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Three score and ten or more

Monday, February 16, 2009


To anyone who can count, the last post was number four.  I wrote the post using Windows Write (Which I like) and blogger will let me edit anything in the post but the title. (I can count, but I was tired.)

I had been staying at the home of my sister (and brother in law) who went to Ecuador on a mission.  Their son Ted, who is a dentist, hosted us, introduced us to his girl-friend who lives a couple of blocks away and who came with us to the funeral, and to dinner etc.  She is a delightful young lady.

On the day of the funeral  they began predicting snow and we went to bed a bit worried about the weather (with good cause, it turned out.)  Ryan took me to the airport for  my  morning flight (His flight to Memphis was to leave a few hours later.) and the first thing I discovered was that my flight had been delayed.  I was immediately concerned because my flight from Denver to Atlanta was scheduled to depart only one and one half hours after I was supposed to arrive in Denver.  We loaded the flight a little after eleven (we were scheduled to arrive in Denver at 11:41) but then we sat in the plane for almost an hour.  I was having visions of sleeping in the Denver Airport for a day or two.   To top it off, the plump little lady with the stringy hair, sitting in the center seat kept kicking my left calf and stomping on my foot.  If I were taking up space in front of her seat I wouldn't have minded, but she was just trying to find a place around the full duffel bag she had put under the seat in front.

Finally we took off by the time we were in the air, it was time for my flight from Denver to Atlanta to board.  When we arrived, it was well after my Atlanta departure time.  I didn't care, if I could just get off the plane and escape the gross little Tolkien monster who had removed much of the skin from my leg.

The had postponed the Atlanta departure, but they had moved the gate, so I was once more totally dependent on the guy who was pushing my wheel chair.  He didn't speak any version of English that I knew, but he read my boarding pass and got me to the plane on time (at least before they had completed boarding).  I am not sure how the airlines organize this, my tickets were on Delta, but the plane taking us from Denver to Atlanta was a plane from one of the Balkan countries.  The attendants spoke pretty good English and we got our free pretzels and diet coke.  They showed some movies and CNN, and I had my ear buds, so I locked myself onto the scree and pretended the world didn't exist.  I don't know whether this plane was an Air Bus or a Boeing but it was one of those with two seats on either side and a wall of seats in the middle.  Fortunately I had an aisle seat because my seventy plus year old kidneys decided to torture me, and if I had been in the middle, it would have tortured others as well,

It goes without saying that the fllight arrived in Atlanta after my flight for Jacksonville was supposed to have departed.  I had a wheel chair operator who was trained by Nascar, and he went through the halls, up and down the elevators, into and out of the little underground train with an attitude of "God help anyone who gets in my way, because they will need it" .   He got me where I needed to be in record time.  He got a better tip than usual. 

We found the new gate and boarded the plane in about twenty minutes total.  Of course, after boarding we sat in the unmoving plane for three hours and forty two minutes.   At the end of that time an announcement came on the intercom that they were sorry for the delay, but the catering truck was late, and they had no beverages aboard other than a few bottle of water, but they had been assured that the catering truck would be here in less than thirty minutes.  There was the same kind of muttering in the cabin that must have precede Fletcher Christian's dumping Captain Bligh into the lifeboat so many years ago.  But Fletcher Christian had the advantage that he could make the Bounty go after the mutiny.  We passengers had not that advantage so we satisfied ourselves with muttering.   After about an hour, the announcement came that the crew had decided to leave without the catering truck and there was a loud cheer from all concerned.

Of course, nothing happened, we didn't even go out onto the taxi way.  After about half an hour, the announcement came that that catering truck had arrived after all, so they had decided to allow it to unload before departure.  The passengers greeted that with a resounding BOOOOOoooooH.  They unloaded anyway and about forty minutes later the plane went out on the taxi way to depart for Jacksonville.  The biggest insult of all came when they announced that since the flight to Jacksonville was only a one hour ten minute flight, and their hadn't been time after the caterer unloaded to arrange the galley, no refreshments would be served during this flight. (Another resounding boooooo.)  I did take a minute, before they asked us to turn off cell phones to call my son, who had driven down to Jacksonville (about three hours) to pick me up at 8:30 P.M., and tell him to find a place to park outside the airport because we wouldn't get in till after eleven or twelve  We got on that airplane about 7:45 and arrived in Jacksonville after a 1hour 19 min. flight just after midnight.  According to the tickets, my total flying time was supposed to be 5 hours 38 minutes or 8 hours 30 minutes with connections.  Except for Salt Lake, when I spent a couple of hours waiting for the start, I actually was sitting in an airplane for somewhere between thirteen and fifteen hours.

We had a little lunch on the way and got home at about 3:45 A.M.  I didn't accomplish much that next day.  I didn't go to church, I didn't do anything else.  I was totally wasted.  End of tale.


At 2:23 PM, Blogger Norma said...

Please send notes to all your relatives that if they plan to pass on, you will not be there to sing. I don't think I can handle another funeral trip for you.

I found a cute little widget that speaks Finnish.

At 11:48 PM, Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

You're a treat, Richard.

"Muttering" instead of "mutiny?" Spoken like a true conservative and gentleman.

Your story made me nostalgic for airports. I used to love them 50 years ago.


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