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She was a pleasant young woman, likely in her mid-20s, stuck in the Dallas airport like the rest of us. The flight was put on delay for two hours, meaning we wouldn't be arriving in Dayton until after 11 p.m.

The two people across from her were a retired couple, flying home from Mobile, Ala., where they just finished visiting their daughter's family.

Right beside her was a middle-aged couple who had relocated to Phoenix from Ohio. They were looking forward to visiting family and friends back in Arcanum.

The young woman was soon to get a lesson in Ohio hospitality. The rest of us would learn what it's like to be the daughter of a career military man.

Her ears perked up when she heard the older couple saying they were from Vandalia.

"Did you all say you're going to Vandalia? That's where I'm going," she said in a pleasant Southern drawl.

The elderly couple asked if she lived in Vandalia, and she explained she was on a trip to visit her boyfriend.

Then she smiled and said how much she enjoyed visiting his home. She explained that he knows everyone on the street where he lives. They were longtime neighbors and friends of his family. Her boyfriend would take her on walks and point out where the Wilsons lived, or the Butlers.

"He even took me to a high school football game on a Friday night and knew everyone there," she laughed. "I'll probably never go back to the high school where I graduated."

She explained that she grew up moving from bases to base and only had two people she would call longtime friends. They were children of another military couple who often were stationed at the same place.

She wasn't complaining. As she said, she had the opportunity to see many regions of the country and the world.

The older couple listened intently and then pointed out that they too knew everyone on their street.

"We just had someone move in across the street and I made them brownies," the older woman proudly said. "We always do that."

Her husband then nudged her and told her to "tell them the story."

The older woman laughed and said that before they left on their trip, she awakened in the middle of the night and noticed the new people on the block left their garage door open. Her husband was sleeping, so, not wanting to awaken him, she slipped on her night coat, walked outside and began ringing the neighbor's doorbell but could get no one to answer.

She finally gave up and frustratingly walked back to her house.

What she didn't realize was that she had indeed awakened her new neighbors. They looked out the window and saw her hurriedly walking back to her home. Alarmed that something may be wrong, they called the police.

Eventually, the police sorted out the situation and alerted both neighbors as to what had transpired.

"The police told me the next time it would be better if I called them about an open garage door," the older woman said. "My husband also scolded me for running off late at night. He was afraid a wild coyote might get me - one was seen earlier in the week. And the new neighbors? Next day they sent us brownies."

The young woman smiled and said she would have enjoyed growing up in the Midwest. But as is, she said, she has no misgivings about her upbringing.

"Life is what you make of it," she said.

We all nodded our heads in agreement.

I can't remember what we talked about after that. We were all strangers just passing the time. Passengers were finally allowed to board the plane and we wished each other a safe flight.

It was a great way to end a business trip.

ROSES AND THORNS: Some catching up to do:

Rose: To Anne and Bob Reynolds, of Elida, for their tireless efforts of taking care of their son, Justin, who was injured by a roadside bomb while serving with the U.S. Marines in Iraq.

Rose: To Mark Heffner, who was named fire chief after 23 years with the Lima Fire Department.

Rose: To Eric Wantland, 17, of Apollo Career Center. He won a 1996 Buick Regal for his perfect school attendance.

Rose: To Nellie Smith, of Cridersville. She had the best critical essay written in an undergraduate English course at any campus of The Ohio State University.

Rose: To Newt Triplett, principal of McBroom Junior High School in St. Marys. He was honored as The Lima News Newspaper In Education Teacher of the Year.

Rose: To Courtney Tate, a 1997 Lima Senior High School graduate. She is working at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq for the State Department, serving as a liaison on reconstruction projects.

Rose: To Darrel Linder, of Lima, winner of the Outstanding Volunteer Award by the Allen County chapter of the American Cancer Society.

Rose: To Jerry Hurley, of Columbus Grove. She's back in the spotlight. In 2004, she met President Bush during a town hall meeting in Columbus.  Last week, her idea was featured in the nationally syndicated comic strip "Pluggers."

Thorn: A 43-year-old Lima woman left a $100 bill on her vehicle's dashboard and was puzzled when someone broke a window and stole it.

Thorn: To Andrew Meinerding, 23, of St. Marys. Celina police finally caught up with him after he led them on a 14-mile chase while driving his four-wheeler.

Thorn: To Lisa Swartz, 27, of Russells Point. She was charged with felonious assault after running over her former boyfriend with her car, tossing him an estimated 24 feet.

PARTING SHOT: Only a fool stops payment on a reality check.

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