You've read about hell at the airport in Cleveland. This is about an experience I had at the airport in Orlando. I was on my way home, for good this time, after my dad's illness. I had to get home and get my house ready because he and mom were moving in. I was, as I had been before, on stand by. It's a little trickier in Orlando. Tricky maybe isn't the right word, but there are a lot more people all trying to get home from Disney or whatever, so stand by could have you sitting there for who knows how long until you finally get on a plane. I checked in without incident and found a seat to wait out my fate.
I was just sitting there, kind of daydreaming about all that had happened in the last eight weeks when an older gentlemen sat down next to to me. I glanced over at him. Then again. And then again. And finally I said, "excuse me, but are you Bob Feller?" He looked at me with a smile and said, "yes I am" and put his hand out for me to shake.
If you're not from Cleveland or not a big baseball fan, you may not know who Bob Feller is, so let me enlighten you. Bob Feller is the winningest pitcher in Cleveland Indians history. He is a Hall of Famer. He is a living legend. And he is my mom's all time favorite player ever and I've been hearing about how great he is my whole life. In the days when mom took the bus to the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium and sat in the bleachers for 25¢. If I heard that once, I heard it 5,000 times.
A woman sitting nearby, who apparently witnessed my excitement at meeting him, turned to me and said, "Who was that?" I looked at her with an "are you kidding me look" and said, "That was Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller!" She replied, "well I guess that made your day." Damn right it did! Coming off the worst eight weeks of my life, and probably the most horrendous airport experience I will ever have, hunkering down next to a legend is pretty fucking sweet!
I did get on that plane and when he saw me boarding he gave me a big smile and said, "you made it" with a thumbs up. Bob fucking Feller!!!