Life is full of surprises, as I was reminded most emphatically this past weekend, traveling to Rehoboth Beach, DE, for a gathering of women to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Setting off in falling snow for the hour plus drive to the Dayton airport Friday morning, my friend who is also my sister-in-law and I were confident we had allowed plenty of time; we anticipated a direct flight that would have us join our group by late afternoon. More than halfway to the airport, sitting in stopped traffic, Bitsy called to check on the flight, only to learn via automated message that it had been cancelled! OH NO!! Talking on the phone with a representative, our options seemed limited, but even so we felt that somehow we could work it out. Traffic began to open up, so we decided to wait and deal with it at the ticket counter with a live person. Could we drive to Columbus and get a flight? What about flying into Dulles or National instead of Baltimore? As it turned out, we couldn’t do any of these things, and our choice was either to connect through Atlanta (including a five-hour layover there) and arrive in Baltimore at 11:30 pm, or wait and fly direct the next morning at 6:00 am. Neither held much appeal, but finally we opted to take the connecting flights that day. We’d already left home and wanted to maintain forward momentum however symbolically.
Despite the snow, the cause for cancellation was mechanical not weather, so we left the ticket counter not just with boarding passes but also a complimentary hotel room in Baltimore for that night (we couldn’t drive down to the beach so late) and a voucher for a future flight. The security process marked a threshold into a kind of kairos time. We would not count hours or bemoan what might have been. Though Bitsy and I are old friends, former roommates, and related by marriage, it’s rare for us to spend such extended solo time together. Seated at a small table, we talked and ate a snack, then browsed the shops, followed by a cup of coffee and more conversation. By then it was time to board. In Atlanta, fond thoughts of our friend Sue whose birthday prompted the trip turned our mood more celebratory. Suddenly inspired, we began taking photos and posting them to the party’s Facebook page to document our progress, especially enjoying our attempts to photograph ourselves together. Social media lived up to its name in this case, because it created community across distance, mostly through shared laughter. We finally arrived mid-morning on Saturday after further transportation adventures with the hotel shuttle and our rental car. So good to join our friends who had also traveled to be there. Lots of catching up to do! All travel fatigue vanished upon sight of the ocean. Even on a cold and windy day, its majestic beauty rejuvenates!! Love seeing snow on sand.
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