Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Elder Call Completes Mission, Arrives Home Safe and Sound

The day finally came: Thursday, 24 February 2011.

Elder Call was to fly from Pocatello to Salt Lake City. Then, after a three-hour layover, he was to fly home to Kansas City.

His older sisters, Rachel and Rebecca, were living in Provo.

I had to be in Provo working with a client that day.

This was warming up to be a wonderful day.

Elder Call arrived on time, at about 10:30 or so in the morning, at the Salt Lake City airport, where he spent a couple hours visiting with Rachel and Rebecca.

I spent the morning working.

We had all managed to keep my surprise a secret.

After Rachel and Rebecca said their goodbyes, Elder Call got into the security line to board his plane to Kansas City. What he didn't know was that Rachel was texting me, informing me where Elder Call was at the airport, so I could hide from him. He didn't know I would be joining him on his flight home.

Thanks to Rachel's text messages, I was able to be at the very end of the security line as Elder Call was near the front of the line.

I stood on my toes, scanning the hundreds of people ahead of me, looking for my dear son. I spotted a tall man with a missionary haircut near the front of the line, but he was facing away from me. Could this be my Elder Call? He started to turn his head. He too scanned the crowds. He looked right at me for a split second, then continued to scan.

Yes! It was Elder Call!

The next 30 minutes were spent hiding from him. After everyone boarded the plane, I made it to the gate.

I had arranged for Elder Call to be in seat 12A. I was assigned to seat 12B.

The plane was full, and everyone was seated. I slowly made my way down the isle, looking for row 12. There it was. The lone empty seat. Next to a handsome returning missionary.

My son. My heart skipped a beat. I could barely contain myself. Should I smile? Should I call out his name? Should I be low-key? Should I draw attention?

Before I knew it, I was at the seat.

"Hi Elder," I said.

He looked at me.


I smiled. He looked away. He looked back at me.

He did another double take.

"Oh. Hi!" he said.

I sat down as we tried to hug in the snug seats.

We both laughed.

Elder Call shook his head. "This is something you would do," he said.

The next two hours literally--and figuratively--flew by.

We arrived in Kansas City, where Mom, Mary Ann, and John were anxiously awaiting Elder Call's return. As we walked through the security door, hugs were given and tears were shed. John couldn't stop jumping up and down out of excitement. Mary Ann had made a beautiful "Welcome Home" sign.

Elder Call is home.

--Editor, otherwise known as "Proud (in a righteous sort of way) Dad"