7/30/2008

Lost Baggage

Today CNN was showing pictures of the baggage piling up at Kennedy Airport because a baggage sorter had mal-functioned. As I watched I remembered the night we met Jim's brother Tom and his wife Ila at Kennedy Airport and we all flew off to Geneva, Switzerland with no idea where their luggage was or if they would ever see it again.

We had planned an East Coast-West Coast hook-up for a three week jaunt together in Europe. Jim and I arrived from DC about 4 PM. Tom and Ila were flying in from Fresno, Ca in time for us to have supper together before we boarded our 9 PM plane.

All smiles Jim and I were waiting at the gate for Tom and Ila's plane. We watched the passengers departing - down to the very last straggler trudging up the off ramp. They were not on it. This was 1985 - before the instant connection of a cell in your pocket. Maybe we had the wrong flight number. A call to California confirmed the flight and that they had left home that morning as planned. Upsetting news.

What to do? Jim and I would have to leave at 9 pm as planned because Jimmy and Monica were meeting us in Geneva and there were "paid-for" reservations for the next three weeks.

Finally we sat down in a coffee shop near our departure gate to eat a bite of supper. We sat facing the corridor, scanning faces. Jim's face was drawn and worried. Then we saw them running toward our gate. Jim leaped up to catch them.

What a story. The early morning fog had slowed them down getting to the airport. They missed the plane in Fresno. They got the next plane out, changed somewhere mid-country to a flight to LaGuardia Airport - the closest they could get to Kennedy. Then a wild taxi ride to Kenndy. They had no idea where their baggage was but trusted it would catch up with them in Geneva.

Tom and Ila were the picture of calm, cool, and collected. They ate a sandwich and then picked up the next beat as we all joined the line to board our plane. Our flight took off at 9 pm as scheduled with all four of us buckled in. Next morning the sun glinted on the snow caps as we flew over the Alps and landed smoothly in Geneva. Ila did say, "we will see if the baggage made it."

Jim and I grabbed our bags off the revolving carrousel. Then the four of us stood and watched silently as new bags plopped onto the conveyor belt and other people collected their baggage and left. We kept hoping to see Tom and Ila's baggage. But it never came.

We went to the hotel to sleep - fortunately Jim and I had packed a couple of exta toothbrushes.

Tom and Ila remained amazingly good-natured - hoping to see their baggage -for the next two days - without breaking step with seeing all of Geneva. Luckily - the bags arrived just in time for us move on to our next stop.

I hope the folks today - whose baggage is on the loose - can manage as well as Tom and Ila did.

I have often tried to do that. Its not easy.

Take it from me - you might as well keep calm. No amount of screaming will help!

4 comments:

Granny Sue said...

I met a lady who never took bags with her. She just bought whatever she needed when she arrived, then mailed home whatever she'd bought when she was leaving. I have to say there is some common sense in that--and she always had way-cool clothes because she'd purchased them all over the world.

ELLOUISESTORY said...

I love that idea. Actually Jim and I have talked about doing that by checking out thrift stores
along the way.

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