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Apologies for skipping out last week. I would like to thank those who reached out. Many did. I’m not kidding. Mostly my bearded friends. That is a fantastic feeling. I’m good, folks. I simply missed my deadline. My bad, Steph. You are a great chief. I appreciate you filling in.

I am home from a short trip. I flew out to Minnesota to pay respects to Uncle Chuck. It was great to see my mother’s kin. The circumstances weren’t ideal, but I got to hang with the entire fam. It has been a few years. Oh, how I miss the prairie winds.

I scrambled to find an expensive ticket. I prefer to fly out of Williamsport International, but I guess they are still under construction. I left at 3 a.m. to catch my plane, which was leaving just before sunrise in Harrisburg, PA. The final stop was Sioux Falls, SD, with one connection in Chicago, IL. Dear Lord, where do all these people come from?

I forgot how comical and frustrating traveling is. It all started when I was asked to remove my belt at the security checkpoint. I felt terrible for the young lad behind me. I got through without any hiccups. Found my gate and laid down for a quick catnap. They started boarding ZONE 1. I looked at my ticket to find none. I patiently had to wait until everything was clear. YES. MR. SPENCER: you are 44A. You are at the very back of the plane. I was solo, and I only had my small overnight pack. I am glad I did. There was no more room. What is considered a carry-on? One guy had a giant cooler. The same family had an electric four-wheel stroller. We all had to wait. Dude. There is no way both of those items are going to fit. Keep trying, bro. He eventually had to get them checked. I found my seat and had to ask an older lady to move. I was in the far corner. No window. This blows.

I was so cramped. You do not get to recline when you are in the very back. I wish I had a tape because I could have measured. My area was so small. It had to be some sort of violation. I struggled the entire trip. We finally approached Chicago. I knew I had to run. Not much of a layover. All the passengers stood up in unison when we landed. Forget my idea of getting a head start. I even considered jumping the seats in front. The older lady to the right was not moving. EXCUSE ME MISS. I HAVE TO GET TO SIOUX FALLS. MY NEXT FLIGHT LEAVES IN FIFTEEN MINUTES. Oh. I have a relative in Sioux Falls. He goes to school at Augustana College. How long are you staying? This wasn’t happening.

Chicago O’Hare is massive. Insane actually. A miniature city. People are everywhere — all walks of life. Picture a busy Bloomsburg Fair. Then multiply it by ten. It was absolute bedlam. I was in a dead sprint. Weaving in and out of traffic. Running on the underground tarmac. I laughed at all the businessmen talking on their blue tooths. Hilarious. Why does everyone need to hear your conversations? I am thrilled that you killed your sales pitch, Cachie. My American Airlines app was blowing up with notifications. They were already boarding. Dude. Look at the long line at McDonalds. I somehow made it. Last call. Another back seat, and I was sweating. I politely asked for a glass of water. The stewardess gave me the cold shoulder.

I had the opportunity to chat it up with another traveler. She was heading home from a conference in Kentucky. My new friend was a nurse by trade, and her family lived in South Dakota. We had so many things in common. Her husband was a big outdoorsman, and he loved to golf. She also enjoyed basketball and played for a small school. She was amazed when I knew the mascot. We bragged about our children and what they did for fun. We compared photos and swapped stories about our young athletes. I told her I was a part-time scribe for a weekly publication. She found that very interesting. I gave her a few links. And we now have a few more readers in the Midwest. Back to fishing next week. Cheers.