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February 2007 Archives

San Francisco Words

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9:54 p.m. (Pacific) Feb. 24

SAN FRANCISCO---I was like a bookmark between chapters on the flight out to my favorite American city. The middle-aged woman at the window was from Madison, Wis. I knew her approximate age because she was reading "Rolling Stone" magazine. The woman in the aisle was from Marquette, Mich. She was a little older than the woman by the window. I generally don't get to know strange traveling companions, but I was stressed out from all the hurdles I had to cross just to get on the plane. Everyone knows the airline industry is a mess. Most people understand airline personell are understaffed.
But can't employees still try to smile?
I had to share my feelings. So these are some of the things we were talking about as our flight awaited takeoff. I told the women I missed my RV from my Super Bowl trip. I longed for that freedom.
The woman in the aisle was visiting friends in San Francisco. She had never been to San Francisco. A couple of times I heard flight attendants ask the woman in the aisle about the long silver necklace around her neck. I never caught her answer. I was too busy reading about former Domino's pizza baron Tom Monahgan's plans for Ave Maria Town near Naples, Fla. in the New Yorker. But as we all stood up to disembark the woman by the window also asked the woman in the aisle about the necklace.
"That's my husband," said the woman in the aisle.
The woman by the window made a gentle remark about him---I can't remember exactly what she said.
The woman in the aisle glanced the older face on her necklace and responded,
"He died nine months ago."..........

Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra has been a Chicago Sun-Times staff writer since 1985. His collection of Sun-Times travel columns, "Ticket To Everywhere," was published in 2000 by Lake Claremont Press. He was lead writer for "Farm Aid: Song for America" (Rodale Press, 2005) which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Willie Nelson inspired effort.
He won a 1987 Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick O-Type Award for Column Writing. Hoekstra wrote and co-proudced the WTTW-Channel 11 PBS special: "The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement," nominated for a 2001-02 Chicago Emmy for a documentary program/cultural significance.
He lives in Chicago.

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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