Clyde

Bridge over the Clyde

Glasgow exhibition halls; the one at left is called The Armadillo

Glasgow exhibition halls; the one at left is called The Armadillo

Old-looking but new distance marker on a bicycle route

Old-looking but new distance marker on a bicycle route

The paddle steamship Waverley, built Glasgow 1946; she's the last one in the world

The paddle steamship Waverley, built Glasgow 1946; she’s the last one in the world

Tranquil park in the center of the urban campus of the University of Strathclyde

Tranquil park in the center of the urban campus of the University of Strathclyde

The traffic cone really says it all

The traffic cone really says it all

NewGlasgow

New buildings near the University of Strathclyde

 

Headed back to the hotel, did a bit of consulting work, took a short nap, and ambled back out, west to The Tenement House, a beautifully preserved apartment in a stone building that belonged to the National Trust for Scotland. This was not “tenement” in the grim U.S. sense, with squalor and shared bathrooms. It was an interesting story. Mrs. Toward moved into a four-room flat on the second floor when the building was completed in 1892. She was a widowed dressmaker, and her daughter, Agnes, a steno typist, was born there, and lived in the building for more than 60 years. When Agnes died in 1975, she bequeathed chairs to her church elder. He brought his niece Anna Davidson along to collect them, and she was fascinated with the place. Agnes changed it very little (she didn’t install electric lights until 1960) and kept the place pretty much the same for decades. Ms. Davidson bought the flat, moved in, and cleaned the place up a bit, but did not modernize. She sold it to the National Trust in 1982, and they have operated it, giving visitors a rare glimpse into a simple life from a century ago.

MrsToward

The National Trust prohibited taking photos, but they were readily found online; here is the tenement kitchen

The National Trust prohibited taking photos, but they were readily found online; here is the tenement kitchen

Household objects on view in the downstairs exhibit area (where photos were allowed); the wooden rod is a spittle, old "non-stick technology" for stirring oatmeal (porridge), a Scottish staple

Household objects on view in the downstairs exhibit area (where photos were allowed); the wooden rod is a spittle, old “non-stick technology” for stirring oatmeal (porridge), a Scottish staple

The flat had conveniences not all that common in Glasgow back then: indoor toilet, hot and cold running water (the former heated by pipes circulating around a huge iron range in the kitchen), and quite a bit of space. It was fascinating. And it was also fun to yak with the very chatty docents, women my age, who knew a lot. I walked back via Sauchiehall Street, a retail artery filled with lots of wonderful old buildings, including one by the renowned late-19th Century architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Washed my face, and headed out for an ale and dinner.

St. George's Mansions, a Mackintosh-like building on Woodlands Rd.

St. George’s Mansions, a Mackintosh-like building on Woodlands Rd.

This exuberant Art Deco building on Sauchiehall Street stuck out!

This exuberant Art Deco building on Sauchiehall Street stuck out!

Scottish nationalists live here: on the left, the logo of the Scottish Nationalist Party, and at right their revealed vote in the 2014 independence referendum

Scottish nationalists live here: on the left, the logo of the Scottish Nationalist Party, and at right their revealed vote in the 2014 independence referendum

Traditional dress is still for sale; in fact, I walked past three or four stores selling kilts and the rest of the kit

Traditional dress is still for sale; in fact, I walked past three or four stores selling kilts and the rest of the kit

I detoured to see another Mackintosh building, colloquially called The Lighthouse, then across downtown to a building called Merchant Square and a superb dinner at Arisaig, a place specializing in Scottish cookery. First course, haggis (look it up!) atop mashed turnips and potatoes, known in Scotland as “neaps and tatties.” Second course was smoked haddock and new potatoes. And a couple of bottles of Scottish pale ale. Yum! But the best part of the meal was another sort-of-T-t-S, this time with waitress Joy. The restaurant was not busy, so between courses and after the meal we yakked a lot. She was a geography major at the University of Glasgow, but unlike your scribe focused on the physical side of the field. We also chatted about the U.S., life in Scotland, her filmmaker father, and more. A nice time.

