Of all days of the year it was on St. Patrick’s Day March 17, 2019, a Sunday. It was a warm Sunday morning and the darkness still held its grip on the outside land when my door bell was rung. Answering the door with my grandson standing aside me I saw a man standing there with a small flashlight. He said he had come to pick me up.
I had an inkling this would happen so I had my backpack ready near the door. I picked it up as the man retreated back towards his car. My grandson waved goodbye as I walked out the front door into the back seat of a black sedan as the driver held the door.
He asked me the time my flight was scheduled to leave Ten-thirty I responded. The airport was over an hour away. The driver had been in the Marines at the same time I had been. He spent much of his time with a helicopter squadron in the Far East while I spent over a year with the air wing at Atsugi, Japan.
Talking about the old times made the trip pass quickly. When he asked me about Justice Roberts taking a more moderate stance I remembered I was in Trump country. I was whisked through the airport onto a plane.
Landing in Boston another car waited me. I entered into a discussion with this driver about Algiers. He was from there via Paris. He was happy to talk to someone who knew something.about his country. I had read an interesting book “A Savage War of Peace” about its war with France. He drove me to the restaurant outside Boston where I was to meet my party. We sat outside it for at least fifteen minutes continuing our discussion. I finally but reluctantly had to excuse myself.
Inside I stood near the entrance waiting to see if anyone would approach. I received a text. They were on the way. They were coming from the South Boston parade where they had been working. I took a seat at a table near the front window. I ordered a pizza and ice tea. When I finished I asked for a coffee.
I was approached by a man in his late twenties (I’m not too good at judging ages). He introduced himself as a member of the team. We chatted for about a half hour as I nursed the coffee. The conversation was informative, pleasant, and easy as if we’d known each others for years. We did not discuss the purpose of my trip as much as his home country.
We then left and entered a car waiting outside the door. Off we went to the location where the rest of the team was waiting for us. It was in an unexpected building near the top of a very steep hill. It was not the type of place where I expected the enterprise would occur. We had a slight difficulty finding our way into the building. We first walked down a driveway aside it until we heard a voice beckoning us back to the front.
When we entered I met the team leader. A man in his late forties or early fifties, an attractive woman whose age I would not dare guess at and two others. The leader was quite knowledgeable and well spoken. Like the first man I met he too was from another country. He made me feel quite comfortable as he briefed me on what was planned. The woman graciously took me on a tour of the facility. The set up was remarkable.
The meeting consumed the rest of the afternoon. At seven with the business being over we had a beer, as befitting the day, together. The car that would take me back to the airport arrived. We all shook hands.
They indicated their pleasure that things had gone smoothly. I left somewhat relieved that they did not feel they wasted their money in recruiting me into their project.
I landed back at the airport where I began my trip around half past midnight. A car was waiting. I arrived back after two. Pizza was waiting on the kitchen counter. It was my first St. Patrick’s Day where my sole food was pizza. Although I must admit I had corned beef and cabbage the day before.