Trying to put together a family Christmas when three families are involved can be a challenge. Not quite as much of a challenge as some folks with several family members who are farther-flung that mine. We have a family of three who live a hundred miles away in Fort Worth, and a family of two who live in Brooklyn, and we two. We share the Brooklyn family with the rest of their family in southern California, And we share the Fort Worth family with a slew of siblings and parents and in-laws and grandparents, almost all of whom live in the Fort Worth area. So, only a little bit complicated.
This year’s plan was for the Fort Worth people to drive down first thing on December 26. The Brooklyn people were catching a plane at JFK first thing that morning, also. They would come on down from DFW by train to McGregor, a small town a few miles from us. David was really eager to take Peter to pick them up, because Peter loves trains. Christmas dinner ingredients were in the cabinets and fridge, cookies were baked and pie fixins’ were ready to be put together and baked. A good solid plan.
Hah! Here’s what actually happened:
Saturday-The Brooklyn people missed their flight by seconds. Jeremy said that as they ran around the corner to their gate, they could see the door closing. There was some frustration, because the door closed about ten minutes before it was supposed to, and there were about 20 other travelers who also missed the flight. Jeremy and Sarah used the same timetable as they usually did for flights, but the security line at JFK was ‘way, ‘way longer than anything they’d encountered previously at LaGuardia (my sister said her son had the same experience a few days earlier). But, it is what it is (a phrase that we used several times in the next 36 hours). Then (use your own imagination to write a story here, based on your own traveling by plane stories that might include the words “stand-by,” “we’re sorry,” “$1600,” and “re-book”), they took a cab back to their apartment, took down their tree, napped, and went to bed early to be able to leave again at 5:00 a.m. for a flight that left one hour later that the other one. Waco arrival at 12:27. So, no Christmas celebration on the 26th.
How to get to Waco was a matter for discussion, and I said, “Nope. No train, no shuttle. We’re not messing around with anything else that can go wrong. Someone will pick you up at DFW. I don’t know who, yet, but someone will.” What ended up happening was that David went to Fort Worth and got Peter so that Kevin and April would have room to get Jeremy and Sarah, which seemed (and was) a win-win, because Peter got to be with us and we got to be with Peter, and Kevin and April had a whole 24 hours to themselves. The 27th would work just as well as the 26th. Hah! again.
Sunday: The texts from Jeremy, at LaGuardia, began at 5:11 am, their time. “Sitting on plane!” (Yay) “Delayed!” (Oh, no) David and Peter and I went to church, and I baked the requested pies. We tried to keep up with the frequent updates. (Write another story with air travel phrases such as “weather delay,” “radio trouble,” “delayed, not cancelled,” “new plane has arrived,” “more madness,” “update soon,” “new crew arriving from Dallas, now delayed,” “new crew sent to hotel, not airport,” “drunk guy,” “police,” “apologizing,” “2:00 a.m. arrival time,” “on plane; in exit row!” )
They would not be arriving Sunday night, even really late. A 2:00 a.m. Monday arrival time meant a Waco arrival time by car from DFW at 4:30 a.m. That was just 30 minutes earlier than we had waked up on Sunday morning (a big ol’ thunder storm at at 5:00 a.m. rousted Peter from a nice sleep into a big ol’ fright). And really, people who got to DFW at 2:00 a.m. and were being driven to Fort Worth by people who were picking them up at 2:00 a.m., thought they should probably sleep a little before driving a hundred more miles. Possibly on December 28, we would have our Christmas dinner and turn on the Christmas carols and open our gifts and empty our stockings. I stayed ready for the “Hah” until I saw the whites of their eyes.
Monday: David went to work. Peter and I added things to people’s stockings and made some special treats. As Peter was finishing up lunch, someone knocked on the kitchen door. Mommy and Daddy! Uncle Jeremy and Auntie Sarah! Oh, at last they were all here. All, except for Jeremy’s bag. (Write your own misplaced luggage story here: “gate checked,” “on another plane,” “call this number,” “your call will be answered in ‘one hour and ten minutes.'”)
Ta-Dah! We actually had our Christmas celebration! Presents were opened. (Well, not the ones from Jeremy and Sarah, as they are in the delayed bag.) Stockings were emptied. Christmas books were read. Dinner was eaten. We were happy, except for the fact that Jeremy couldn’t shave.
It was a wonderful holiday. We all got to be together for a few days. We did some favorite things. We ate some favorite foods. We shared a common frustration (“Will Jeremy and Sarah ever get here?!?”) which will make a great story to tell, at some point in the future.
Jeremy’s bag arrived, with everything intact (razor and gifts included), on Thursday. He will need a few more days to get to the “funny story” attitude.
The weight of worry drags us down,
but a good word lightens our day.
Proverbs 12:25 (The Voice)
I listened to all Jeremy’s conversations with airline personnel for the past few days. They were people who were in call centers and not at airports in Philadelphia or Dallas/Fort Worth or Waco. All they could do was send out an alert about the misplaced bag and how it needed to be sent to our house in Waco, Texas. Jeremy was serious but not unkind or abusive. I’m sure the people on the other end of the line appreciated it.