From Miami

I always imagine getting lots of actual writing done on an airplane. In reality the closeness and the noise and the early rising tends towards an inertia that makes it seem much easier to thumb through a magazine.

My first flight was at 9 AM — not too early. But I didn’t want to cut it too close, so I was up by 6:15. Our two 10 year old sons were the only ones awake to wave John and me off, and I’d purposely said goodbye to all the kids at bedtime, which made it a little bit easier to leave in the morning. Still, it was tough to say goodbye to John. Once I was checked in, we spent half an hour sitting on a bench just outside of the security check-in, chatting, putting off the goodbyes.

But then finally it was time. The first hop was to Denver, just a couple of hours from home, and it went smoothly. I had an hour to make the next plane, which I didn’t think would be any trouble in the lovely Denver airport. But when I located my correct departure gate I was concerned. I could tell by the numbers of people around the gate that something was not quite normal.

I’d grabbed a Pizza Hut mini-pizza on the way to my gate, and wanting to eat it while it was hot, I planted myself on the floor in the hall, hoping to make some sense of the chaos as I ate. Announcements over the loudspeaker periodically called individuals up to the ticket counter, where people were already lined out into the main hallway. Then the announcer asked for people who were willing to give up their seats for this flight, offering them a flight leaving half an hour later instead. The free round trip ticket they were offering as a perk sounded good to me. But I was already working with a very brief 45 minute layover in Washington DC, which had me concerned. No way could I afford to arrive half an hour later.

Then the ‘delayed’ sign flashed up on the screen. I groaned inwardly. People were called back and forth to the check-in counter. Another ticket agent again pleaded for volunteers to take the later flight. I began wondering just how far they’d overbooked.

Finally the delayed sign went away, and 10 minutes before the planned departure time, they began boarding people. I was in the last group getting on the plane. By the time I got on, it was packed. On the plane they discovered they still had two extra people, and once again they asked for volunteers to take the later flight. Two more people volunteered to get off the airplane and wait for the later flight. And finally everyone had a seat and we finally took off.

The couple who ended up sitting next to me clued me in on the chaos. Apparently they were in a church group of 37 people traveling together to Rome. Their first flight of the day had been canceled, which forced United to squeeze all 37 of them onto this plane. If they didn’t make this flight, they’d miss their flight to Rome, which took off a scant hour after this flight would get them to DC. Except due to all the confusion, our flight took off 10 minutes late. Now the big question in many people’s minds was if United could get us all to DC in time to make our various connections.

(I’m so tired now that I’m cross-eyed and my contacts are doing strange things. I’ll tell the rest of this story in the morning. But the title of this post should tell you that the day ended well.)


  1. Pioneer Woman linked to you, so I’m here to read about your trip. I can’t wait to hear more about this experience in the DR! It sounds incredible.

    The joys of air travel though. ugh.

  2. Mary-I have been reading your blog for a while. In Judaism, this is the prayer we say when we travel:

    May it be Your will, LORD, our God and the God of our ancestors, that You lead us toward peace, guide our footsteps toward peace, and make us reach our desired destination for life, gladness, and peace. May You rescue us from the hand of every foe, ambush along the way, and from all manner of punishments that assemble to come to earth. May You send blessing in our handiwork, and grant us grace, kindness, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see us. May You hear the sound of our humble request because You are God Who hears prayer requests. Blessed are You, Adonai, Who hears prayer.

  3. Hi! I’m visiting from the Pioneer Woman. I think it’s just wonderful what you are doing and I’m here to read about your experiences. Hope you get some sleep!

  4. And the journey begins! I’m so excited to see what the Lord has in store for you and the other DR bloggers!