May 5, 2010

The Ordeal

With the current news about flooding and death in Tennessee, it makes our long--but safe--return trip seem not so bad.

Though we were scheduled to fly out of Nashville on Saturday evening, the flooding prevented us from getting there. We spent several hours driving around middle-of-nowhere Tennessee with little cell-phone service seeking out different routes to Nashville. Finally, we were able to go north to Clarksville then back south again to Nashville, though we arrived two hours after our plane's departure.

The normally-two-hour trip to Nashville had taken us six, and we weary travelers were claustrophobic, tired, and hungry. Hamilton did amazingly well, considering the circumstances. We stayed the night in a super-nice hotel and enjoyed a delicious dinner--all thanks to Judy.

(We first stopped at what I thought was a Hampton Inn, but it was the Hamilton Inn. If I hadn't first seen the handwritten warning--"No shirt, no shoes, no service"--taped to the front door, I might have appreciated the concidence with our beloved boy's name.)

Though we were tired from the journey and disappointed to miss our flight, I was refreshed by the nice hotel and excited to fly back early Sunday morning; I didn't want to miss the memorial service at Redeemer for Shirley Cottle, who'd died on Wednesday. We were up early and at the airport by 7 am only to wait for three hours; our flight was delayed because the slow-moving storm that we'd driven through the day before had finally hit Nashville.

Because we were delayed, we missed our connecting flight out of Charlotte. The next flight with open seats was at 6 pm. I had resigned myself to missing the memorial service, though I was thankful we would be home on Sunday. Once in Charlotte, we sought an earlier flight, and the attendant put us at numbers 4 and 5 on the standby list for a 2:30 pm flight. When we were able to get on the early flight, I almost cried. Just before 4 pm, we landed in Charleston--and our bags too!

Though our trip back was such an ordeal at the time--though nothing compared to the devastation in Tennessee now, there were small mercies along the way:
  • We didn't get stuck on I-40 because the flooding prevented our making it that far on our trip to Nashville.
  • Our car didn't get flooded or suffer any damage from the flood.
  • We flew out of Nashville before the city started flooding.
  • We got back in Charleston with enough time for me to make it to the memorial service.
  • Our bags weren't delayed despite our changing flight schedule.
  • Hamilton fared even better on the plane ride home.
  • We had excellent friends caring for Claire and the puppies while we were delayed.

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