The red-eye flight was a sux on a scale of 1 to 10. The Boeing 757-200 was comfortable and I had my bulkhead seat, but I just didn’t sleep.
The approach over the south side of Long Island was beautiful. It has been maybe 5 years since I landed at JFK in the morning. That’s a side effect of being brand-loyal (frequent flyer loyal) to a carrier that has a hub in Newark.
I am a bit off my game today, not as sharp and on point as I normally am when I travel. That means that the likelihood of me leaving something behind is an order of magnitude higher than normal. In fact, it’s just a matter of time.
My dad met me at the airport, gave me the keys to his car and I drove us to Long Beach, my boyhood home. During the ride Dad told me stories he has told me a hundred times before, then he asked, “have I told you this before?”. I smile and told him yes, but to keep telling it.
My dad and I met our long-time friend in Long Beach for breakfast at the Laurelton Diner. The Diner as it’s known as in our family is an old-style Long Island diner, where friends meet for coffee and a meal. It’s a place to eat And talk. I remember going there as a small boy with my mom. As much as the peanut butter and banana pancake stack called to me, I had to pass. As we walked outside, I remember the movie theater that used to be next to the diner. It closed 40 years ago, but I still a faded memory to me.
After that we went down to the beach to see the progress that has ben made in repairing the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.There was a cleanup event scheduled that day and as much as I wanted to volunteer to help clean up this town that I hold dear, I had other priorities this day.
The beach looked much better than they did in January; clearly the tourist season was coming.
From there Dad and I went to Starbucks to do nothing. We sat for about 45 minutes and hung out, talking, laughing but without saying too much. I reorganized my carry-on bags some for my next flight. This second consecutive red-eye was going to have to go better than the first.
From there we met old family friends for pizza at Gino’s Pizzeria in Long Beach. It was good to catch up and hear the comings and goings since we last sat down. It was also wonderful to catch up with some New York style pizza with old friends. That particular pizzeria was another place I went with my Mom when I was small. I have also been there with my wife and daughter. It was nice to pile a few more family memories there.
From there we made a few shopping stops along the way to my day’s house. He laid down for a nap while I sat and caught up with my half-sister and stepmother. After a quick Facetine with my half-brother in Florida it was time to head to the airport for flight #3.
All in all, I was able to tell eight different people that I love them face to face. There are lots of things to do on New York, and on this day, nothing was more important than being with these special people.
This was a layover well spent and worth the double red eye flights.