Random thoughts on the way to Josh’s graduation from Army Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, Columbia SC–
- I flew for the first time with my new hip components. The airport security metal detector issued a loud beep when I walked through. “Turn around and try again” said the screener. I replied “I have metal parts in my hip.” “Come over here.” I stood in the security corral until a male screener was summoned with a metal-detecting wand. He passed it up one side and down the other, confirming that my right hip triggered the alarm. He noted “this is how air travel will be for you for the rest of your life,” adding “at least they didn’t give you some cheap plastic parts.”
- We knew we we were not in the northeast when we left the Charlotte-Douglas Airport for Columbia (if I had a daughter I’d name her Charlotte Douglas) by way of the Billy Graham Expressway. What name would cause an equivalent jolt to a Bible Belt conservative? George Carlin High Way? I drove carefully on the Billy Graham Expressway, observing the 55 MPH speed limit in my red rental Nissan Altima until we reached I-77 south. Ninety minutes later the Billy Graham had faded to memory, until I saw the sign for “Fort Jackson–Strom Thurmond Boulevard.” (Strom Thurmond Boulevard? It turns only to the right, penetrates a black neighborhood, and ends in a cul-de-sac with a lovely view of the 19th century.) What might be its northern parallel? Rosie O’Donnell Way?
- The service personnel at the car rental agency, the hotel, and the Waffle House (Shoney’s was closed! What else could we do?) have been remarkably friendly, helpful, and pleasant. Another sign we are not in the northeast.