Detail above a door at Mackinstosh's building known as the Lighthouse

Detail above a door at Mackinstosh’s building known as the Lighthouse

The view north on Candleriggs, to the Ramshorn Theatre, once a church (or kirk), built 1824

The view north on Candleriggs, to the Ramshorn Theatre, once a church (or kirk), built 1824

Haggis, neaps, and tatties

Haggis, neaps, and tatties

When I downloaded the latest operating system update for my iPhone, some cool new apps were attached, including one called “Health,” which, among other things, tracks how much you walk each day. And just before my head hit the pillow it read “11.5 miles.” No wonder I was plumb wore out.

1970s-style high-rise public housing, The Gorbals

High-rise public housing, The Gorbals

Slept hard, up at six, out the door for a last bit of sightseeing, across the River Clyde to the Gorbals, once a slum but now, like the rest of Glasgow, mostly cleaned up. Hopped on the bus back to the airport and flew Ryanair to London Stansted Airport; they’re incredibly cheap, and totally safe, but the constant effort to sell you stuff onboard is totally annoying. Still, for $30 I was 330 miles south. Jumped on the train (for comparison, $20 for 25 miles, which points up airlines’ astonishing efficiency) and was in Cambridge by 1:00. It was my 20th visit to the university’s Judge Business School.

Walked to customary digs at Sidney Sussex College, and for the second consecutive Sidney visit was given a very large, very comfortable room. Did a bit of work, took a nap, walked around town a bit, and at 6:45 was in chapel for Latin Vespers. As I have written before, the Sidney choir, under director David Skinner, is celestial, and it was a soothing 35 minutes. We then repaired to the Old Library for a glass of sherry, and into the dining hall, seated at high table.

Sidney Sussex is known for its lovely gardens, and for the profusely blooming wisteria

Sidney Sussex is known for its lovely gardens, and for the profusely blooming wisteria

I always window-shop at the Cambridge University Press bookshop, and there are always fascinating titles on display

I always window-shop at the Cambridge University Press bookshop, and there are always fascinating titles on display

It is always a joy to be there, and the dinner conversation was splendid. To my left, Subhash, a trade economist from Southern Illinois University, native of India, visiting for the Easter Term. To my right, Rodolphe, an electrical engineer from Belgium, now a fellow at the college. Across the table, Richard, a Cambridge-trained fluvial geomorphologist at Aberystwyth University in Wales, and his New Zealand geographer wife Helen. And a superb meal. After dinner and two-word Latin blessing, as is the custom we repaired to the Know Shaw Room, where I had a long chat with Priscilla Barrett, a highly-regarded wildlife artist and widow of a former college master; and a brief yak with Lindsay Greer, a professor of materials science who I had not seen in several years. A colossal evening filed, as I have written before, under “old school.”

One of Priscilla Barrett's many works.

One of Priscilla Barrett’s many illustrative works. © Princeton University Press.

Clock, Old St. Mary's, Cambridge

Clock, Old St. Mary’s, Cambridge

Next morning at breakfast I chatted with another long Sidney friend, Christopher Page, professor of English and practitioner of ancient music, and briefly with David Skinner. Walked across town to the Judge Business School and set up “my office” in the second floor common room. Worked the morning, save for a nice catch-up with Paul Tracey, another great fellow (mutual friend of Simon Bell, the Aussie who first invited me to the school a decade back, and my Wisconsin host Jan Heide). Met my host, Omar Merlo, for lunch at one, from three to four delivered a lecture on airline advertising to an engaged group, and from four to five listened to class presentations. Omar treated me to a quick beer next door, and sped back to London. I sauntered north on Trumpington Street in warm sunshine, happy for another visit to a great university.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, locally the Round Church, built ~1130

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, locally the Round Church, built ~1130

Event posters are a common fixture all over Cambridge; one wishes for a week there to attend one after another!

Event posters are a common fixture all over Cambridge; one wishes for a week there to attend one after another!

