September 17, 2007
4:30AM EST – I wake to the easy sounds of James Taylor coming through the radio. My first thought of the day: snooze.
4:39 AM EST – I wake, for the second time, to the soft volume of the radio. The James Taylor show has now left the nightstand, replaced by a female artist unknown to me (my wife clearly has selected this radio station). My second thought of the day: snooze … but I know I cannot succumb to the temptation of the comforter and warmth of the pillow … I have a flight to catch!
4:41 AM EST – My feet hit the floor for the first time on this day, for this journey, with thoughts of the Thistle Hotel, the “tube”, and double-decker buses! Destination: London … I’m ready. Diversity of all kinds is something Holy Cross cherishes, and so this trip is all about bringing some additional international flair to campus. I’ll be visiting with students from many different countries this week (more on that later), but the first step is to make it to Boston’s Logan International Airport on time for my 9AM flight.
5:13 AM EST – Packed, dressed, and ready to go, I sneak quietly into Olivia’s room (my 20-month old “Crusader”) for one last glimpse of my sleeping beauty. Breathing heavy in her fleece pj’s, I know she’s warm and comfortable in dreamland somewhere – – a place for which, I admit, at the time I’m slightly jealous.
5:35 AM EST – I confirm I have the essentials … luggage: check. Itinerary: check. Tickets: check. Passport: check. iPod: full. I collect one last kiss from my wife, and off I go, into the darkness of I-95 headed for Boston.
5:41 AM EST: Dunkin’ Donuts: check.
8:33 AM EST: After navigating my way to a long-term parking lot that was so far away from anything remotely resembling an airport terminal it felt like Revere, MA, and making my way through 40 minutes of check-in, I board American Airlines flight 156. Making my way to to seat 41F (in the center seat, of the center section of the Boeing 777 (my least favorite seat)), I check out those seated around me. Next to me … a motley crew of four heavily tattooed, more than slightly disheveled men in their early 30’s, clearly rockers. I would later come to learn the name of their band, as told to the flight attendant, is “The Darkness”; presumeably not producing the genre of music my wife would choose to wake up to. Directly behind me, a child, screaming as if her molars were being extracted on the spot. This continued for at least 70% of the flight. Headphones: check. Volume: MAX. The incessant screaming was also somewhat tempered by the passengers in row 40, seats E and F – – a young mother in her early 30’s with a beautifully well-behaved child very reminiscent of my own little Olivia! She was a gem, and made me already miss Olivia more than I can describe here. We played periodic games of peek-a-boo between the seats, waved back and forth, and took naps for most of the way across the North Atlantic. If nothing else, it helped ease the molar extraction happening behind me.
8:13 PM London / 3:13 PM Worcester: We’ve “hopped the pond” as they say, and arrive safely at London’s Heathrow International Airport. Next stop: The Thistle Hotel.
9:05 PM London / 4:05 PM Worcester: WHEW … after hopping the “H4 Hotel Hoppa”, I arrive nearly 12 hours later to my home away from home, nearly 4,000 miles from Worcester: the Thistle Hotel. ‘night … blog you tomorrow.
James T. Richardson
Associate Director of Admission