I’m dreaming of a green Christmas, just like the ones I’ve never known…

Even though I swore I would not publish a blog more than once or twice a week during the holiday season, here we are in Georgia after eating a pepperoni pizza and drinking a glass of nice white Pinot Grigio for lunch, and what do you know, here arrives a blog, more predictable than Santa Claus.

We are with Barry’s parents.  His brother, Craig, and nephew, Alex, shall arrive at the house for Christmas Eve dinner tonight.  You’ve got me right.  Today is Christmas Eve.  I dare you to dispute it.  I know you think–like the rest of the world–that Christmas Eve is tomorrow night.  Perhaps it is for all you.  For us, it’s tonight.

Christmas bells are ringin'

It’s tonight, because tomorrow is Christmas.  (What?  you ask, shocked.  Tomorrow is CERTAINLY not Christmas!)  You are wrong.  Tomorrow is Christmas because we say it is.  We’re a day early because on Dec. 25 when you might be opening presents we’ll be winging our way back to our Little House in the Big Woods.  That shall be the Day after Christmas to us.  Heaven knows but the rest of y’all Christmas-celebrators are a day behind.

OK, here we are.  Near Athens, Georgia.  It’s a green, green Christmas. It was a rainy Christmas week.  The rain poured from the heavens and the good shepherds of Bethlehem got soggy in front yards everywhere.  Do you want to know how many years it’s been since we celebrated Christmas with Barry’s parents?

I am ashamed to say.

Let’s put it this way.  Last time we celebrated Christmas with his parents our daughter was four years old and wore a Swedish Saint Lucia crown and delivered breakfast in bed to them. (Scandinavian traditions are big in the Upper Peninsula.)  She was four years old. That was 21 years ago.

Yard children waiting for Santa

It’s lucky that we’re here.

I want to tell you the story about our departure from L’Anse last Tuesday.

We were aiming for Atlanta by way of Detroit, after a knee doctor appointment in Marquette. We brought the knee doctor, the PA and his nurse Christmas present jams from the Keweenaw Peninsula.  Barry limped in to get his third shot in his right knee.

I was friggin’ irritable because a friend–who does not read this blog–wrote me an email critiquing this blog format.  Poor lady.  She won’t do that again.  I told her she was not qualified to critique if she didn’t read!  (Yes, Santa, Kathy wasn’t 100% nice this year, but please bring her presents anyway.)  Kathy has 25% more readership since the current blog format, thank you.  The lady in question wrote back to apologize but Kathy was already winging toward the Detroit airport in not-so-friendly spirits.

After a rainy night in Georgia...

That’s because she lost her car keys in the snowy L’Anse darkness Tuesday morning.  She did this between the time she left her car (which was actually her husband’s car with his spare set of keys) and went into the coffee shop to order a nice, tall Sumatra Java.  As she returned to the car, she started to turn the ignition.  Except she had no keys.  She looked under the seat, over the seat, around the seat, on the dashboard, every step between the car and the coffee shop AND in the coffee shop.  No keys.

She had to call said husband at his newspaper office a block away and ask to borrow his other set of keys.  Said husband was not happy because he was dealing with deadline situations and we had to leave town by 11 a.m.

Finally, as the Georgia-bound couple prepared to fly the friendly skies toward the parents, Kathy stopped for the second time at the coffee shop (with a headache and little faith) and whimpered that an eye be kept open for the lost keys.

Coffee shop owner, Bob, waved them in front of Kathy’s blood-shot eyes.

“Here,” he said, and named the person who found them in a crack on the sidewalk near the coffee shop.

That’s how my day started Tuesday.

Yellow leaves, blue pond, green sun

Here’s how it progressed.  We left Marquette at 5:30 p.m.  We knew we had only 36 minutes to traverse the Detroit airport before boarding the Atlanta-bound plane.

We reached the Marquette runway when our plane stopped.

The nice pilot came on the loudspeaker.

“We’re sorry,” he lamented, “the traffic controllers in Detroit want us to wait twenty minutes before leaving.  Too many planes are in the air above Detroit and we need to wait.”

I stared at Barry, askance.  This was not good.  We only had 36 minutes as it was to get between our faraway commuter gate and Terminal A, where the Big Boys flew, and now our flight was axed by twenty minutes.  Not so ho-ho-ho.

Star of hope, star on Georgia Christmas tree

We landed in Detroit and disembarked twenty minutes before our next plane was due to take off. We had about a mile to go between terminals.

I must back up.  I had requested wheelchair service in Detroit for said limping husband who has had two arthroscopic knee surgeries since October.  He had agreed without macho prevarication, saying it would be an adventure to be in the wheelchair line-up with the little old ladies and their walkers!

We bundled him in the wheelchair as the plane landed, covered him with his suitcase, and waited for the attendant to wheel him the length of the airport.  No go.  The woman behind the desk said we must wait.  But I could wheel him if I wanted.