I've always appreciated this plaque, across the street from the business school; this time I noticed the possessive: "his jet engine," perhaps something like a baby, his baby!

I’ve always appreciated this plaque, across the street from the business school; this time I noticed the possessive: “his jet engine,” perhaps something like a baby, his baby!

Changed clothes, worked a bit, and by tradition ambled back across town to The Eagle, the storied tippling place of Cambridge scholars through the years, as well as men and women from the RAF, U.S. Army Air Force, and other air corps during World War II. Then north to Cocum, a tiny restaurant with food from the Indian state of Kerala, for a spicy vegetable curry. Then to sleep; a long, fine day.

Eagle

Ceiling, dining hall, Sidney Sussex College

Ceiling, dining hall, Sidney Sussex College

Up at six on Friday, 90 minutes of work, then off to the dining hall for the full English (“heart attack”) breakfast: egg, sausage, bacon, potatoes, grilled tomato and mushrooms, canned beans. Back to the room for a last bit of work, then south two miles to the train station, and on to London. Arrived Liverpool St. Station at 11:45, and walked a few blocks to a law firm where my Airbnb host, Carolina, worked. She handed me the key, and I hopped on the Tube west to Hammersmith then two blocks south to her great flat, nearly on the River Thames.

I needed a bike ride, so donned shorts (and helmet, wisely packed) and headed out. The handy Spotcycle app on my iPhone steered me to a nearby Santander cycle-hire station, and off I went, along the river, through Fulham, then toward South Kensington. As six weeks earlier, I traded the bikes periodically, to stay under the 30-minute limit for free rides (one-day access is just £2). At the first drop station, I was sure I locked it, but when I tried to rent another, I got an error message. Walked to nearby station, but got the same message. Found a pay phone – there are still quite a few, mercifully – to avoid $2 a minute on my iPhone, and rang the service line. After a lot of to and fro, the advice was to walk back to the original drop point and check that the bike was, first, still there, and second properly locked in the dock. My bad: it was not, so I pushed hard, got the bleep and green light, and was then able to zip out, in lots of Friday-afternoon traffic (people left work early on the first of a three-day weekend). Rode toward Harrod’s, then back through Kensington Park, Notting Hill, a very posh area called Holland Park, and back toward Fulham.

There was another snafu, but this time it was not my fault. The station printer at Parsons Green was out of paper and thus I could not get the little slip that has the five-digit code to release a bike. Happily, another station was only about four blocks away, and I was back on two wheels. Back at the flat at 3:50, time to wash my face, drink some water, put on trousers, and walk a few blocks up the Thames to The Dove, a wonderful riverside pub. On the way, a nice T-t-S moment with a woman from Cardiff, in London for the weekend to dog-sit her daughter’s four-year-old cocker spaniel, Madison. I walked past Madison, who was sitting on a park bench, then turned around and asked the lady if she was friendly, which started a nice conversation and some intense face-licking from dear Madison. Doo, doo, doo, as we say to our dogs.

Madison, my Friday best friend

Madison, my Friday best friend

Just before 4:30, I met a friend from my eighteen month stint with Intelligent Avionics, the start-up company that wanted to make inflight entertainment systems (R.I.P., 2012). Peter Tennant is a co-owner of Factorydesign, an industrial design firm that designed and engineered the seatback units. I’ve stayed in touch with him and he bought me a pint at The Dove. We planned for a couple of hours, but family matters intervened, and he peeled off at five, just long enough to get caught up on Factorydesign work. They do a lot in airline-cabin design, including new Business Class seats for SAS. He’s a great fellow.

TheDove

My pint was still half full and the river view was superb, so I hung out for awhile, then ambled downstream, pausing for another glass at the Blue Anchor, licensed 9 June 1722. Back to the flat for a tonic 30-minute nap. It was past time for a meal (the huge breakfast kept me going for hours, but I was really hungry). Best idea was back to The Dove. I grabbed a pint and headed back to the river terrace, but all seats were taken. Then Steve volunteered his seat, launching a superb T-t-S with him, his brother Graham, and Graham’s father-in-law Andrew.

