Winter in the Northeast; cold, damp, gray. Mother Nature scowls
and returns my smiles with grunts and grimaces. It would be a
good time to savor the sunny south’s sunshine. We invite our far
flung children to join us. Our son delights in hiking the mountains
of Colorado as our daughter contemplates the ocean in Rhode
Island. Our children need a respite from winter as much as we do.
A Florida resort located on the ocean with activities from wind
surfing on the water to turtle races on the beach sounds perfect. We
set the date, arrange airline flights and secure hotel reservations.
Packing commences with great enthusiasm. We joyfully fling aside
dark, heavy winter colors for cheerful featherweight pastels. Into
the suitcase go bathing suits, tank tops and shorts, sunhats and flip
flops. We can see ourselves walking in the sand searching for
shells and building sand castles with our grandchildren.
Then comes the first snow prediction.
As the flight date approaches it becomes clear that the storm will
hit close to our departure time. Our son assures us,
“No problem; you’ll be flying over the clouds. The snow won’t
impact your trip.”
Why doesn’t anyone share that information with my airline?
Continental cancels all flights on what would have been our first
We can still go. We’ll lose just one day of vacation and book a
flight tomorrow. I call the airline.
“Our flight to Fort Myers was cancelled yesterday. Please rebook a
flight for tomorrow.”
“That won’t be possible. We are booked solid on all tomorrow’s
flights; the best we can do for you is a week from tomorrow.”
“A week from tomorrow?” I sputter. But we all blocked out this
week for vacation. And next week won’t work because the
children will all be back in school. It has to be this week.”
“I’m sorry. The next available seats we have available are for
All travelers booked for the cancelled flight plus the ticket
holders already ticketed for tomorrow’s flight filled the seats and
waiting lists. Everything that could move was reserved months in
advance. We are stuck. We will have to stay home and scowl back
at Mother Nature.
It’s no surprise that nobody asks me to stay on the line and take a
customer satisfaction survey at that point.
I call my daughter at the time we should have been flying south.
Sebastian, my four year old grandson, answers the
phone and asks:
“Grandma, are you mad at the snow?”
What a sweet, uncomplicated view of our situation. Should I
philosophize to him about putting this experience into perspective,
focus on feeling thankful that we’re all safe?
No. It didn’t ring true. So I answer,
“Yes Sebastian; I am mad at the snow.”