Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Minnesota 2015 - A Midsummer Morning's Nightmare

It began as I emerged from the bathroom after my shower. The house was plunged into darkness as a pitch black cloud passed overhead. The morning news was full of thunderstorm warnings and canceled flights. I flipped open the laptop and checked my flight status, the flight was reported as leaving on time. I left for the airport. Waiting at the gate, 15 minutes before we were to take off, the announcement came over the loud speakers that the flight had been canceled. Going down the line of poor, hapless, stranded souls like myself a woman had the thankless task of informing us that the next possible flight out, if there were still seats available, was evening of the following day. I got the info for a refund for the canceled flight and, ever resourceful, pulled out my phone. A quick check of Amtrak's schedule showed a single seat left for a train set to depart in about 4 hours. Booking the seat from my phone proved problematic. I phoned my nephew, who I was going to visit and was to pick me up at the airport. I gave him the necessary information as he tapped out the data on his home computer securing me that last remaining seat. This left him several hours to ascertain the location of the train station in St. Paul. I boarded Chicago's blue line and headed downtown. Some would be travelers looked sad, some angry and some stunned. The man behind me in line was going to rent a car and drive to Rochester, MN., I almost asked him for a ride.

Of course as I walked the block to the classical facade of Union Station and entered through the heavy wood and glass doors the skies were a brilliant blue and the temperature a delightful mild 70ish degrees. I, as instructed, waited for my train in the slightly faded glory of Union Station's Grand Hall. The bearded, bonneted Mennonites, the uniformed Boy Scouts and their suburban dad troop leaders, not to mention the cute, mildly drunk man with the dark tan, playful eyes, graying goatee, sleeveless shirt and cowboy hat offering free hugs to passersby, added color seldom witnessed among the more white bread fare usually found at airports. His hug, by the way was sweet and welcome after the trials of that morning.

Sitting on the wooden bench, my vacation packed gym duffel beside me I figured, "Hey, what's life without a little adventure?"

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