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And so I find myself again, in the Vegas Airport, surrounded by the buzz and cacophony in this hive of conversational strangers. This time, I am seated in Corcoran’s Irish Pub, which is really more of a miniature bar scrunched between terminals C1 and C2 on the ass end of LAS, where they charge you $11.50 for a pint of Guinness. I am reminded of my father’s old quote (one of my favorites) whenever he was asked about our heritage (English & Irish on his side) about us hailing from a long line of horse thieves, highwaymen, and robbers. No fancy pedigree for the Fales clan, no sir. I can’t help but feel as if I’m in like company, ancestral or otherwise, here in  Corcoran’s, based solely on the price tag of their stinking beer.

Robbers indeed.

Anyway, I am seated across from my other half, Nate. I would tell you he’s my better half, but it’s arguable. I only say this because he argues it every time I make the statement. On the bright side, there is Guinness and soccer (for Mr. Soccer Player seated across from me) on the flat screen above my head. Oh, and for those who don’t know—the few of you that read my stories and rants and the like—this time, my travel has a serious impetus behind it. I am flying home from my mother’s funeral in Georgia. Well, I say a funeral but it was so much more than that, and here’s why:

Let’s face it. Funerals are odd, multipurpose events. Yes, you mourn what you’ve lost and there is an inordinate amount of crying (remind me to tell you how much I hate crying sometimes), but it’s also a family reunion and a celebration of life in its own way. Something I think I’d forgotten until just a few days ago and I hope sincerely—despite the stubborn little introvert that I am—I don’t soon forget again.

I can honestly say, in the past three or four days, I have reunited with family that I haven’t seen in ages (my fault, not theirs—visit the introvert part above for clarification as needed) and also met some lovely friends of Mom’s from her early childhood for the very first time. All of them had a story to tell and an abundance of love as well as a few tears to share. It was a beautiful experience, despite the sad circumstances, and it made me feel happy knowing how many lives Mom touched and how much she was loved….and me too, by default. I’m a love whore, in case you didn’t know. Can’t get enough of the stuff.

On a side note, I’m also certain I gained at least 5 pounds from all the delicious home cooking (my special thanks to Katie and Jennifer), but I’ll be taking care of that with some serious workouts and a return to the low carb/ low sugar routine starting tomorrow.

So where was I? — Oh yeah. Everyone loved Mom (as they should). I am a love whore. Southern fried hospitality is awesome and bad for my thighs. Nathan is my other half. Guinness is  great. Corcoran’s is run by horse thieves, highway men and robbers…minus the horse thieves and highway men.

Aaaaaaaaand…I still hate Vegas. More specifically, their airport.