Photo from darryllang.com
Stores, restaurants, and photographs. Music, books and paintings. Am I talking about a museum? Or a library? Or a mall? No, I’m talking about one of my favorite places to visit–Denver International Airport (DIA). For me, going to the airport is like an extra special adventure, and it doesn’t matter to me if I’m going somewhere or if I’m just stopping in for a few minutes to pick someone up. I don’t mind paying for the parking, or circling the lots to just find one small space to leave my car, because I am just too excited to even be there–being at the airport means that something special is happening.
Traveling was not something I got to do much when I was younger because my parents simply didn’t have the money. So my joy was hopping into the car to rumble down to the old Stapleton Airport to pick up my Grandma Doe whenever she visited from Albuquerque. That was back when a person could actually walk up to the gate to meet someone or linger a few minutes before sending them off. I could grab the latest Stephen King novel and just wait for two hours until Grandma got there, or I could grab a burger and fries and watch people hug and kiss each other hello. Oh, it was wonderful. (Love Actually has always been a favorite movie of mine because of the various clips of people meeting in the airport.)
Soon, Stapleton did not have a good enough infrastructure to handle the growth and the air traffic that Denver was starting to receive, and plans were made for DIA. Instead of an airport right near the city where, if you were lucky, your car might drive underneath a bridge, beneath a taxiing plane, there would be a new, and improved airport 20 minutes out into the middle of farm land. But did that extra travel time matter to me? Oh, hell no! This new airport would have a train, and a huge white teepee for a main building, and restaurants, and a small museum, and on and on and on…
By the time the new airport was up and running, I had to make the trip just to see it. Beautiful artwork, bright lights and tons of people. People going here and people going there. “Where do I get my bags?” “Where is the rental car pick up?” “Where’s dad? I told him to wait for me right here!”” No, we can’t stop at McDonald’s, we can eat when we get home.” I breathed it in and I breathed it out and it felt so good to be there. I dreamed that someday I would actually take my own trips, and my people would drop me off and give me hugs and cry when I was leaving for parts unknown.
DIA has been officially open since 1995 and I still love it to this day. My little family travels several times a year and we still get excited when we have to go to the airport (okay, the hubby tolerates it, but the boy and I have a blast). When I fly home from somewhere I’ve been without them, they will make the effort to park and come inside to greet me when I get off the train. It’s like a jolt of adrenaline to my heart. My airport experiences have changed a lot over the years but I still treasure the moments of leaving to places I have never been and coming home to people that love me very much.
© DRB 2015