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I Had The Time Of My Life!
by Lonnye Sue Sims Pearson



I really enjoyed my summer visit to my childhood home in Mississippi; however, I am trying to recover from the flight back to North Carolina. I shouldn't complain because in all the years I've been flying, I've only had two bad trips. You see where I'm going with this, don't you?

First of all, of course, there were two little hellions in the plane seats behind me whose father was at a loss as to how to control them. If I hadn't been in the window seat, I probably would have hurt some feelings before we got to Charlotte. That family can just thank God (or perhaps Allah, since they appeared to be Pakistanis) for small favors. I detest whiners, and the girl whined about everything, including the spilled ginger ale that splashed my neck when her knee knocked the beverage tray straight up in the air.

Oh, to make matters worse, I'd been bitten by a herd of spiders in Mississippi during my visit. The bites itched like crazy. If anyone had been paying attention to me, they would have thought I should have been on a baseball diamond. All that adjusting. Good thing I wore loose pants with pockets that day.

We left Jackson, Mississippi, right on time ahead (I thought) of a line of thunderstorms, but by the time we got to Charlotte, the planes were stacked literally sky high waiting permission to land. I had almost an hour to make my connection, but after circling Charlotte for over thirty minutes, I had to run (ME???) to the next gate. On the way I called my daughter Melanie, who was connecting in Charlotte, too (she'd been in Nashville to shoot a wedding) – only they were on Concourse B and I was on E and she was about to board. My connecting flight was delayed 45 minutes.

An hour later Melanie called to tell me they were sitting on the runway. By this time my flight had been delayed another 45 minutes. I had a new book for the flight home that I had to put down because I realized I wouldn't have anything but the Sky Magazine to read if I finished the book. About that time a barbershop quintet began to entertain us. They were returning from the International Barbershop Singers Convention in Nashville. I enjoyed them for the first three songs.

I checked on Melanie a while later . . . she was still on the runway fighting claustrophobia and heat prostration as they'd turned off the engines to conserve fuel.

We could have met in the middle of the airport four times by then AND eaten a meal.

Finally, Melanie took off, but my flight was delayed again. The barbershop men were getting old, and my rear was asleep. I walked. And walked. And walked. I decided I would stand until my plane arrived, which was a good thing because the barbershop singers had attracted quite an audience and there were no seats to be found.

The plane sat on the runway for a good twenty minutes, which gave the quintet time to sing "I'll Fly Away." Yay.

We took off in light rain and climbed high enough for me to read, but the flight from Charlotte to Greenville takes only about an hour, and things got bumpy during the almost immediate descent. I put the book down again. We circled the Greenville airport for thirty minutes before we were diverted to New Bern – a forty-minute drive from Greenville.

By this time Melanie had landed in Raleigh and they were making their way to our home in Kinston. I was in New Bern; my car was in Greenville. The grandchildren were at a couple's house in Snow Hill (and had been all weekend). This couple has three children of their own, and I'm sure they were about ready to pull their hair out. The airline scrounged up vans to haul twenty of us to Greenville, but an hour and a half passed before they got to us. In the meantime, my luggage didn't make it. They searched other flights and found my bag sitting out back somewhere, thank goodness. And sooooooo, the quintet started up again. Yay.

Eventually, the vans arrived and we loaded up for the trip to the Greenville airport. I sat by a very nice bass singer for the ride. Oh, he was blind. A blind piano tuner who sings in a barbershop quintet. We arrived just ahead of a downpour; I couldn't find my way out of the parking lot and circled it a couple of times. Being night blind in a thunderstorm is a bit of a problem.

The best part was that there was no one at the exit booth to take the $102 I owed the airport for allowing my car to sit in the parking lot for sixteen days. I contemplated calling to find out if I should mail them a check but decided they could dun me instead, if need be.

The worst part was driving on a recently repaved UNMARKED highway only to get home to find my beloved canine companion for the last eleven years, Siggy, had disappeared. He's still gone. I guess I've lost him since he was at neither shelter and none of the neighbors have seen him since last Friday.

It's a good thing I opted for cereal with cinnamon toast Sunday morning. That's all I had to eat all day, and by the time I got home and spent thirty minutes looking for the dog – in the rain – I was too tired to eat.

Once in a while a little drama comes into MY life.

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Lonnye Sue Sims Pearson grew up in the Mississippi Delta, but now calls North Carolina home. She’s an English teacher (one of THOSE), and she loves to share her stories.

Write Lonnye Sue at Deltamiss2002

To read more of Lonnye Sue’s tales at USADS, visit these links:
Memphis
The Last Train
Elvis Forever . . . And Ever
Names -- A Guide to Choosing Wisely

Read many more great stories listed on our USADS Articles pages.

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