A good day
The day started with a good sign. Susan went into the living room to open the blinds and she said, “Come quickly.” I walked into the room and could see right out the front window, a new baby deer. The little critter was probably about 2 days old. It’s hard to say, but it was up and following its mom as she was trying to graze in the lawn. The little one had pretty much mastered the skill of walking. Deer learn that early in their lives. They can stand within 10 minutes or so of being born and they are up and walking within a few hours. It was fun to pause in a busy morning and watch. I have to admit that it is a one of the luxuries of my life to have turkeys and deer for neighbors, who stop by our yard every day.
From there, the day had a few ups and downs - a kind of “bad news/good news” day. The bad news was that the tire on my car was going flat. The good news was that with modern tires, you can fill them with air and drive to the tire shop. The good news was that it was early in the day. The bad news was that the tire shop wasn’t open yet and by the time it opened, I had other things I needed to be doing. The good news is that the air I added to the tire lasted until I got to the tire shop. The bad news is that at the tire shop they were so busy it took an hour to fix the flat. The good news is that it was just a nail and the tire is good for many more miles. You know that kind of day.
I knew in advance that it would be a long day. The arrival time for the plane that had our children and grandchildren was listed as 11:03 pm. That’s late for me. It is also late for the children. My “to do” list was long and the day went by quickly. It began to slow a bit as the time to leave for the airport approached. I have an application on my phone that gives regular updates on flights, so I knew that their first flight had left the gate about 5 minutes late, which would present no problem with the change of flights because they had plenty of time. I checked and they only had to go four gates in the airport to get to their connecting flight and they had more than an hour. Traveling with three children can be a challenge, but their first flight was on a 757, which has six-across seating, so the whole family could be in the same row, if they got their seats assigned that way.
Their second flight was on a 717, which is an old Macdonald-Douglas design to which Boeing assigned a number when it assumed production. The 100-seat twin engine jet has an unusual off-center aisle with 2+3 seating. Five seats in each row is just right for their family. My phone app showed that they should arrive a few minutes early, so we headed out to the airport. We don’t own a car big enough for the whole gang, so we headed out with two cars, with the appropriate children’s car seats borrowed and installed.
The lightning was putting on a good display and it was raining enough to get wet as we rushed into the terminal at the airport. We had seen an airliner make a successful approach and landing as we got close to the airport, so we know that the airport was still open. The app on my phone showed that they were getting close. Then the app showed that they had arrived, but they hadn’t. The thunderstorm cell that was over the airport let loose with a lot of rain and a few dramatic lightning flashes as they approached and the pilot had to do a go around. It is a good safe procedure and the right choice when visibility is severely restricted.
As we waited, we noted that the monitor in the airport that showed the arrivals was a bit confused. For starters, no one had updated the clock display to daylight savings time, so in the place where it showed the current local time, it was really showing the time in Seattle, not the time here. Then the flight carrying our family was listed as having arrived as the pilot shot the first approach, just like the app we hand. A bit later it shows the flight as having arrived ten minutes in the future. They don’t have the same restrictions on cell phone usage that once was the case, so we were getting updates from our son on the plane and knew what was going on.
The plane made a big loop and set up for the second approach about 15 minutes after the first one. By that time, the storm had moved off and they had no problem with a safe landing. Rapid City being Rapid City, of course, they then had to wait on the ramp for the ground crew to be available. The rain had probably slowed some of the work that the ground crews were doing unloading the previous flights. Another five minutes of waiting seemed like an hour and then the passengers began to come through security.
A family of five pretty much goes the pace of the two-year-old, which isn’t as fast as some of the tired business people eager to get off of the plane and get home. Nonetheless it wasn’t long before we could see them coming. After hugs all the way around we claimed their luggage and loaded up the cars.
It was well past their bedtime (and mine too) when we finally got to the house, and it took a few minutes for the excited kids to explore the house and settle down. The day ended even better than it began.