My hometown: A week of fireflies, messy conversations and distant train whistles in the night – California News

My hometown: A week of fireflies, messy conversations and distant train whistles in the night – California News

We are just off the plane when things start to get complicated. At the rental counter I’m dizzy as a two-headed calf, trying to solve the chronic riddle of whether we will return our car with the tank empty or full, which involves a lot of instant calculus regarding local gas prices.

Our clerk Nicole insists: “Full or empty, sir?”

Been a long day. I’ve been pantsed by the TSA, side-swiped by a drink cart and pulled my left schnitzel just trying to slip into the plane’s tiny loo. Over Iowa, I realized our connecting flight was some sort of crop-duster. Now they want me to answer AP math problems.

“It’s only money, Nicole,” I say. “What do you suggest?”

Eventually we decide to go with the empty option, and suddenly we’re outside picking out a rental car, of which they never have the size you ordered. They offer me a bigger car, which I don’t want because we’ll be zigzagging through congested parts of the city. We might also rob a few banks.

So I want in my rental car what I want in my life: a very tight turning radius.

Nicole talks me into a mega-Chrysler anyway, big as Chicago itself. And the little guy and I are finally out of there.

My youngest son and I are headed back to my hometown in the northwest suburbs — a village smothered in sour cream yet still a prairie paradise 50 years after I roamed the backyards barefoot, snatching apples and other kids’ Schwinns.

I’ve promised the little guy a week of fireflies, messy conversations and distant train whistles in the night. He seems pretty excited by that.

“The bass are really biting,” I add. So are the mosquitoes.

Mostly he…

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