Always looking for a good deal, we decided to fly out in the wee hours of the morning on Thanksgiving Day. I had to work all day Wednesday and did not want the hassle of a late- night flight, then the two-hour drive to Onancock. Besides, Thanksgiving morning flights came with a huge discount and according to the ticket agent on the phone, there were quite a number of empty seats, allowing us to spread out a bit with an empty seat in the middle of the row. I could really stretch out.
The airline agent on the phone informed me there would be a stop with change on the way due to the heavy volume of previous night flights but that it would only lengthen our travel time by about an hour.at Thanksgiving time. I made the arrangements and bright and early we arrived at the airport and picked up our tickets, took a seat in the waiting area and awaited boarding. The plane was on the tarmac and passengers joined us but there were only about forty, which even at this strange flying time seemed very small. After all, connecting flights to Norfolk were through either Atlanta or Charlotte and were usually quite full any day of the year.
I pulled out my ticket and looked at it and quickly found out why. Our connecting flight was taking us to “Motown,” Detroit, the Motor City. Talking about going around my knee to get to my thumb, I couldn’t believe it. But then I realized the mistake I had made for I told the telephone agent I was willing to take a connecting flight as I wanted to save money and she took it upon herself to find the cheapest flight, which happened to be via the roundabout route through Detroit. So, sitting there building a slight stew, I had no one to blame but myself.
Luckily, the layover in Detroit was very fast and the connection was at the gate adjacent to arrival, so when we made it to Norfolk, we were only forty-five minutes behind schedule. We were blessed by a strong jet stream that pushed the plane along its way. As we walked off the plane in Norfolk and went to the rental car station, I decided to splurge a bit and got an upgraded rental. At least I could go into the in-law’s house in style while my wife told her mom about my cost saving flight arrangements.
But even the car pickup wasn’t without an issue, for when I was dropped off at the lot and the bus headed back to the airport, I noticed a significant dent in the fender and I didn’t want to be blamed for it. So, I flagged down the next bus and told the driver. He laughed and told me not to worry.
“Every car on this lot probably has least one dent, Captain,” he said in a joking voice, “This is Navy Town USA and they send all the minor defects to us to rent.”
I did write out a note and asked him to give it the person on duty, citing lot and space number and condition and I made a note to memory about it for later and then we were off. Well, the big Town Car was nice and drove like a charm and the traffic was light since most travelers already had completed their journey. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon as we drove across the bay and we made it to Onancock by three, two hours before dinner would be served.
The weekend was a long one, we stayed until Monday and all went well on the trip back until we started our descent into Detroit. The rental car company acknowledged the car was fine so at least that potential problem was out of the way. But looking down at Detroit on a drab afternoon with snow falling, I could see that most of the runways were covered. The Captain came on before touchdown and told us connecting flights would fly, but there would be significant delays. My mind thought back to college days and flying home under similar conditions and being grounded for nearly twenty-four hours in Chicago. The good news, however, was that the storm was ending so that runway clearing would begin soon. And I had to thank God for clearing us to land on the last open runway at the airport.
We arrived at four and decided to get a bite to eat. That was fortunate since we didn’t depart until almost nine. And Wayne County Airport was in the midst of a big renovation, so with the large going home crowd of impatient flyers, the limited places to sit due to the construction, I’ve never been so glad to get on a plane with a seat instead of sitting in a crowded hallway on the floor. But we did make it. A day that should have ended with arrival home l at six-thirty didn’t end until eleven and I had to go to work the next morning.
We made the trip several more times before loss of parents, but from then on, I decided to drive. We took our time, often took less crowded back roads and saw places of interest that we would have never seen otherwise. And now I always try to look for the blessing in the clouds of daily life even when it looks gloomy . There are many when we open our eyes and look.