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Wifi of Enchantment

It’s beautiful here in Albuquerque, with the pale white light of December afternoon sun just starting to cast shadows across the city. The airport is so quiet on this Saturday afternoon that in typical big-city style I assumed I had missed my flight, since only 45 minutes before take-off there were less than ten people at my gate. It’s now 20 minutes before the flight, and the remaining fifteen people have shown up.

I’m here on a whirlwind family visit, one of those quick trips prompted by family health issues. I spent my time yesterday either visiting at a hospital or calling the Albuquerque Airport to check on the status of my suitcase, which had decided to take a free tour of the United States, courtesy of Southwest Airlines. (The suitcase eventually tired of its travels and joined me in Albuquerque for a quiet night in an airport motel.) Today I divided my time between the hospital and a pilgrimage to Garcia’s Restaurant. Which one, you might well ask, as there are at least five restaurants with that name in ABQ, and I refer to the one near downtown/Old Town with the melting carne adovado and the sopapaillas that dissolve on your tongue in a manner suprisingly gossamer for what is really just a fried biscuit.

I was stationed here in 1991, my last duty station in the Air Force. I liked this city but was set on going to library school (the Southwest is fairly lean on these, and this was before distance ed), so it was just another better-than-average duty station to me. But when I return, even though the altitude makes me yawn and the dry weather makes my curly hair go limp and flat, I feel a flash of fondness for this calm but beautiful town in the high desert. Now there are pho houses and Asian grocery stores, and the University district is too cute by half, and the airport has free wifi, but it’s still Albuquerque and I’m still glad to see it, even for a moment, even with other things to do.

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