HPOE

Many a location consider themselves to be the HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH. Googling it up, I find that the following all make this vain assumpution:

Disneyland
Denmark
Vanuatu
The Tall Ship Soren Larsen
China (whhhhaaat?)
Medical School
Santiago, Chile
IKEA
Salzburg
Stowe, VT

Sorry, folks. I think you are all wrong.

No doubt about it, the happiest place on earth is the arrivals area of any major airport. I LOVE going to pick people up at the airport just to stand among those giddy with anticipation over the arrival of their loved ones.

The best was in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The arrivals area is separated from the baggage claim/customs area by a wall of glass. All sorts of people, young, old and everything in between, would press their noses up against the glass desperately searching for their friend to come into view. And LORDY HALLELUJAH when they did! Frantic waving, squeals of delight, and often tears of joy would ensue. I could sit back with a nice beer and watch that human drama all day long.

The best is when a whole CARAVAN of people go to meet someone at the airport. It’s like a party! Who brought the cooler full of sandwhiches and soda? Uncle Mikey? Perfect! Just the other day I was waiting in the sparkling new Terminal A at Logan Airport for Damir to come through the doors. A HUGE Greek family was all in attendance waiting for friends to arrive on the same plane he was arriving on. I mean, there must have been 20 or so people from newborn babies to a feeble, and seemingly confused, grandfather. They ran back and forth between the doors where their loved one would exit and the monitors that chronicled her progress. She’s landed! She’s landed! They were grabbing at each other’s hands and shoulders with excitement. I sat in the background, quitely eager and checking the plane’s status on my cellphone, feeling the same level of anticupation that they were exuding.

And then she walked through the doors to her waiting family, and an explosion of cheers and WHOOPS echoed through the entire terminal. Everyone waiting in the area turned to watch the celebration. You would have thought that Elvis himself had walked through the doors. Hugs were passed all around, cheeks were kissed, an abundance of flowers were pressed into her arms. I noticed the grandfather standing apart from the melee`, and just a moment later the arriving daughter noticed him as well. She parted herself from the multiple embraces and quietly moved to him with a wide smile and outstretched arms. I could see he was crying. And then EVERYONE was crying, me included.

A few moments later I found myself wrapped in the embrace of my own sweetheart, feeling as though weeks, not just a few days, had passed since my cheek last rested on his collarbone. The happiest place indeed.

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