The lines were nothing like I expected them to be at Pittsburgh International Airport last week. My daughter, Hannah, and I took my husband, John, and son, Josh, there for a flight to Europe. We accompanied them into the terminal, which in the fall had been a luxury afforded only to passengers.
We brought them three hours early as instructed, but it wasn't necessary. US Airways, in fact, found John and Josh an earlier flight, and we still had time for an overpriced cola.
We said our goodbyes, kissed, gave long hugs and watched half of our family head off to Ireland. My son handed his plastic bag of film to an airport employee, who shoved it, nonetheless, onto a conveyor belt and into purportedly film-clouding X-rays.
Their carry-ons were opened, but in less than two minutes, they were through three checkpoints. No one checked their shoes. I usually wait for the plane to taxi and ascend before I leave, but this time, we left. I said a prayer for the men in my life.
Three years ago, I gave John a trip to Paris for his 50th birthday. I didn't pay for it, but I planned it and sent him with my blessings. Logistically, with two kids and a dog, it wasn't going to be a trip he and I could take together, nor one we could afford for the entire family. I didn't think he'd enjoy it alone though, so I engineered a father-son trip. The results were stunning.
During international calls, John talked about paintings in the Louvre and the amazing architecture of the Eiffel Tower. Josh spoke of the old man asleep on the subway floor and of artists selling portraits along the Champs & Eacute;lys & eacute;es. What was most amazing was how close they became. With Josh almost 18, it seemed time for another trip.
& quot;What about you? & quot; everyone asks. Hannah and I will go later, I think. Our first e-mail arrived from Josh, and, as you will see, we made a good decision:
A letter from Dublin
"Hey Mom and Hannah,
I'm writing you this from a small internet cafe in Dublin. More specifically dad and I are in the Temple Bar area. It is really terrific and cutting edge. There are crazy punk/skater clothing stores, vintage clothing stores, and even one thrift store called The Eager Beaver. The temple bar area is also really cool because there are musicians every place. There are two or three record stores for D.J.'s and tons of C.D. stores. Guys with guitars just come and set up in the square and play for euro's.
The plane ride was scary for me and fine for dad but it went quickly. On the first day we got the rental car (a VW polo), found the bed and breakfast (great), and took a bus tour of Dublin. We ended up at the Guinness Brewery where we took another tour that ended in free pints in the 7th story sky bar. It was really great. We went back to the bed and breakfast after that and got ten good hours of sleep on the softest sheets and most comfortable bedding I've ever felt.
This morning we woke up and had a great Irish breakfast of eggs, beans, bread, orange juice, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Then we drove to the Dart (a subway by the B/B) and rode to Dublin. We walked all over again then took a tour of the Kilarney Jail (I dunno if that's spelled correctly but it was a great tour.) Next, we set out on foot and found Temple Street. After a while we made our way to the Temple Bar. I said to the bartender & quot;I'll have two pints of Guinness. & quot; She said & quot;Ok. & quot; So i slapped a ten euro bill on the counter and dad and i had a cold one to warm us up.
It rains a lot but i don't mind. The weather is kind of chilly so i'm glad that i brought pants and a light coat. All the women are beautiful and i love the irish accents. Everyone is nice to us and people are happy to stop on the streets and tell us where to go or a funny Irish joke. I'm having a great time. Miss you guys, but not enough skip the music show outside to write more to you.
Top 'o the evenin' to ya,
Josh (Seamus) Murphy & amp; John Murphy & quot;