Getting together with Dick Verucchi and Tom Joliffe on Christmas Day at the 9th Street Pub in La Salle, Illinois

After nearly a thirteen-hour flight from Seoul, I am waiting for my friend Chris to pick me up at O’Hare International Airport.

Home again for the holidays. I can’t believe that it has been a year since the last time I was home. This past year seemed to fly by—I know the autumn term went by very fast this year—and here I am home again.

It’s an extremely frigid night in Chicago. Haven’t felt this cold in a very long time. Chris, who is driving a stretch limo these days, was running a bit late. As soon as I got through the immigration and customs formalities I called Chris. He had to pick up someone down in the Loop before he could pick me up. He is just going to swing by the airport, pick me up and take me to his apartment before he finishes his shift. Turns out that I end up waiting almost three hours before Chris finally arrives.

If you have ever had to go through the international terminal at O’Hare in the evening, you know that it can be a drag because everything seems to close as soon as the last flights get in.

I was kind of hoping to hang out in the lounge and have a few beers while I waited for Chris, but no sooner had I sat down with a beer, I was told that the lounge would be closing soon. At five dollars a pop for a beer, I was probably better off.

There was only one small snack bar opened and I ended up having to settle for stale popcorn and a Coke.

Looks like I am not going to have much time to hang out with Chris this trip home. He has to work again on Sunday and then he will take me down to the Illinois Valley on Monday. On the other hand, the way he has been talking about his job, I wouldn’t be surprised if he quits.

I’ve been coming home for the holidays every Christmas for the past five years.

One of the things that I wanted to do when I was home for the holidays was to try and hook up with some people who I haven’t seen for awhile. The last few times that I have been home, I have kept a pretty low profile.

The last time I had seen or spoken to Dick Verucchi was right before I left for Korea back in 1990.