DH is attending a conference in Galveston Texas this week, and I, feeling seriously in need of some sun and sand (and a decent margarita), decided to go with him. We left Seattle on Sunday, and for once, everything went right. We were upgraded to first class; the weather was clear; our luggage arrived with us -- intact.
It was such an auspicious beginning to a trip that I was lulled into smugness. I am not cursed. I can take a quick flight down to Little Rock to visit my aunt and my grandmother, and be back in Houston early on Wednesday, in plenty of time to take care of some important business. That has all been rectified now -- "Thank you very much," says I to the heavens, "for reminding me that everywhere you go; you always take the weather."
I might have guessed, when I stepped onto the airport shuttle in Galveston (where I'd arrived the night before). My reservation was for 10:15 am and it was only 10:10 when I got on the shuttle, but the horse-faced female half of the only couple on board jumped up and began to upbraid me because she and her husband were going to be late for their flight. Seeing as how I was not late -- I was actually feeling self-satisfied for being early (for once) -- I stepped back in surprise and looked over my shoulder, assuming she was talking to someone else. But no. The only one there was my husband who'd come down to wave goodbye. She was talking to me.
I looked at the driver and pointed at my watch, but he shook his head, rolled his eyes, and made a little twirling motion in the direction of his temple. Horse-face and her hubby were the only passengers, so I took a seat at the opposite end of the coach. It was not a large bus -- with seating for 12 to 14 people -- and it was divided into two sections by a luggage rack; Horse-face and hubby sat in the front section and I sat in the back. Horse-face then proceeded to spend the ENTIRE two hour drive to the airport bitching (loudly) about ME!
At first I tried to read, but even though I had a good book -- Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier, which I can highly recommend -- Horse-face was incredibly LOUD. Yes; it's true that I was wearing ancient Levis, a lime green polo shirt, and (God forbid!) loafers with NO socks, but sorry, Mrs. Horse-face, my hair is NOT dyed, I was NOT wearing eye shadow, and my handbag is NOT a Burberry knock-off! Also, for the record, I am NOT, nor have I ever been a prostitute. Just so's you know.
By the time we arrived at the airport, I was entertaining fantasies of sneaking up to the front and shoving horse-face off the bus! I would definitely have pushed in front of her when we exited, but she and her husband were on a different airline and so, got off first. The driver was so apologetic that I ended up giving him a huge tip. She was sitting right behind him for the whole trip, so the poor guy got an even louder earful than I did.
The rest of the trip went fine, however, and I had a lovely time (and some excellent oven-fried chicken) with my aunt and my grandmother. They now live in a neighborhood where I spent a lot of time when I was growing up, and I enjoyed driving around, seeing how much things have changed (and stayed the same). I had planned to take a couple of photos of the Old Mill, where the opening scenes of Gone With the Wind were shot, but the sky was starting to turn tornado-green, so I decided to cut short my trip down memory lane. I made it back to the house just in time to beat the rain, and to listen to a bunch of warnings of imminent doom from the TV weathermen.
Tornadoes are a fact of life in the South, and in spite of all the warnings, the weather didn't seem threatening enough to give me any concern about my flight, which wasn't until the next morning (today). Wrong. My flight, which was supposed to leave around 9:00 am today, was cancelled. So were the two flights after it. There were two flights before mine: one scheduled to depart at 5:15 am, which just took off at 12:40 pm, after sitting on the runway for more than 7 hours; and another scheduled to depart at 6:15 am. That flight managed to take off, but the storm forced the pilot to divert to College Station, Texas. That flight is now sitting on the runway in College Station. My original flight was sold out, and so were the flights immediately preceding and following mine. We all had to be shuffled, and I couldn't get another flight out until 6:15 am tomorrow.
I wish I had made it to Houston as planned, but if I had to be delayed, there's nowhere else I'd rather be than where I am right now -- watching the sun trying to take over its proper position in the still tornado-green sky. My rewards for this brief stranding were 1) my grandmother's gold watch that she doesn't want any more; 2) an antique inlaid box from Syria that Auntie doesn't want any more; 3) my grandmother's story about how much she hated making cakes for school bake sales when her children were small -- her solution was to find out how much money the school wanted to charge for the cake, and to give them the money instead. I said if I'd had children, I'd probably have done the same. She said of course I would; she sees a lot of herself in me. That was reward #4.
My grandmother also shared a bit of her wisdom of the ages: external circumstances aren’t important; it’s what you carry inside that counts (i.e., everywhere you go, you always take the weather).