i'm waiting for a late flight at the portland, maine airport. just now i realized that there was an awful lot of fuss at the gate opening where the folks are coming off the plane i'm about to board. a whole herd of people with flags and cameras and flag pinwheels jostling excitedly. i haven't seen anyone there to meet a flight at the gate in years. it's a tiny airport, and i guess security made an exception for this. security coming in was the same as it was leaving san francisco, except that several of the tsa workers were smiling and when i commented to the nice fellow who asked how my day was that he seemed a lot happier than the security folks at sfo, he serenaded me.
the sign i could see a moment ago said "welcome home son and brother" and i saw the word "honor" down in the corner.
and then one fellow coming off the plane got swarmed by children and i heard "welcome home, uncle chris!" in a high shrieky little voice, and an old woman holding a flag in one hand and a camera in the other was flushed red, weeping and taking photographs and the man at the heart of it all was fervently kissing a woman in a denim jacket while a half dozen children clung to his knees.
now i hear "daddy daddy daddy" and damn near everyone is weeping, including me.