I threw another carry-on suitcase beneath the wheelchair and took off running with less than 15 minutes to go.  Your blogger had never pushed a wheelchair in her life.

Man, did your blogger run!

Man, was it EXCITING!

Faster than fast, Kathy drove that wheelchair, bumping up and over moving sidewalks.  Barry held on for his life.

Two minutes into the sprint, an airport employee appeared.

“Can I do this?” he asked. 

“YES!”  I hollered.

He grabbed the wheelchair while I gave panting instructions: Gate A-18.

It was still a long way away.

“Don’t worry,” he shouted, “I’ve never missed a flight yet. I do this for a living!”

“Can you run through the tunnel and up the escalator?” he asked me, “and we’ll meet you on the other side of the elevators near Gate 18?”

I ran for my life.  Wondered briefly, for the safety of the husband, and the fact that he had our boarding passes clutched in his hands.

Sprinted down the tunnel.  Ran up the escalator, lugging our backpack and camera.  Pumped furiously down the terminal toward the moving sidewalks, jogging between laid-back passengers who didn’t care when their plane took off. Gasped for breath, but never stopped running.

After fifteen minutes of sprinting–when I thought passing out might be the best option–I looked up to see Said Husband and Wheelchair Operator running alongside the moving sidewalks.

“Jes’ up ahead!” he shouted.

I later learned he said to Barry, “They’s you wife!  She’s stiff-armin’ and jukin’ people out of the way!  Man, can that lady run! She’s makin’ good time!”

I saw him jump up in the air with one leg as he discovered that our gate-keepers were still present.  Even though the jetway to the plane had been locked, the Delta agents still awaited, finishing last-minute paperwork.  Our wheelchair-pusher was covered with sweat.  Kathy was nearly comatose, but jerkily covering the last ten yards to paydirt.

We were the last travelers let on the jet for Atlanta.  Barry gave his attendant a healthy tip.  Kathy couldn’t stop hyper-ventilating.  We found places to fit our suitcases and dropped, exhausted, into our seats.

We had made it!

The beautiful Christmas tree of my in-laws

Later, we discovered had we missed our flight our options would have involved getting to Atlanta via Memphis or La Guardia.  Or waiting until the following morning.

We’re now in green Georgia.  It rained like crazy for two days.  There was actually a tornado warning somewhere nearby last night.  Some of you might recall our last trip to Georgia in April where we hid in the bathtub as the weather sirens screamed and almost 200 tornadoes killed hundreds across the Southeast.

Tonight is Christmas Eve for us.  Tomorrow is our Christmas.  On Dec. 25 we’ll be headed back home to the Upper Peninsula.  I’m hoping the snow holds off until our return.  (I’m also hoping for a less exciting day than last Tuesday.  Please, Spirit of Christmas… We like our green Christmases when we’re traveling…)

P.S.  I gotta go now!  My mother-in-law wants me to set the table.  Enjoy your holidays!

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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30 Responses to I’m dreaming of a green Christmas, just like the ones I’ve never known…

  1. Never a dull moment. LOL! Merry Christmas dear friend!

  2. Elisa's Spot says:

    OOOOOOOOOOO you get to have multiple Merry Christmaseses!! Offers a nice five minute meditation-type nap~~~

  3. Glad to hear you made it, Kathy.

    I know you haven’t had time to read my post from Wednesday yet, but your title here made me laugh, as the title to my post was “I’m dreaming of a Green Christmas . . .” Our titles ended differently. You know what they say about great minds!

    Happy Holidays to you and Barry from Sara and me!

    Hugs,
    Kathy

  4. Marianne says:

    Oh my gosh, Kathy. That must have been hilarious to see the three of you in the airport. Sounds like a great scene for a movie. So glad you caught the plane.

    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas!

  5. jeff v says:

    Glad you made it, Merry Christmas and safe travels.

  6. Sybil says:

    The Olympic Team called, they want you for the sprint …;-)

    Have many wonderful Christmases.

  7. Susan Derozier says:

    Wow Kathy! I was exhausted just reading about your run. You also made me remember why I had made the decision to never fly through that Detroit airport again. I have multiple horror stories to share of all my experiences there. So glad you were missed by the storms but sorry for your rain in place of sun. Tell Barry that I, too, have had some interesting rides on wheelchairs on my journeys. Merry Christmas…whenever it is!

  8. DAwn says:

    It’s always so stressful to fly with a tight connection, especially at the holidays! Glad you made it. The flight home will go much better…but if you get stuck in Detroit, CALL ME! We are home doing nothing at all on Christmas Day and there’s a guest room, just waiting if you need it! I’ll email you a phone #.

  9. Your flight to Atlanta must be the only flight that has ever left either of the two Detroit aairports on time. I’ve spent more time waiting at Metro than at any other airport I have been through. Merry Christmas!

