An exciting day, and a hard day. Something a boy in our church looks forward to all his life, as do his parents. The day he leaves home headed out for his 2 year mission. There is nothing more we wanted for him, and for all our sons, at age 19.
The goodbye is the hard part.
When Tyler left 6 years ago, Dennis went with him. He wanted to be there to take him to the Missionary Training Center, and then fly home a day or so after. Which he did. I wanted it this way. It was also Dennis' birthday, by the way.
Unlike when my first 3 sons left, this time was a little harder because I left the airport by myself. As soon as Tyler (and Dennis) left, my son Logan put his arm around me and walked me out to my car. He was so cute. He kept patting me on the arm while we walked and saying, "It's okay Mom. I know this is hard for you."
So I get in my car and proceed to get out of the parking lot when I realize Dennis had the parking ticket! I go to the little ticket booth on my way out and Elmer is there running it as usual. I know his name only because of his name tag. He is usually the one who is sitting in that booth all day long letting people out after they pay. I know because I go to the airport often. And yes, he looks the age of his name.
I was still crying from the airport goodbyes when I told Elmer right away that I didn't have my parking ticket.
"Well Ma'am, you need to get out of your car and look for it."
"But I don't have it."
"That's what they all say. Now back up your car and get out of it and look around your car."
"All around my car? My husband has the ticket and he is in the airport."
"Well then go back to the airport and get it from him."
"I can't. He's already on his plane... I think"
(So I try calling him, and he is indeed on the plane. I tell this to Elmer.)
"Well then back up ma'am and look in your car."
I back up several yards and stop the car to look...just to make Elmer happy.
So here comes Elmer. He gets out of his booth and comes up to me and says:
"Ma'am I didn't mean here. You are blocking traffic."
(I seriously was the ONLY car in line.)
Elmer continues, "I meant for you to move all the way back to the parking area."
"Well I don't have the ticket."
"Okay then, come back to the booth." (So I get back into my car and drive the several yards back to his booth.)
So Elmer walks around my car taking my license down, and then asks to see my driver's license, which I give to him. And I should also mention that all the while I am still crying. So finally Elmer says since I don't have the parking ticket that I will have to pay $12.
"Well when my husband gets back to town with the ticket can I bring it to the airport and get a refund?"
"I am getting to that." Then he looks seriously up at me with his wrinkly old eyes...I think Elmer is near 80...and says:
"Ma'am, are you destitute?"
"No I'm not."
"Okay then, that will be $12."
In a strange sort of way I bonded with Elmer that day. I visited with him the next few times I was at the airport. It wasn't exactly like Elmer and I ever had a lovely conversation or anything. But there was just something about him.
One day he wasn't there, so I asked the new guy where Elmer was. I was told Elmer had to quit because his wife got sick and he needed to stay home, and take care of her. See, I knew it. I knew he was sweet under all that.
I think Tyler missed his niece Elora the most.
She was only 2 when he left.
Happy Birthday Dennis!!
I promise to give you more attention on this birthday than I did 6 years ago.