Post AEPL Conference Story

Wanted to tell you all what happened to me after leaving by way of also passing a story along (though not with pictures).

I caught the 6:30 shuttle out of Rocky Mountain Park. We left at 6:10. A goodly but sleepy bunch of folk.

Just out of Peaceful Valley (oh, shades of Mickey Mouse!) we lost a fan belt. Luckily, we were right in front of a Dude Ranch.
Pulling over, we waited sometime for a replacement van. The chef at the ranch made us some coffee and tea which perked us all up.
Happy conversation ensued. It began to feel a bit like a Chaucerian group of pilgrims.

After reloading in the van, I visited with the driver the rest of the way down the moutain. An ex-salesman now Math teacher for ESL students, because he wanted to give something back, as he put it, I fell in love with the mountain of a man in the driver’s seat–so gentle, so sweet, so considerate.

We all said goodbye at the airport. An AEPLer helped me get in with my heavy bags. We parted. I missed the plane and was told that there wasn’t another flight to Atlanta with an open seat that day.
They suggested that I take a midnight flight to Dulles and fly in the next morning. Chosing rather to fly standby, I finally got on a plane around 1 pm, arrived in Atlanta in a thunderstorm, arrived a bit wet and exhausted at 11 pm in Milledgeville.

On the way from Macon, I talked with a graduate student. We became instant friends and she even wants me on her thesis committee.

Now, I’m with the other scholars, who seem to be the nicest people. And here in Georgia, of course, I’m sweetie, pumpkin, maam, darlin’, precious and there’s plenty of sweet tea.

But through all this journey, I never was anxious or worried, didn’t get mad at the steward who kept criticising me for my baggage, and kept a smile all day. I think it was because I left with a heart filled with peace.
And I’m guessing I have you all to thank for that.

Thanks for welcoming me into the fold.

Joona Trapp

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