  10. bearyweather says:

    It snowed lightly here all day yesterday and in the end we now have about 2-3 inches of snow just in time for Christmas. I hope you have a very safe trip home with just a little bit of adventure to provide you with another post about travel. (grinning) Merry Christmas.

  11. kiwidutch says:

    Merry Christmas Kathy!
    I’m on the other side of the International Date Line at the moment so we can do our Christmas’s together at the same time!
    Wishing you a WONDERFUL Christmas (and a far less eventful trip home on the 25th)
    HUGS… Kiwi 🙂

  12. Karma says:

    OH my goodness! What an adventure through the airport! I hope you are enjoying a most wonderful of Christmas’s as I write this comment, and that you have a safe, smooth and slower-paced trip back home tomorrow.

  13. Ho, Ho, Ho! This post made me laugh out loud. You and Barry could be the new Lucy and Ethyl 🙂

    Happy Holidays to YOU and YOURS.

  14. Whew! I’m exhausted, just reading this!!! I’m so glad that the keys were found again, and that you made it to Georgia without missing your flight!
    Merry Christmas, Kathy & Barry… and safe travels home tomorrow!

  15. Val says:

    Glad you both got there in one piece. Have a happy Christmas – whatever day you celebrate it on! 🙂

  16. emaclean says:

    What an adventure! I have had similar experiences in Detroit. I really hate having to go through that airport because of the distances. For some miracle however, I have always made my connections. Barely.

    Love the photos and have a happy Christmas! Hope your trip home is less thrilling.

  17. john says:

    I admire you. If I tried running like that I’d look like a Jello mold on top of a washing machine during the Spin cycle. Have a safe trip back!

  18. Dana says:

    Phew! It was a real workout just reading this post. Now I’m ready to kick back with some coconut chocolate and maybe some calorie-laden gravy, too. 🙂 Today (the 24th) is technically our Christmas, too. The Eastern Europeans like to get a jump start on the rest of the Christian world. Merry ho ho to you and your family!

  19. Elle says:

    LOL great story. I’m glad you made your flight.

    I like this blog format. Except you could make the font a bit bigger…that would make it easier to read. Easy is good. Really good. My eyes are not as young as they used to be you know.

  20. Merry Christmas to you and your family Kathy. Thank goodness you arrived, safe and sound, for your Christmas Day on Christmas Eve!

  21. sonali says:

    Hehe, you almost had a merry-go-round merry christmas – eve! 🙂 Yea, good you did not miss the flight. I like your in-laws christmas tree. Looks fab 🙂

  22. Carol says:

    You are now on your way home, or getting ready to leave for home. Christmas is spread all over this year – son arrived yesterday, daughter arrives tonight, we will have our Christmas tomorrow!

  23. Reggie says:

    Sheesh! I am totally out of breath from reading this post! Kathy, you ran a marathon through that airport – what a race! And you made it! Soooo relieved!

    Here’s hoping you have (had?) a wonderful, relaxing, safe, peaceful Christmas / Christmas Day.

    Love and hugs to you and Barry!

  24. swbyrne says:

    Merry Christmas, Kathy. I’m glad you made your flight. It’s a green Christmas here in NC, too. The only snowman we have is the inflatable one. But I like watching him unmelt when I plug him in.

  25. Kathy says:

    Dear Blog-Reading friends, thank you for all your comments! I am sitting here beside the computer thinking about all of you, and wondering what you are doing this week between Christmas and New Years. Appreciating you all so much. I am sorry I wore some of you out with that run through the Detroit airport. **grin** It was exhausting, but, on the other hand, it was fun. Isn’t life like that sometimes? Both crazy and fun.

  26. Brenda Hardie says:

    ohmygosh what an adventure!! I am so glad you made it to the plane on time! It is now Tuesday, I spent most of Monday catching up on rest and in between getting some housecleaning done. Today I need to rearrange some things in the garage (mostly my oldest son’s apartment furniture) to make room for his old vehicle. Then I need to get my van off the grass and onto the driveway where it will sit all winter. The city is having a fit 😦

  27. Heather says:

    So glad you made it through Detroit! Thank goodness you were able to run your way through; if you had been short on time in Atlanta, there’s not much you can do but hope the trams speed you along.

  28. Kathy says:

    Thanks again, everyone. It’s been a busy week trying to get caught up after our trip. But trips are worth it! They are worth it 100%! Happy New Years to you all…

  29. Robin says:

    So glad you made your connection and that you’re alive and well (and not arrested by Homeland Security for running in the airport…lol!). Love your photos, as always.

    Christmas Eve was December 17th for us this year, with Christmas falling on the 18th. Who cares about the date? It’s the spirit that counts. 🙂

  30. Kathy says:

    You are so right, Robin. The date of our celebrations do not matter–the spirit is at the heart of it.

Although I don't reply to every comment on every blog, I do read all comments with mesmerized interest and try to return the favor by visiting YOUR blog or at least sending you heartfelt well wishes.

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