Drill Team / Honor Guard Reunion – Day Zero
As usual, I’m behind the power curve. *sigh* But maybe this group of posts, about the reunion last weekend of some of the Penn State AFROTC Drill Team and Honor Guard alumni, will be worth it.
A chronological series typically starts with Day One, in my experience. My reunion started a day earlier, and in a different place, than what I expected. Hence the “Day Zero” in the subject line.
In making my travel arrangements, I opted to fly to Pennsylvania on Thursday (3/26) and return on Monday (3/20) in order to reduce the cost of the flight. I flew on Southwest Airlines, leaving Tucson at 7:15 AM on the 26th and changing planes at Chicago’s Midway Airport, before arriving in Pittsburgh that afternoon and driving to State College. I think Southwest has it set up so that all of its flights to/from one side of the country are on Concourse A and all the flights to/from the other side of the country are on Concourse B. To the best of my recollection, I have never – NEVER – been able to stay on the same concourse when changing planes at Midway. Luckily, there is usually plenty of time to make the connection.
So anyway, I had gotten on the MDW – PIT flight, picked the seat I’d be using, and had settled in to watch the rest of the cattle – sorry, *passengers* – stuff their luggage in the overhead bins and pack the rest under the seats in front of them. The flight attendant had *just* announced that the flight was nearly full, and that passengers would please not put their smaller stuff in the bins, when I saw a woman push her coat into a bin, preparing to sit in the row ahead of me. I didn’t make any snide remark out loud, but I was definitely *thinking* it, when I suddenly realized I knew her! And the guy next to her, too (her husband, of course!).
So instead of being irritated because she was ignoring the flight attendant’s entreaties, I hollered at him – “JOHN!” He wasn’t paying attention, so I hollered a couple more times and he still didn’t hear me. Then I called her name – “NANCY!” – and she looked around like, “Who the heck would be calling my name?” I waved and got her attention. She immediately recognized me and told John, “It’s Dave!” Well, he still hadn’t figured things out, so I started whacking at his head with my magazine. THAT got his attention!
The end result of all this was that John (one of my college roommates) and Nancy (his wife), who were also going to the reunion, moved back a row and sat with me. We did some catching up, and I (gently) berated Nancy for putting her coat in the bin, which didn’t faze her a bit. She’s known for a long time how to ignore me. 😉
When we got to Pittsburgh, they went their way to get their rental car and I went mine. Whereas I drove all the way to State College (not all that far, actually – it’s about 150 miles or so), they stopped in Altoona to visit John’s friends and family before continuing to State College for the Friday-night social.
Oh, yes – I had reserved a compact car, but when I got to the counter, they tried to upsell me (for no extra cost) to something a little bigger. The option? A Ram 1500 pickup! Knowing how big they are, and also knowing that I would be having to park in some fairly busy areas, I declined and kept my Kia Soul. It’s one of those little boxy things that look odd but have lots of interior room. I wasn’t cramped at all. And it had a USB port, and SiriusXM, and pretty much all the bells and whistles I wanted or needed for my weekend.
So the reunion was off to a good start. I had already reconnected with John and Nancy, and I knew it would just get better from there.