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Close, But No Cigar

With all the flying I did this winter, I was amazed to have avoided weather delays. That was until this past Sunday, less than a week before the start of spring. Waking at 5:30am to catch an early flight from St. Louis, where I’d been on business, to Florida for “Papa Patrol, ”a peek out my window brought relief. Nothing but clear sky.

At the airport, I went directly to the American Airlines kiosk and noticed an extremely long line over at U.S. Airways. “Sucks to be you,” I thought, my favorite line from the musical Avenue Q. When the machine instructed me to see an agent, I got worried.

“Your flight’s been cancelled because of weather,” the agent said.

“What weather?” I asked.

“Exactly. Weather guys get paid to be wrong.”

“What other flights are there?”

The agent half smirked. “It’s spring break. We have no flights.”

This can’t be. My grandfather needed me. Luckily the agent found me a seat on a Delta flight at 3pm through New York City, getting me to Florida at 11pm, eight hours later than expected. Not the best scenario, but what other choice did I have?

At security my bag was flagged. Not like I was in a rush. The TSA agent opened my suitcase.

“Talk about airing my dirty laundry,” I said, as she ran her gloved

fingers around my, well, dirty laundry.

“What’s this?” she asked, removing a plastic bag from Trader Joe’s.

“Chocolate,” I said, thinking of the four dark chocolate one-pounder bars my grandfather had requested. As she walked away to rescan the chocolate, panic set in. Not for the $20 they cost, but for the price of the disappointment in Papa’s eyes if I showed up without them. She soon returned and handed back the chocolate.

“Thanks,” I said. “For a minute I wondered if Weight Watchers had taken over the TSA.”

Any other time faced with a long delay I would be aggravated, but I’ve traveled too much to be left in the lurch. While it’s impossible to predict delays, what is possible is being prepared for them. Which is why I had a new book to read, my laptop to do work on and a warm scarf. So my Sunday was spent, like most, productively. Sipping hot water with honey to soothe my sore throat, I wrote until the sun came up. When it did I called Papa right away and explained my situation so as to soothe his worry of why I’d be late.

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