Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rough Trip

I should have known better than to fly during spring break, but I was eager to get to Columbus, Ohio to see our new grandchild. My itinerary looked simple enough—Little Rock to Memphis; change planes; Memphis to Columbus. I had made that flight many times before. But when I got to the Little Rock airport the first Saturday of spring break, the place looked like Atlanta and everyone there had a pained expression. Planes were late, needing maintenance, overbooked, re-routed, you name it. The poor guy at the kiosk was haggard beyond belief. It was almost comical when he announced that since everyone had been so patient, he was going to hand out $6 meal vouchers.

Anyway, my airplane to Memphis was delayed in Atlanta and couldn’t get to Little Rock until an hour past my departure time, which meant that I missed my connecting flight at Memphis. Now airports have those little scanners that are designed to re-route you if you miss your flight. I ran my boarding pass through the machine and it gave me a new itinerary, this time to Memphis, then to Atlanta, then to Columbus. This meant that instead of arriving in Columbus at 7:30 p.m. as was originally planned, I wouldn’t get there until midnight. My wife was up there, having spent the last weeks of the pregnancy with our daughter, so I texted and texted and texted, confusing all my kinfolk up north until, finally, I had an arrival time for them. And, sure enough, I got there at midnight and my son-in-law picked me up and I got to meet Amelia Rae Bischoff, our new granddaughter. It was worth any amount of flight adjustment.

We spent some very happy family days up there with the Bischoffs, laughing, talking, eating, enjoying the early spring and gazing in awe at Amelia Rae. I dreaded our departure because it is such a joy to be with new life and the other members of my daughter’s family, but we had to get back down here to the real world.

The flight from Columbus to Memphis was on time and quite pleasant. I had plenty of time to get to my connecting flight’s gate, even though I had to hustle from B concourse to A concourse. There was some talk that a bad “wall of water” storm was hitting Little Rock and thought our flight would be delayed but it wasn’t. When we were on the runway, the pilot, who looked like he may have been in the eighth grade, told us we were in for a bumpy ride. But ‘I had been in much bumpier flights. I was a bit troubled by the lightning bursts as we approached Little Rock, but we actually got in a few minutes early. So coming home was a lot easier than getting there. It was just hard to leave the beautiful little baby that had joined our family.

As Amelia Rae looked at me, I believe she was thinking, “Well, here I am in the world. My trip here was rough, but, now that I have arrived safely, maybe this isn’t such a bad place. If I need anything, all I have to do is vocalize and the nice people take care of me. Even if the journey is hard, joy comes upon arrival.” A wise baby.

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