Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Earlier this week, our oldest son flew from Albuquerque (his hometown, and that of the International Balloon Festival) into Chicago O'Hare (my home airport) for a business trip, which meant I was part of the Picker Upper Crew rather than the Done Dropped Off Again. Travel from the pickup side is a whole new adventure. And my, how things have changed.

Let us take a mind’s ride through the history of The Greeting, at least as it’s changed at O’Hare Airport.
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Remember the good old days when . . . we used to press in around the arrival gate and try to glance down the loading bridges, straining to get a peek at the One We Loved heading straight for our open arms?

Remember when . . . we were first told we had to wait outside the security area for that to happen?

Remember when . . . we used to have a place to sit down while we were waiting?

Remember when . . . we used to pull our car up at the curb (we had a place to sit in our car!), turn on our flashers and cast our eyes about to get that first look at our loved one exiting the terminal—and WITH their luggage?

Remember when . . . the road traffic control person didn’t bang on your window when you slowed down your vehicle in order to scan the crowd for your loved one?

Remember when . . . we didn’t have cell phones, so the picker upper circled and circled, having no idea why, two circling hours later, their loved one still had not appeared?

Remember when . . . we all got cell phones, and thus we could happily call each other to report we, the arrivers, were standing in a long line to fill out a missing luggage claim, or we were still sitting on the tarmac, or . . . ?

Remember when . . .

WAIT! I don’t remember when O’Hare Airport put in a remote cell phone lot, because I’m always the arriver.
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When we left for the airport to pick up our son (Oh, HAPPY DAY!), I didn’t even know where the remote cell phone lot was located. Big George, my faithful picker-upper husband, has all but become One with the thing. So George drove us.
As was pre-arranged, we waited in our car, which we parked in the middle of the fenced in lot, until our Dear One called us, a call which came after he claimed his checked bag (it arrived on his same flight, halleluiah!) and headed for the curb, where, after a quick moving hug, you might call it, we catapulted both he and his luggage into the car before the road traffic control person had a chance to bust our chops.
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Remember when . . . greeting a loved one felt more like all was right with the world, rather than making you feel like you’d just auditioned for a James Bond movie by hiding out amidst a billion vehicles, activating after a phone call, then kidnapping your target right off the curb?

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