Into Thin Air

Dearest Rachel –

I think I must be way too used to living near the largest city in flyover country. As is the plane started its descent, I was looking out the window and seeing nothing but farmland and other empty space. And I couldn’t help wondering, “Where is the city? Where are the suburbs, even?” We’re being dropped off in the sweetest piece of empty prairie this side of the Rockies. Out in the middle of literal nowhere.

It’s a bit of a wait to get off the plane, but I’m in no hurry since things don’t start until at least noon. At least it allows me to collect myself and my things as people file out.

I know that there’s a distance between the arrival gate and the baggage claim in order to give the stevedores time to offload everything from the plane, but I don’t recall ever having to take a train to get there before.

Beautiful architecture here, though, I must say.

After getting my suitcase, I look for a spot to settle down and wait for noon, when I expect to connect with Luke and everyone else in the party. Besides, I need to keep you up-to-date with what’s happening, as i’m pretty sure you’ve never been to Denver International.

But I don’t get very long to sit around and start writing to you, because a text comes in. Evidently, Luke’s gotten an earlier flight, and he’s here already. So I can meet up with him almost straightaway – assuming I can find him in the middle of an airport. And I don’t care how small of an airport it is (and it isn’t – remember the train to baggage claim?), it’s still a haystack. And he’s still a needle.

Fortunately, he knows his way around here, having been here I don’t know how many times before, and when I text back to him, he knows where I am almost immediately when I tell him which baggage carousel I’m at. So he comes to get me, and I follow him to this atrium between the airport and a hotel nearby.

Nice, huh? That’s Luke at the far right, by the way; I don’t know recall how much you got to know him and his wife Amy beforehand.

I feel like I’m doing most of the talking once the three of us are together, but he does keep asking questions of me, so I feel obliged to respond. It’s really not unlike my lunches with Pastor Scott, except there’s no food (Well, it’s not that there’s no food, there’s just no need at the moment, and no real desire. Who wants chain restaurant stuff at an airport, when there’s probably stuff with more local color once we leave?)

Speaking of local color…

This was a family of cousins here to pick up a 50th birthday girl (pictured at the second from the right). While I’ve certainly seen better at anime conventions, this is more than sufficient to make sure that Michelle here didn’t miss the family.

By eleven o’clock local time, we have most of our party together. It’s a fairly eclectic collection of souls; an ethnic Russian from Tajikistan (although he’s lived in the States for the past 16 years), and a whole family – two brothers and their three sons – from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. There’s a couple of guys from North Carolina we’re still waiting for, but to be this put together already is nice.

My ancestors would be pleased once again.

Finally, everyone is here, and we should be ready to go shortly

Luke’s gone to pick up the rental vehicle, and we should be on our way, into the thin air of the Rocky Mountains.

Talk to you later, honey. As always, wish me luck.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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