July 3, 2008

Camp Dani

Our time in Shreveport is coming to an end and over the next week and a half I will reminisce more than many of you will enjoy. Today I sit here thinking about how lucky we have been to have families that love us enough to visit this far away, sweltering city. Technically, it isn’t all that far away and during the winter the weather was superbly mild, but in case anyone in S’port hasn’t noticed, it's not exactly easy to get here.

You can’t even fly directly to New Orleans from here—you have to go to Dallas (West) or Memphis (North) or Houston (Southwest) first—so you definitely can’t book a direct flight to New Jersey. Most of our visitors have connected through Memphis. Sadly, the Newark to Memphis to Shreveport run is cursed. My brother in law Steven spent six hours on the second, supposedly one hour, leg of his trip and then his outbound flight was delayed, then cancelled, then delayed again the next day. When he left us he was 10 pounds lighter from a stomach ailment and about 10 years older from dealing with the wondrous service of Northwest Airlines.

This isn’t a post about Steven though. This is a long overdue post about his big sister Dani, who this week, is on her second tour of duty in The Next Great City. Apparently I have taken her love—of my wife and I, of Annie, of travel—for granted and have never mentioned her willingness to lend a hand in this space.

Naturally, her trip began as most other’s have and she was delayed for four hours before stepping foot on a plane. This time she was held up by sleepy pilots and the fact that said pilots needed to be shuttled from JFK to EWR by plane—a distance of 33 miles. How did they do this exactly? Did they connect though Boston? Or maybe they took a Cessna? I would love to know the answer. Editors Note: A quick Orbitz search reveals that you can do this for as little as $795 and see scenic Pittsburgh on the way. It only takes six hours.

It boils down to this: She, and the rest of our visitors, have put up with a lot to spend a little quality time with Annie. However, we have had plenty of guests who love that crazy little kid to death, and after a few minutes of her equally active imagination and motor skills revert to sitting on the couch while she and I play. Not Dani. She, as I like to say, is in it to win it. I definitely have to be careful to not take advantage of her generosity. I do have three golf dates this week though.

While here, she never hesitates to change a diaper o’ poop, put Annie down, walk Zoe, offer help with dinner, clean up (something that I’m not sure she’s had much experience with), or teach us something new. So far this week I have learned to juggle, defend my positions on Federalism, and enjoyed plenty of new music. It is sort of like being at camp. I hear that tonight there's a bonfire and marshmallow roast planned.

So thank you Dani, you’ll be leaving us soon for the greener pastures of New Zealand and we will all miss your passion, commitment, and ability to bring out the best in all of us. Don't worry, we are already putting the idea in Annie’s head that a big trip is in her future. Maybe she can grow up with a Cajun/Kiwi accent.


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