Last Thursday, fighting a cold, I flew to Nashville for a meeting – a planning session for Ruth Graham & Friends. I had heard a snow storm was predicted for the weekend but figured my flights would get me home in time. My flight left on time from Nashville and when I arrived in Philadelphia the board told me the flight to Charlottesville was going to be on time. My cell phone was dead so I used a public phone (I had forgotten how nasty they are and how dependant I am on my cell phone!) to call home and was told that it had started snowing and was coming down fast. I sat tight hoping my flight would still be able to make it but when I saw that the USAir flight to Roanoke was cancelled, I figured I would suffer the same fate. Not long after “Cancelled” appeared beside my flight number on the board.
So I went in search of a hotel. The man at the “information desk” had his head on it. When I asked about nearby hotel he just handed me a big notebook with listings! Using the pay phone – I didn’t have change or phone card – I found a nearby hotel room. My “information man” still had his head on the desk (maybe he felt as badly as I was feeling by then) but I had to ask where to catch the hotel shuttle bus since it wasn’t obvious – the signage leaves something to be desired. I got myself over to the shuttle bus along with many other stranded travelers and was driven to the hotel. I checked in and got settled. There wasn’t a flake of snow yet in Philadelphia. I was quite hungry. Fortunately the hotel had room service so I ordered a bowl of soup – which was lukewarm when it arrived but it still tasted good!
When I awoke on Saturday morning – my birthday – there seemed to be a blizzard outside my window – I couldn’t see across the street! My youngest daughter called to wish me a happy birthday and when I told her I was nearby she wanted very much to come get me – she lives about 20 minutes from the Philadelphia airport but I refused to tell her where I was. I had a bad cold and she didn’t need the germs nor did I want my family on the snowy roads. I hated to miss a visit with her but with little Payson in such a precarious state and Christmas just days away she did not need to get sick. I was safe and warm. I wanted them to stay that way, too. Many people called to wish me a happy birthday and I had plenty of time to visit with each one. (Yes, my cell phone was recharged.)
My good friend Bob Dragatto lives in NJ wanted to come fetch me for my birthday. But I told him to stay put.
I had an interesting book and was content. US Air had rebooked me for a Saturday flight but I knew that I was not going anywhere. I tried to get them on the phone to check on my options. No way! I just kept getting a message saying “Try your call later”. Or I’d get a busy signal. On Sunday morning I woke up at 5:00 AM so dialed them. They told me I had a 90 minute wait and would take me in the order I called. I waited on “hold” for over 2 hours and finally gave up. I knew I’d have to go to the airport. I fell back asleep which did not fill me with joy. My daughter called me at 10 AM. I had almost lost my voice – too much talking the day before! She tried to help me get on line with US Air. But no luck. In desperation I called my travel agent – though she had not booked the trip since it was a frequent flyer awards trip – I was desperate. She runs Park Travel in Boston – they do all the Red Sox trips – they are very good and Nanci is a dear. She got me on a 2:00 flight.
I hustled to get ready, check out and onto the shuttle bus. When I got to the airport there was a very looong line ahead of me. But I love to watch people and had built in the extra time so I just stood in line. So many disgruntled people in very interesting outfits! There was a hockey team in front of me. Apparently from Canada. They were a jovial group!
Alas, I got on the right plane and it landed in Charlottesville about half an hour late. Greg had worked all day to dig himself out and was there to pick me up and tell me that there was no power at home. No lights, heat, phone, water – nothing. The house was 42 degrees and 2 feet of snow outside. Fortunately we have a fireplace. It was very cozy and Christmassy!
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