Something Happened on the Way to the Christmas Party
I worked for an agency of the federal government (proudly,
we were/are hard working and effective). One day I received
a notice from my boss that I had been nominated for an award
(not monetary) and was invited to go to the Washington
headquarters for the celebration which would take place at the
same time as the agency's annual Christmas party. (That was
before this age of austerity.) My husband was invited also;
it was a big deal. I spent many hours shopping for just the
right dress and shoes and made an appointment to have my
hair done. I really didn't want to go at all, but my boss suggested that that was not a good choice.
The night before we were to fly out, there was a blizzard. Our
city is very good about clearing the streets of snow, but we
didn't want to take the chance of getting stuck. So we left
home at 4:30 AM to make sure that we would have plenty of
time to get through the airport security (we live quite close to
the airport.) The snow was easing up and our flight left pretty
much on schedule. We were to transfer in Detroit, where they
also had had the snowstorm. We arrived there about nine
o'clock and were told that our connecting flight was delayed.
OK, that was understandable, and the party was to be at four,
so we had plenty of time.
At two PM, we were told that the airline was trying to get a
crew to take us on to Washington. We couldn't figure out why
it had taken five hours to get to that point. We got to know a
few of our fellow flyers quite well by then. They all had
an agenda for getting there on time, and were beginning to
get tense. Steve and I needn't worry though, we still had time
to make it.
About four o'clock, the plane took off. Perhaps we still had
time to make it to part of the party. We were seated in a
three seat block, Steve sat next to the window with me in
the middle seat. Our aisle seat man got on and was a very
stand-offish person, his body language signaled that he
didn't want to have anything to do with us, although we
hadn't even tried to speak with him.
As we were approaching Reagan Airport in Washington,
Steve (who had been in the Air Force) noticed that the
plane's flaps weren't operating correctly. He told me quietly
so as not to panic anyone, but Mr. Aisle Seat Man overheard
him and suddenly became our best friend. We heard how
he was an executive, late for a very important meeting and
all about his family. He may have thought that he was about
to die and needed human contact. As we started ascending
again, the pilot acknowledged the trouble and instead of
landing at Reagan Airport, we were to be diverted to Dulles.
We circled for what seemed a very long time, getting rid
of excess fuel, and at last started the descent. As we looked
out of the window, we could see emergency vehicles lined up
along the side of the landing strip.
Our pilot skillfully brought the plane down in a pancake
landing with sparks flying. We all gave a big sigh of relief,
and at last, we were in Washington. It was six o'clock.
Perhaps there was still time to get to the remnants of the
A taxi got us to the agency headquarters at about 6:30, most
of the lights in the building were turned off. It had snowed in
Washington too and all employees had been dismissed to go
home. The desk guard greeted us with the news and a lone
officer wandered out from his office. He was very gracious
and explained that he was all that was left of the celebration.
Secretly, I was pleased, after14 hours of trying to get there,
the new dress and me were looking rather frumpy. At least
I didn't have to stand up in front of everyone and give a
Accommodations had already been made for us and the next
day, we were greeted in the coffee room by the official in
charge of giving out awards, given a hearty handshake and a
beautiful clock, and all I had to say was - thank you. It is
lovely and sits on our mantle. Every time I dust it, I think
of that crazy day and,wonder what if . . .
(See lindie, your suggestion for the ellipse problem works.)
On our return trip, there we were in Detroit again.We were so
eager to get back home after our several enjoyable days in
Washington. But this time we were trapped on the plane, sitting
on the tarmac, and it was after 10 PM. We just sat there for
more than an hour. The flight attendent said that she didn't
know why we hadn't taken off either. Finally, it was
announced that snacks were in the process of being delivered
to the plane and should be there soon. A very loud groan was
heard throughout the plane.
We had been waiting for peanuts!
A couple of very tired people arrived home after 2:00 AM. We
have flown since - but not on that airline.