Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Once again, I am packing my bags and heading for the hinterland. I am going to Las Vegas to see my late brother's family. When I think of taking this trip, I am reminded of the last time I ventured forth to fly the skies over America.

It was the Christmas season and I decided to head for Montana to spend a Christmas with my granddaughter. I spent the night before my flight at a hotel and awoke the next morning to park my car in a Park and Ride lot, taking a little bus to the airport.

I had to change planes in Utah. The airport there was so crowded one would have thought Obama was making a speech. We were elbow-to-elbow in the waiting room, all chairs full, people standing beside each other, waiting patiently, Carry-Alls resting on the floor beside them.

I was approached by an airport employee, a young man pushing an empty wheelchair. Evidently his job was to find weary elderly travelers and give them a place to rest before they keeled over. He asked if I wanted to sit down and I said I did, indeed. I also wanted to take my traveling companion, my dog Jedi, outside for what I delicately call her "Sniff," before boarding another plane.

Off we went and this young man pushed me for what seemed to be at least a mile before we exited the building. Then we had a little trouble finding grass, a sparse commodity in Utah. We settled for some rocks and Jedi hopped over them like an experienced mountain climber. The Sniff completed, the young man pushed me back into the airport, through security, and back toward the gate where my plane would arrive.

I knew I should tip him, so I located a five dollar bill and tucked it into the front of my wallet. When he had delivered me to my location, I gave him the money and thanked him profusely, then finally boarded my plane. When I had reached my seat, I checked my wallet and found that I had tipped the young man a fifty dollar bill. The five dollar bill was still resting in my wallet. I decided the young man probably thought Christmas morning had arrived a little early.

I had a nice visit in Montana with my granddaughter and returned home, this time laying over in Minnesota. No problems! The flight went smoothly. Then I arrived at Detroit Metro. Laden with two suitcases, a Carry All, my purse and my dog, I knew I had to find a cart. The cart cost a dollar. All I had was a five dollar bill and larger bills. I knew I had to find change, but how to find it carrying two suitcases, a Carry All, my purse and my dog was beyond me. I halted several passers-by, but not one had change for a five. I finally used my credit card, charging a dollar to my tab. I piled my luggage in the cart and Jedi and I happily left the airport.

Then I went to wait for my Park and Ride Bus outside the airport. An hour later, I was still waiting. I was also freezing. So I went into the airport to persuade someone to call the Park and Ride office and ask them if any bus was in service. I asked an airline employee about the phones, explaining that I needed to find out about a Park and Ride bus. She pointed outside.

"There's one right there!"

Sure enough, my Park and Ride bus was just pulling away from the curb. So, realizing that they were at least in service, I went back outside. An hour later, another bus arrived. I boarded it, hauling my two suitcases, Carry All, purse and dog. We took up most of the space on the bus. Then, when we arrived at the Park and Ride yard where my car was parked, I found I had no change for the driver of the bus. I had to give him my five dollar bill. By that time I would have given him my remaining money, my right arm and my purse just to get me to my car.

My car was completely covered with snow. I put Jedi and the suitcases in the car, after I defrosted the keyhole by holding my frigid hand over it and blowing into the keyhole slot with my frigid breath. I was standing kneedeep in snow as I raked with a gloved hand on my crusted windshield. Finally, I scratched out a peephole in the front window and another peephole in the rear window and started driving toward home, swearing that I would never, ever again travel in the wintertime.

But here I go again. I shall visit with my brother's family. I will view Las Vegas, the city where I once lived for five years. Will I get near the gaming tables or the slots? What are you suggesting? Me? Gamble? How could you suggest such a thing? Shame!