Today was my last train ride, about 140 miles from Brussels to Luxembourg, retracing the path of retreating Panzer divisions after they had gambled and lost it all in the Battle of the Bulge and turned back to the Fatherland hoping to recover from the fatigues of war. I too was heading home, not back to Fatherland Street in East Nashville, the Quinn family home, where I had returned to many times, at all ages, from various odysseys, but back to Byrum Avenue to say hello to Mom before moving on to Ms. E's in Hillsboro Village. It is comforting for the invader to know that there are folks back home waiting to care for his post-traumatic stress disorders.

Luxembourg is of course a lovely little town in a lovely little country, and I had nothing to do for a day except compare travel brochures against the actualities. The first question that pops to mind is how and why did Luxembourg get to be so small? Was it once a great empire gradually chomped away by greedy neighbors? Did it follow the usual bloat and shrink cycle of the other once grand and splendid empires I had traipsed through? I could easily have looked up the answers to these questions, but I did not care. My mind was on tomorrow, eagerly awaiting my return to familiar terrain thousands of miles away in another world. What was I going to do then, where was I going after the plane landed in JFK? Will I kiss the tarmac and thank whatever powers there be for a safe return?

So I climbed the same hill I descended from on May 27th, so long ago, and found sanctuary in a quiet place inside the airport terminal awaiting tomorrow's longest day.