Dear Friends and Followers.

On June 29th, after a grueling travel day, Britton and I landed in Kansas City and fell into the embraces of Christine, Renee’ and Britton’s siblings. It is quite possible that this one day was the highlight of Britton’s trip.

We flew First Class aboard Air France, as a Delta Airline partner, from Barcellona to Paris. Although seating was 3 seats on each side of the isle throughout the plane, in the small allocated “First-Class” section the center seats were left empty. We were afforded complimentary beverages, mine of the adult variety, and an excellent light meal. In these days of “enhanced security” it is a wonder that table service in First Class includes real metal utensils, including a knife. I guess that terrorists are relegated to Economy. The flight was unremarkable at just under 2 hours. The best was yet to come.

Our bags had been checked through to Minneapolis. So, except for the lingering uncertainty of another “rouge backpack” incident as was experienced at the start of our trip, we were unencumbered.

Non-European Union citizens were required to submit to passport verification, but otherwise proceeding to our next gate was seamless. With our First-Class tickets (one more time, yeah Christine!!) we qualified for entry into any one of the many exclusive Air France lounges which were located throughout the sprawling expanse of Charles De Gaulle Airport. Unfortunately, our layover was too short to take advantage of that perk.

The plane, this time operated by Delta, was being readied for the cross-Atlantic flight away from the terminals. We traveled by shuttle to the wide body plane’s remote location and boarded up a mobile stairway much as was done in the 1960’s and is still done for some dignitaries. Delta One customers (that was us) turned left upon entry, and the rest of the passengers, including “ordinary” First Class passengers went stage right.

Instead of seats, Delta One provides each passenger with a private “suite”.

There are real noise cancelling headphones, a comforter and pillow, slippers, a hand stitched (ours to keep) travel pouch containing toiletries and other small items to enhance comfort, a large screen (by airplane standards) television, and best of all a seat with power controls that adjust all the way from full upright to a fully extended bed. Our Airbus A330 had a total passenger capacity of 281. We were among the 29 who enjoyed the premium level of Delta One comfort and service. In surveying the other 27 passengers I wondered which might be celebrities, retired sports icons, or captains of industry. There were two that caught my eye, one with the eerily familiar face of a character actor and the other an older Black gentleman who was well over 6’6”.

As far as I was concerned, Michael was the real star of the flight. He was our personal assistant. Michael and his partner exclusively served the needs of the 29 Delta One passengers. He was polished in his manners and attentiveness much as one might expect the valet of royalty. “Another cocktail Sir?”… “Was the lamb prepared to your satisfaction?”… (I really ordered lamb)

Britton was in travel heaven! I remarked that he might not have a repeat of this travel experience for many, many years. “Yeah, like maybe never!” was his reply.

As special as all this was, we were still confined in a long metal tube along with 300+ passengers and crew, speeding across the Atlantic Ocean at over 500 miles per hour and nearly 8 miles over the surface of the Earth. If God had meant humans to fly… oh, never mind. I just wanted to get home to my wife and orthopedic physician, in that order.

The greeting at the airport was hurried but loving and welcome. Renee and her crew were heading to Florida in the morning by car. Within 24 hours Britton was transitioning from travel heaven to its equivalent in purgatory. He would have less than 8 hours of down time in over 48 hours of being “on the road”.  Poor guy!

My doctor’s appointment was accommodatingly scheduled for Monday. It went well. I now have appointments for an MRI, followed immediately by an epidural injection. These are the next steps in a conservative exploration of options. Additionally, I will be seeing my chiropractor and massage therapist this week.

In the next week I hope to put my thoughts and “pen” to work on writing a reflection of this extraordinary experience. I repeat, I am not disappointed with the outcome. Britton has repeatedly voiced his intention to return and finish what he and I started. He intends to include his mother and one or more siblings. They seem just as excited to be a part of his continuing pilgrimage as he is. In a Newtonian sense I have put Britton in motion, and an object in motion will remain in motion until otherwise acted upon. I can only hope that life does not interfere with his spirt of pilgrimage. That is out of my hands.

Love to you all. Peace. Pete


21 thoughts on “Home!

  1. Dear Peter (et al) – It is so nice to sit down with my morning Cuppa and enjoy yet another stage in your fabulous adventure (albeit not without pain). On our trip to London with our Grand, we used frequent flyer miles and booked business class seats. I feel we have spoiled her for coach forever! haha. The one thing I did stress – due to the recent turbulence issues – I made her wear her seatbelt unless she was on her way to the loo! Loved the pictures of the happy faces in the plane.
    The Sagrada Familia – oh – I am so glad that you got the chance to bring Britton there – I hope he was as awe struck as I was the first time. Though at 15 – idk if I would have been. (insert shrug emoji). When we were there they had not finished the tower to Mary. (and I am not with it enough to tell if your picture shows that tower).
    I am certain after a day of travel and sleep Britton will be fit as a fiddle. It is folks in my generation that need daaaays to recover from travel.
    I hope that your back issues is not complicated, that nimble hands and an injection or two might fix it right up. Mostly I am glad that you and your Bride are back together so that you can navigate this storm at home.
    Well my sleep fog is clearing and I must be off. Thank you so much for giving me a Peter update to enjoy with my morning coffee. Hugs to your dear Christine – fingers crossed and prayers said for your back.
    Much love –

  2. Julie Baliva says:

    So glad you are home and able to start some action on your physical health. Sounds like you are off to a good start, if there is such a thing. I am so glad that you did get to have the time with Britton. I am sure he will be processing and sharing this for a long time. You can bet he will carry on. Prayers for comfort and guidance in the days ahead.

  3. Nancy Antonette Wallingford says:

    Your account of your trip with Britton was delightful. I always enjoy reading your accounts, and I look forward to future traveloges! I hope your medical issues are all resolved and that you and Christine have a great summer!

  4. bhaskins1b1147f2a8c says:

    Best wishes for an unexpectedly smooth & quick recovery and a big welcome home.
    Britton is blessed to have you in his life and to have had such an amazing adventure.
    Take care,

  5. Wow! Your trip home was the icing on the cake!! (Well, all except the constant pain, but the Adult Beverages and being treated like royalty I hoped eased it a little!) Now it’s time to relax, release and heal. And reminisce with Britton over the past few weeks… Praying for your healing!

  6. Pam Roberts says:

    A big welcome home. Also best wishes for an unexpectedly smooth & quick recovery of your back. It appears that Britton enjoyed his adventure and maybe at some time in the future he may follow your footsteps. And of course Christine and family must be ecstatic that you both are home safe and sound.

  7. Here, Hear – Rest well and recover. We hope to see you over a brew and a smile after you are back into your every day routine. I’ll bet that Christine is relieved too.

    Cheers to you, Pete, and to your cherished grand companion.

  8. Julie (Rola) says:

    Hi Pete, Such a well-written, compelling-to-read account of your recent adventure. Both you and Britton are so very fortunate to have shared this time. Success to you with learning of a true solution for back and any related pain. Hugs to you & Christine, Julie (Brookside Trolley Trail pal)

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