AJ went to Texas today

I turned my iPad Mini on this morning to find a message from one of my best climbing buddies asking if I could give him a ride to the airport.  AJ, who taught me how to sport climb and set routes, was in need of my help, and I told him I could be there in about 45 minutes, since I was in Park City and had to clean out my truck a bit so he could fit his luggage in.  I also cleaned out the passenger seat, which needed done, anyway.  I picked him up about 45 minutes later and we went to run some errands before he had to leave.  We ate breakfast together at Denny’s and then I took him to pick up his luggage.  He didn’t have a chance to scrap his car before he left, but he was only going to get $55 for it, anyway.  His every earthly belonging fit into four bags – two checked bags and two carry-ons.  I drove him to the airport and gave him his SteepWorld Founding Member cap, which he wore into the airport.  I helped him carry his bags in after parking in Express Parking, and he got checked in.  Unfortunately, his mom would’ve had to be present for him to use her credit card which is what he was planning on doing, and she was only on the phone with AJ in Texas, so I paid for his baggage fees using my credit card.  AJ set his carry-ons down and gave me a big hug.  We said our farewells and he walked on toward the TSA checkpoint as I walked the opposite direction toward the airport doors.  I looked back at my friend, whom I’m sure I’ll see again.  I’m going to miss AJ, but we’ll keep in touch and this gives me even more reason to get down south and experience some other locations to climb.  I walked somberly to my truck and paid the toll to exit the parking lot, receiving a blue receipt as the arm lifted to allow me passage.  I wish you the best, AJ, and I hope you get a good route-setting job at one of the climbing gyms down in Dallas-Ft. Worth!  I’ll be praying for you and thinking of you, my friend!  Keep climbing!

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