1999 September 16, 1215 UT
was a little nervous about leaving her new house. Packing
to travel has never been her forte, and adding to that
anxiety were the responsibilities of properly shutting
down the house for ten days. Strangely, the one thing
she wasn't concerned about was the weather.
She knew that there was
a hurricane working its way up the East Coast, but having
lived in New Jersey all her life, she concluded that
Hurricane Floyd would deposit only a few inches of rain
on them. As the day progressed, however, she began to
fear the worst. By the time John called to say that
he couldn't even get out of New York because of the
weather, she had already learned that The Philadelphia
International Airport had been closed because of the
Realizing that all hell was
about to break loose at the ticket counter, John immediately
got on the phone with US Air to make arrangements to get
the pair out of the country as soon as possible. They
told him that if they drove to Ohio, they could board
a plan from there. Since traveling anywhere in the Northeast
was now an impossibility, he politely declined those two
He continued to try to
reserve two tickets for the next possible opening. He
was on the phone with US Air for a long time, often
on hold, often being transferred to yet another operator.
He was engaged in a heated conversation with one operator
who declared the the "storm wasn't his fault".
A fact that John acknowledged, but countered that it
is the nature of the airline industry to anticipate
such storms and to have backup
plans available to patrons
such as himself. With a snort, the operator told
him that he'd transfer him to a ticket agent who
could help him, and when the call went
through John heard s
the phone answered. "The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, how can
I direct your call?"
Furious, John politely
disengaged himself from that phone call and redialed
the airlines. He demanded a manager, and telling his
story with all the fury and entitlement that an enraged
customer can muster, managed to score two seats on the
next flight out to Paris. Unfortunately, the flight
didn't leave for another 24 hours. "Somewhere in
Paris," he said, "was an empty hotel room
with our name on it."
John called to tell Leslie
that they'd be leaving "this time tomorrow",
and said that he'd leave New York and arrive at her
house a few hours before their flight left.
She thanked him for taking
care of all the arrangements, hung up the phone and
returned to the hissy-fit that she'd been having for
the past few hours.
For reasons that will forever
remain a mystery, Leslie had gone out food shopping
a few days before she was scheduled to leave for Paris.
Rookie mistake. So, there to witness all the histrionics
of that day was her father, who had come, at her request,
to collect the extra food she had foolishly purchased
a few days before.
Her father, having
been a witness to more than one of Leslie's hissy-fits,
had fished out her CD player from her overnight
bag and was listening to some music, and perusing
her Streetwise Map of Paris, while pretending
to hear her rants of "It's just a little
effing rain!!" and smiling with great compassion
whenever it seemed necessary.
After Leslie made
as many phone calls as she felt would be necessary
to get the appropriate amount of pity from friends
and loved ones, she settled down a little.
Slowly, ever so slowly,
Leslie began to resign herself to the sad fact that
her first trip abroad would be delayed a day. Having
sorted out the new schedule with John, there wasn't
much else to do but unpack a few essentials and wait.
Leslie's father suggested they go out to the diner up
the street, since he loves any excuse to drive his Jeep
in extreme weather.
While Leslie spent the
better part of the next day walking around the neighborhood
looking at the flooded backyards, John made his way
down from New York to his mother's house, and then from
there to Leslie's. John's mother, Betty, drove them
both to the reopened airport. And even though the pair
were both almost 40 years of age, Betty admonished them
during the entire ride to the airport to behave themselves,
to call her when they arrived at the hotel, to be careful,
to not drink the water, and to call her the moment they
got back. Then she dropped the pair off at the airport,
waved, honked the horn, and drove away.They boarded
the plane and flew to Paris. Finally.