Hello from Illinois. We finally made it back but it was quite an adventure. We arrived in Miami around 9 PM. The Air France flight was nice with a free bottle of wine with our snack. I sat next to a lady that I had spoken with earlier in the day. She was a very interesting lady, having lived for 35 years in Africa with her husband who was a contractor. She has family in the USA that includes a grandson who is attending Harvard on a full tuition scholarship and a granddaughter who is attending Columbia Univeristy Medical School on a full tuition scholarship. As we exited the plane and began a very long walk to immigration she became short of breath so I stayed with her until we reached that area. It tool well over 1 hour for us to get through the line and as I was at the rear, I did not get to say goodbye to many of my team mates who were rushing to American Airlines counter before it closed. By the time we collected our bags and crates and got to American it was already closed. Lynn Garber’s husband had rented a 12 passenger van and hauled Katie, Liz, John and myself to Fort Lauderdale and dropped us off at a Hampton Inn near the Fort Lauderdale airport. Lynn has family in Fort Lauderdale and her husband was there and that was a wonderful help. I understand that Katie & Liz ordered a pizza. John and I just crashed only to be awakened by a welcome phone call from Linda that they had arrived safely into Chicago. Returning to sleep, I was awakened by John as he thought he had lost his case carrying his passport and all of the important papers. It was located under his bags and we finally got to sleep. We awoke at 5 AM and helped open the breakfast bar at the Hampton and all of us rode the shuttle to the American terminal. It was driven by a man from Port-Au-Prince. We had little trouble getting to the departure lounge for our 8 AM flight. I managed to cut my finger at TSA security and I have yet to figure out how. Liz and Katie did not have seats and that was a worry as Liz had a wedding to go to that afternoon in Chicago. We were assured that she would be given a seat after all had been checked in and that was the truth. Our flight to Chicago was a little turbulent and the pilot was given instructions from air traffic control to use another route and we arrived earlier than expected. After quick god byes to Liz, who lives in Chicago, and John, whose wife was meeting him at the airport, Katie and I had a bite of lunch at the Chili’s restaurant and took the 12:30 PM plane to Peoria. Katie’s dad met us and hauled me and 3 crates to my car in the far end of the parking lot. I was home a little after 2 PM and very glad to get here. I did take a nap around 6:30 PM and went to bed at 8 PM. I awoke around 6:30 AM and we managed to take in 7:30 AM Mass and had a quiet breakfast. We worked outside in the yard and attended the 2 PM picture part for the February team. It was a great reunion and the pictures brought back memories. We left a little after 4 PM as I was getting sleepy so I took another long nap and again headed for bed at 8:00 PM. This morning I feel a bit more rested but did doze off this afternoon when I sat down on my son’s couch. He is stuck at home recovering from his Achilles tendon surgery so we went over to help him clean his house for an upcoming birthday party of his oldest daughter. Donna explained to me that she had use some wart removing pads and the foot doctor told her she removed the entire wart on the bottom of her foot. She is still frustrated about the hour long wait. So all that remains is to send you some pictures and that may take a week or so as Katie is assembling them onto a CD.
I want to close this portion by saying how very proud I was to be a part of this tremendous team. Your work ethic was inspirational. The cooperation between all of you was outstanding and meant a lot to me. I loved working with you and hope I can do it again sometime. If there is ever any way that I can be of help, encouragement, prayer, or just to be a listened I am always available.