Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post about childhood summer vacations with my grandparents who lived in a small rural town in the Mississippi Delta. “Black Travelers” is a sad but true recollection of the “special accommodations” we had to make as Black people when traveling by car and vacationing during the Jim Crow and Pre-Civil Rights eras.
“Old Travelers” is my story today about Hubby and ME traveling in our seventies.
Since moving to Florida more than three years ago, we have flown back to our former home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at least two-three times per year without a problem.
This year, we just couldn’t get it right. Nothing catastrophic, but enough to make us realize we needed a “special accommodation” travel plan to avoid things like —
• Mistake #1 – Departing to Milwaukee – Orlando International Airport
Everything was going smoothly. There were no long lines at either the airline’s check in or security points.
Hubby and I: (1) boarded the Air Rail to our concourse; (2) walked the entire concourse looking for our departure gate number without success; and (3) finally decided to check with an airline attendant, who politely said, “your flight is leaving from our other concourse.”
Oh Heck No!!! We had only thirty minutes to (1) reverse our long walk; (2) re- board the Air Rail; (3) board the correct Air Rail; and (4) walk the concourse in search of our departure gate, of course, it was at the end. But, we made it. Thank You Father for leading us to exercise at the YMCA 16 years ago.
• Mistake #2 – Oh, No You Didn’t
Finally, I am sitting comfortably on the plane, totally exhausted, and looking forward to this three-hour early morning flight as a well deserved “rest period”. The announcement came over the intercom, “turn off all-electronic equipment in preparation for takeoff. “ Out of the blue Hubby asked, “Did I close the garage door?” Since, I had no idea; he telephoned the taxi driver who always transports us to the airport. He didn’t know. But, kindly volunteered to go and check. Fortunately, Hubby had just enough time to give him our garage keypad code before the flight attendant’s final walk-through.
I slept through the entire flight. Sadly, Hubby worried about whether he had left the garage door open.
We landed in Milwaukee. And, when the announcement came on that it was okay to turn on cell phones, Hubby telephoned the transportation service driver.
The bad news, Hubby did not close the garage door.
The good news, the transportation driver with the assistance of an unknown neighbor successfully entered the security code and closed the garage door.
The best news, there are honest people in this world.
Everything was in its place. Nothing was missing. Believe it or not, Hubby and I never expected anything different. Why? We believed in the trustworthiness of our unknown neighbor and transportation driver.
• Mistake #3 – Returning to Orlando – Mitchell Airport, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Hubby printed out our boarding passes the evening before. The airline transit service picked us up from our son’s home at 6:00 a.m. for a flight departure time of 8:50 a.m.
Arrived at airport within 30 minutes. We found the right concourse this time (hurrah!!). There was plenty of time to have coffee and a bagel before we walked the short, short distance to our departure gate.
When we reached the departure gate at 8:25 a.m. the airline attendant said, “your flight departed at 8:20 a.m. – we paged you on the intercom.” No, we didn’t. Why, we had no idea?
Convinced there was no way he could have gotten the time wrong, Hubby checked our boarding pass. To his dismay, the departure time on the boarding pass was 8:20 a.m.
The only option left was a 3:45 p.m. direct flight to Orlando. Hubby spent most of this wait time questioning how he could have made such a mistake and repeatedly asking whether I was upset with him.
Frankly, it was a fun day for me – IPAD reading time, relaxing time, sleeping time, people watching time, and margarita time along with a great lunch. Saved the best for last — an Auntie Annie’s pretzel, to eat on the flight.
Our vacation this year, confirmed the need for Hubby and Me to develop a “special accommodation” plan. After all, we are “Old Travelers”.