One of the greatest things a parent can experience is to receive a wonderful gift from one of your children. My oldest child, Felicia, from my first marriage, asked me last year if her step mom and I would be interested in taking trip to Seville, Spain and Morocco, Africa. Believe it or not, I didn’t answer right off. I wanted to check with Chris, my wife first. I’m retired, so taking off on a major world jaunt would prove no challenge for me. Chris, on the other hand, has a scheduled hardy with various work activities and a host of volunteer commitments. Well, let me be honest, I had to think about it a little myself. I’ve always been a bit of a home body, and the thought of taking such a trip was something I had to get my head wrapped around. Fortunately, good sense was quick in arriving. I hadn’t given much thought to seeing where the Moors traipsed across Southern Europe and the area in North Africa where Humphrey Bogart uttered the famous words, “Play it again Sam.”
With Chris’ review of her calendar for the period of February 8 through 18, I was excited to let Felicia know that we were all “go.” For you to appreciate the value of this gift, Felica was paying for it all: travel, rooming and all expense related the trip. Let me not forget, she was also trying to coordinate the trip, so she would be in Spain on her birthday, February 9. A little self-serving motivation is fine in this case. Felicia was also picking up the tab for one of here college buddies to accompany us on the trip. Everybody’s excited, ready to fly off into the wild blue yonder, to sites thus far unseen by all. Then, a few days before we were to leave, Felicia came down with a horrible case Flu. It was so bad, it required her to go to the hospital for fluids because of severe dehydration.
As soon as Felicia started her journey back to this side of bad health, she started planning the trip again. The travel agency would allow rescheduling within a year, without any loss of funds expended. We had everything rescheduled for June 8 through 18th. I’m even more excited now than before, especially since the weather would be considerably warmer. Chris and I found ourselves practicing packing again, trying to get all we needed for ten days in one carry-on bag. I had been Googling to find out from every travel expert known, how to pull off such an accomplishment. Then, a few days before we were to leave, Felicia called and said the dates for the trip had been changed to June 10 through 20 because of Ramadan. That made sense. Business operations, tourism included, are affected by this holy time in Islamic areas of the world. Okay, we’re all set and ready to go. By the way, Felicia’s college buddy has been replaced by her sister, my daughter, Cecily. That makes it even more exciting, because it’s now a family affair.
It’s now, the early morning of Sunday, June 10. Felicia had come up from her home about two hours away to spend the night with us. We were flying out of Little Rock, Arkansas to Chicago, where we would board and international flight to Spain. That’s right, we were flying out of Little Rock at 6:55 AM, or so we thought.
I’m writing this at my laptop, at home. We still haven’t started our trip to the old world yet. When we arrived at the airport this morning and tried to be secure our tickets at the airport kiosk, there were no tickets on record. After spending time at the check-in counter and being politely informed that there was no record of tickets purchased for us, we stood with dumb looks on our faces like characters in a TV soap opera closing scene. Felicia presented the kind calmness that would probably be exhibited by someone who has over dosed on Ritalin. We finally left the airport. On the way to have breakfast at a local Ihop, Felicia and Cecily were able to reach someone at the travel agency that planned and booked the trip, by way of an emergency number. They aren’t open on weekends, but there is a number to reach someone if there’s a problem. I would say we had a problem. The person answering the phone said all things on their end indicated we had a flight booked and electronic tickets confirmed. The airline says no.
We’re all hopeful that things will be cleared up and we can try again at least by tomorrow. It’s been said by many that this is a small world in which we live. Oh, but it’s not that small if you can’t get on a plane to get from point A to point B.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.