Sunday, July 13, 2003

Well, hello.

We're on the road. It's 11:37 Eastern time, and I'm sitting here in a hotel in Gainesville, theoretically working on something that's theoretically due tomorrow. I usually am pretty good about meeting deadlines that fall during trips before the trip, but I forgot about this one, so....Michael and Joseph are asleep, Katie's reading Maniac Magee, and I'm here, again, theoretically working.

We left at 6 am Thursday morning and got to Knoxville around 3:30. What followed was a very nice day and a half with my dad, his wife Hilary, and my oldest son Christopher, in between his Burger King shifts. (incidentally, he says that the one odd special request he gets more often than any other is two bottom buns. Hmmm.) We relaxed, went to the pool, ate good meals, and had birthday cake. (for me, a week early.)

Michael, Joseph and I stayed at the Knoxville Marriott, and whenever I go there, I always think of the heady first days when the building first opened - not as a Marriott, but as the Hyatt-Regency, this big old triangle-shaped building looming over Knoxville, very avant-garde for those days - the mid 70's. What's so terribly, terribly pathetic, as I think about it now, is that the opening of this particular hotel was such a big deal that my high school class took a field trip there to wander around in our Catholic school uniforms, gawking at the sky-high atrium and the clear-glass elevators. This was big stuff. But wait - there was more to come - we'd get that World's Fair, by God.

We drove off Saturday at 7am to proceed even further south. We stopped in Atlanta to visit the MLK sites - us Franco-Polish-WASP types along with about 2,000 various participants in various African-American family reunions. We've been there before, but this time, for the first time, we were able to go into the Ebenezer Baptist Church, which was a lot smaller than it's seemed in photos. It's humbling to ponder the mysterious roots of greatness.

We tried to do the CNN tour, but no, they don't allow anyone under 6 years of age to view their inner sanctums. After considering, and rejecting the idea of an anti-discrimination suit, we ate lunch and then walked around Centennial Park. Atlanta sure got prettied up for those Olympics, I tell you what. Oh, and if you go to CNN headquarters, you don't want to miss the Fox News billboards nearby. But then again - you won't miss them because they're two of them - right in front and about a million square feet in area. Too, too funny.

Got to Florida around 5 - Katie's first time since we moved, and my first in two years. We got to Michael's parents, then it was off to the races, which Michael blogged about, which is his right, since he built the racetrack with his own bare hands, sort of. The evening was a landmark, because it was the first time we went out and did something without Joseph, leaving him in the capable hands of his grandmother and aunt. He survived, and only asked for us once.

Today we visited Michael's sister's livestock, (two goats, one donkey and one miniature horse) then separated as Michael went to visit one friend, and Katie, Joseph and I to another, my friend and Katie's godmother Dorothy, who had yet another birthday cake for me. (and it's not even my birthday yet...) Then to Mass, and now I'm .....working.

We are off to Orlando tomorrow, to the Christian Bookseller's Association tradeshow, which I will (I hope) get to see - if a badge was obtained for me - and will blog about. It is apparently quite the show. We have more friends to catch up with in Lakeland and the Tampa area, a beach to reacquaint ourselves with and I to do.

Later. Maybe even pictures later.

Oh, and thank you for all the wonderful comments on the "What's Great About Being Catholic" thread. Here's another one.

Someone asks you....what's the big deal about Jesus? Why should I care? What's in it for me?