Panorama from just downstream of The Dove

Panorama from just downstream of The Dove

High fashion Mini, Hammersmith

High fashion Mini, Hammersmith

They had spent a pleasant afternoon nearby at Fuller, Smith & Turner, brewers of London Pride (and landlords of The Dove). We yakked across a bunch of topics. Andrew was retired, Graham worked for Honeywell, and Steve for insurers Marsh & McClennan – some common ground there, in Honeywell’s roots in the same city as mine (Minneapolis), and Marsh’s active role in insuring airlines. I introduced them to the U.S. term “helicopter parenting,” in response to news that Graham’s 18-month-old son Jack had fallen that day and chipped his tooth, causing his mom great stress. We guys simply concluded that that’s what boys do. On the way out, Andrew mentioned that Steve had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, adding that “one of your Chinooks (helicopter) saved him.” I simply said that our two countries have been together, in thick and thin, for a long time.

I headed to the bar to order dinner, and on return was happy to see that my chair was still vacant, but barely – a young guy said he was tempted to grab it, which launched another nice T-t-S with a group from the U.S. engineering firm CH2M Hill; I especially enjoyed a chat with a young Irish woman, civil engineer working on a MBA at Imperial College London, where I would be teaching the next day – indeed, I invited her to the daylong workshop on crisis management. They departed, my roast cod, lentils, and spinach arrived, and all was well. Lights out an hour later.

Up at six Saturday morning, out the door, onto a share bike for Imperial. I got there way early, in time for breakfast at Pret a Manger (and a big tub of yogurt from a nearby supermarket), then to review my slides. The forecast was for 30 students, but only 8 attended, an engaged group from Nigeria, Pakistan, Canada, and five other places – like Cambridge, Imperial is way diverse. High point of the day was a lot of nice conversation at lunchtime. At 5:05 I said goodbye, walked south to the Tube and home.

Changed clothes, and walked back to the Thames, to another riverside pub, the Rutland Arms. Enjoyed the sun (a long streak of great weather – five days with virtually no rain). The plan was for an Indian meal two blocks north in the center of Hammersmith, but Sagar had closed, so I hopped on the Tube for a short ride east to Earl’s Court. I was a bit hungry, but the Blackbird beckoned. It’s a favorite, and I hadn’t visited in nearly a year. It was hopping on a Saturday night, so I grabbed a glass of London Pride and a stool in the corner, and watched a wide variety of patrons: American tourists; a father and his seven-year-old daughter who colored while he tippled; a smiling old guy at the bar who patted everyone who walked past. Last stop, the reliable chain Indian place Masala Zone for a spicy meal and a mango lassi.

Patrons of The Rutland Arms; we wondered if the sword interfered with their texting!

Patrons of The Rutland Arms; we wondered if the sword interfered with their texting!

Mango lassi at Masala Zone

Mango lassi at Masala Zone

Up at 6:30 Sunday morning, out to the airport and onto a big Silver Bird to New York Kennedy, then on to Washington, landing in time to head to the swimming pool with Robin, Dylan, and Carson.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

In Praise of Wings

Flying home to Washington two days ago, I streamed the movie Maleficent (for free!) from the onboard wi-fi network.  I was immediately in thrall of young Maleficent’s wings, and it got me thinking about their power, whether in fantasy, given by God, or made by humankind.  The way she swooped around the moors  Whoosh!

Maleficent

Then yesterday morning, I read an article in The New York Times entitled “Flight Paths,” about avian migratory behavior.  The story related many interesting things about winged creatures, but what jumped out was this specimen from an anatomy museum at the University of Rostock, Germany:

Pfeilstorch

While enjoying winter in the warmer climes of Central Africa, this stork was hit by an iron-tipped wooden spear.  The Times wrote: “This unlucky bird survived the attack and flew back to Germany, only to be shot by a hunter in the spring of 1822. Newspaper reports revealed the spear’s distant origin, and the newly christened pfeilstorch, or arrow-stork, was celebrated for solving the puzzle of where German storks spent their winters.”  And to me celebrated for its remarkable power and persistence!

