The Northwest got it's 3rd worst winter storm ever this past week. Salem, Oregon got about 7-8 inches of snow. If you're from Michigan or Buffalo, New York you can dispense with the "poor you" comments. With that much snow and freezing rain, the roads became treacherous. The trees began to fall under the weight of the iced branches.
Salem became a not-so-fun place to be...especially without my family who were in Redding, CA waiting for me to arrive.
Along with the dangerous roads, the winter storm brought cancellations and shutdowns at Portland International Airport. And guess where my flight to Redding was flying out of?
An amazing friend and his wife drove me up frozen Interstate 5 on Tuesday morning, in hopes that we'd survive the trip and that we'd arrive at the airport in time to make my flight...and hoping that my flight was still going out.
The 1 hour drive to the airport took us 2.5. One hour before my flight was scheduled to depart. My heart is racing at this point because as I walk in the terminal I see a line that stretched longer than the line for Space Mountain at Disney World. How would I ever make it in time?
At 1:35, the nice lady in the reindeer hat summoned me forward to check in my baggage and impart unto me my flimsy boarding pass. I bolted from there to security. The nice lady with the jingle bell wristband made music as she checked my ID and waved me on through with a sarcastic "Happy Holidays". After the FSA confiscated my brand new Gilette shaving cream bottle, I put the pedal to the metal and made it to my gate just in time to hear them announce over the loudspeaker that is was delayed for an hour and a half.
As my blood began to boil, I glanced around the terminal to see that Portland Airport had turned into a Christmas Refugee Camp. Tons of people who had been sleeping on the not-so-comfortable seats were staring at me, willing me to bequeath my seat to them. As if they would sell their very soul for a seat on a plane that would take them anywhere but where they'd slept for the past two nights. Perspective slapped me across the face, and I was thankful.
Thankful that my flight was still scheduled to depart. Thankful that my whole family in Redding was devising a plan to make sure I made it home for Christmas. Thankful that my friends in Salem were dedicated to drive me to the airport, not knowing that they would be in standstill traffic for 8 hours after they dropped me off. Thankful for the invention of the airplane. Thankful for the feeling of being around family at Christmas time.
I sure hope that guy that I talked to at the airport makes it home to Kansas in time for his Christmas. Here's to your trip home, Greg.