GRAND ADVENTURE TRUMPS NOT-SO-FRIENDLY SKIES
Two Sundays ago, wife Sara Faye and I were scheduled to depart Houston at 7:15 a.m. for Chicago, change planes at O’Hare for a short hop northeast over to Traverse City, Michigan, then drive 30-45 minutes to our destination, Northport Bay Retreat. There were thirty-seven of us, representing four generations of Fudges from California, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, who would spend a week together at what must be one of the most beautiful settings anywhere. Sara Faye and I had set the alarm clock for 4:15 a.m. but we waked at 3:45 from nerves and stayed awake thereafter. We arrived at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport by 6:00 a.m. with time to spare.
The adventure began within minutes with an announcement that our flight to Chicago had been delayed due to mechanical problems. Updates continued periodically for eight hours. We finally left Houston at 3:15 p.m., arriving at the Retreat after 1:00 a.m. More-pleasant adventures along the way included meeting and sharing stories while waiting in Houston with a young man who was about to move to Chile to evangelize the homeless. United Airlines attempted to make at least partial penance by upgrading our travel status from Houston to Chicago to first-class. And, on the shorter flight to Traverse City, I sat beside a lady returning from China (Paula Johnston), who not only had taught with my cousin, gracEmail subscriber Dan Copeland, at the American School in China, but also had lived as a child in Decatur, Alabama, ten miles from my hometown of Athens.
One glorious week later we decided to reschedule our flights home to avoid leaving Michigan at 6:00 p.m. In view of the problems going up, it seemed prudent to begin the return trip earlier in the day, “just in case.” We departed Traverse City at 11:00 a.m. and enjoyed an uneventful journey to Houston, reaching our home about 5:30 p.m. Before settling in for the night, however, Sara Faye checked her phone for messages, and found a text just sent from United Airlines. Our orginally-scheduled flight from Chicago to Houston had been delayed, the text informed us, but the airline promised to keep us informed of developments as the night progressed. And with that word of cheer, now happily irrelevant to us, we thanked God for our safe trip home, shared a chuckle or two, and went to bed.