Last night, I downloaded an e-book to read on my iPhone in the forthcoming trip to Britain, Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings, a story about two girls in Charleston, South Carolina, in the opening years of the 19th Century.  The opening words of the book:

There was a time in Africa the people could fly.  Mauma told me this one night when I was ten years old.  She said, “Handful, your granny-mauma saw it for herself.  She say they flew over trees and clouds.  She say they flew over clouds and trees.  She say they flew like blackbirds.  When we came here, we left that magic behind.

And this afternoon, we did fly, a short flight from Washington to Philadelphia, where in 90 minutes I will board a Silver Bird that will cross the Atlantic to Scotland in six hours.  Its wings look like these, on the ground, and in the air just west of Glasgow:

Wing-757

Wings-2

 

Wings.  Remarkable things, in so many ways, to be celebrated and, indeed, to be lifted up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Two Quick Trips: Philadelphia and Torreón, Mexico

On approach to Torreón: the desert blooms

 

On Wednesday, April 29, I flew up to Philadelphia for the day, short flight, then the suburban train to the University of Pennsylvania for a couple of meetings with profs and others. It was a gorgeous spring day, perfect for a stroll around the campus and the school that changed my life. Meetings went well, and in mid-afternoon I ambled down to 30th Street Station and hopped the train home, a bumpy ride that reminded me of all that was wrong with government-provided infrastructure in our republic.

Penn

Non-destructive graffiti: "Penn loves Ben" in chalk

Benjamin Franklin, founder of the University of Pennsylvania, the first secular institution of higher learning in British North America; non-destructive graffiti: “Penn loves Ben” in chalk

The famous sculpture by Robert Indiana

The famous sculpture by Robert Indiana

In between these two sojourns, a local sortie of note: on Friday, May 8, I rode my bike down Dolley Madison Blvd., down the hill to the Potomac River, and along the old canal towpath into Washington, D.C.  It was the 70th anniversary of VE Day, victory in Europe, the end of six years of carnage and destruction.  Regular readers know that I give thanks every day for all who made freedom possible, in our republic and elsewhere, so it was right to mark this day.  And what a marking: at noon, every combat aircraft involved in World War II flew down the river and over the National Mall.  It was spectacular.  And it was moving, especially from my vantage, the National World War II Memorial, where a few brave men and women from that war were still among us.

VE70

B-17s in formation above Washington

B-17s in formation above Washington

 

On Thursday, May 14, I flew to Dallas/Fort Worth and on to Torreón, a mid-size city in the state of Coahuila, in northern Mexico, to present a one-day seminar and evening presentation on leadership. Gabriel Rosel, the general manager of the Club Montebello, the hotel venue for the talks the next day, his bodyguard (more on that later), and Fátima Zuñiga, the local conference organizer, met me at the airport. As I have written before, Mexico is numero uno in hospitality, and I could tell from the first moment that they were going to go over the top. We yakked on the short ride to Montebello, and I was losing my voice, not a good thing on the eve of seven hours of speaking the next day. I was smiling, but feeling stressed.

Housing for Torreón's growing middle class

Housing for Torreón’s growing middle class

Gabriel and your scribe, on arrival

Gabriel and your scribe, on arrival

Over the top. Yep, when Gabriel walked me into the vast Presidential Suite. Oh my. After profusely thanking my new friend – and he was already truly an amigo – my first thought was, well, this is way different from the Airbnbs that have been my recent digs. I washed my face and at 9:00 sat down to dinner with Gabriel and Jenny Torres, a local woman who would be my (sequential) translator the next day. Jenny grew up in El Paso, Texas, so was well and truly familiar with both languages. We talked a bit of business, but mostly listened to Gabriel, a great talker.

