The trip was smooth (albeit crowded — how do people fly in coach all the time?) and the Old Professor and I have arrived safely. It’s been fun showing somebody new to the sights of this part of the world.
The only time I felt a little panicky was on the flight from Dallas to Tulsa. We were on a little American Eagle regional jet with a relentlessly perky flight attendant and a college golf team. The kids were very well-behaved and having fun and I thought, wow, when I was on a field trip with my sports teams, no form of public transportation would have us. Then I deciphered the logo on of the sweatshirts — “ORU Golf” — and I realized that we were surrounded by kids from Oral Roberts University.
I was immediately reminded of that scene in The Great Escape after the prisoners, all in hand-made civilian suits and nervous about being caught, are on the train and the Gestapo comes through checking papers. Holy shit; what if one of these kids starts to try and evangelize to me? Do I tell him I’m off to celebrate the life and works of a noted playwright who happened to be gay? In his hometown? I also thought that if — Dog forbid — the plane should get into some kind of mechanical trouble, my last moments would be surrounded by people screaming, “Sweet Jesus save me!” I always hoped the last words I would hear in this mortal coil would be, “Wow, you were fantastic!”
But we landed safely, got the rental car, and the Old Professor is enjoying being in the heartland, and I’m glad to be back for my annual sojourn into the world of theatre scholarship and seeing the friends I’ve made over the last fifteen years.
As they say in the movies, Tallyho!