Not the Airbnb: the Presidential Suite at Club Montebello

Not the Airbnb: the Presidential Suite at Club Montebello

Originally from Merida on the Gulf of Mexico, he had been in the hotel business 22 years, mostly resort properties in Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. The Montebello was a small (53 rooms) hotel that relied on events (weddings, birthdays, etc.) for most of its revenue, owned by an industrial family from Monterrey. Married, two kids, smartphone pictures passed in both directions.

Dawn at the Montebello

Dawn at the Montebello

My idea of a great breakfast in Mexico!

My idea of a great breakfast in Mexico!

Was up early Friday morning, paddling around the suite. Cup of coffee, suit up, meet Gabriel for a traditional Northern Mexico breakfast: small omelette, beans, potatoes, and chilaquiles, a wonderful mix of corn chips, cheese, and sauce. Yum. Learned more about Gabriel, about Torreón, and more. Delivered the morning half of the seminar with little voice difficulty, hooray. Lunch with Gabriel and a couple of his managers, and a chance to meet his wife Gabriela and sons Diego and Bernardo, who were very shy around the gringo. Afternoon sped by (two hours, traditional Mexican lunch break, enabled a 25-minute nap, totally tonic). Last stretch was an evening conferencia with 200 people, some good questions at the end. After a nice round of applause, students, who were the majority of the audience, came forward to have their picture taken with me. Smiled for about 15 minutes and 50+ snaps.

Gabriel, his team, and your scribe

Gabriel, his team, and your scribe

I spoke with a lot of nice people that day, but I met the nicest of the lot when walking back to my room to wash my face and rest for a bit before the final event, dinner with a group of event sponsors and the mayor. Dante, Carla, Alejandro, and Alan, who had been at the evening show, were having a beer on the bar terrace. Dante stopped me and wondered if he might ask me a question. “Sure,” I replied, “and if you buy me a beer I will give you the answer.” “Deal,” he said. I returned in a few minutes and fell into an almost-T-t-S encounter. The four all worked at Toyota Bashoku, a plant that supplies fabric and leather seat covers to the big carmaker. They were excited because a few days earlier they learned that BMW awarded the plant a big contract to supply their South Carolina factory. Three of the four had studied industrial engineering at the local institute of technology. Dante asked his question and a couple of more; he had just been promoted to manager, and wanted to know about how to manage! The conversation was fascinating on many levels, but especially in getting to know new members of Mexico’s educated middle class. And of course they asked to me to be in a picture.

Dinner started late, nearly ten, and there was no rest for the guest. Students and adults peppered me with questions about the airline business, Mexico, the U.S., leadership, crises, yow. After the meal there were more pictures, and I finally got “off duty” at 11:10. A long day, but satisfying.

Up at 6:30, Gabriel and company drove me back to the airport, last hugs (I truly got to know him well in a short period).  He insisted on coming in and staying with me through check-in.  His last words were, “Rob, remember, the Presidential Suite is always waiting for you.” Hospitality on steroids.  A wonderful fellow and new amigo.

I had a long layover in DFW, so arranged with lunch with longtime friend and former neighbor Tim Griffy, who I had not seen in several years (his son Walker and our Jack were best buddies growing up, and indeed Jack, Linda, and Robin helped celebrate Walker’s wedding when I was in Europe a month earlier). While waiting for Tim, I witnessed something that made me happy and proud on many levels. A 20-piece youth Mariachi band from Fort Worth, immigrant children and sons and grandsons of people who came north in search of a better life, were outside the Customs hall, preparing to serenade a small group of exchange students arriving from Mexico City. In addition to the visitors from Mexico, there were families arriving from India, young black men from Africa, and more. E pluribus unum.  I was proud of the welcoming arms of our republic. Memorial Day would come in two weeks, and I think my dad and all the others who, through the years, helped us endure as a nation would also have been proud of that scene.

Welcome

Trumpeter

Tim rolled in at 11:20 in his zippy 1997 Porsche 911, we headed for a barbeque lunch at Spring Creek, a Dallas fave, and a good yak across a bunch of topics. Tim dropped me back at DFW, and I flew home. A full, good trip.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized