Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Geri arose at 4:30 a.m. this morning - I at 5:15. Our flight leaves at 8:15 to Dallas, then a 4 hour layover and on to London, then Rome. The day of departure has finally arrived. Our weeks of preparation are finally over. What seemed like such a long time a few weeks ago seems to have flown by magically. As I am showering and shaving, I realize that if I don't hurry, we are going to be late to the airport.

It is snowing this morning, as it has for the last two days. The radio reports the roads are snowy and slick and that traffic is moving, but slower than usual. Great. After waiting for weeks, we are going to be late to the airport.

Wagstaffs up early to see us off. Shelly rode with us to the airport.
We have been staying with our daughter Shelly and her husband Ryan Wagstaff and their four children since December 17th. They all got up early to see us off (except for the 18 month old twins). We have appreciated their wonderful hospitality so much. A thankful prayer, hugs all around, and we're into the car. Geri has already cleaned the snow off and the car is warmed up. She is definitely worried we will be late. All of our luggage actually fit! We wanted to leave at 6:00 -- it is already 6:15. We are definitely going to be late. I wonder what that freeway traffic is going to be like in this blizzard.

The dashboard indicator says there is a door open -- probably the hatch back. Maybe our luggage isn't going to fit after all. Slam! That should do it. Yup, no more indicator light. We are now at the end of the cul-de-sac. We have traveled our first 100 yards.

On I-15 north, the traffic is actually moving along quite well. We get up to 47 mph. We might make it to the airport after all.  The traffic report says there is a serious accident on I-80 west of Salt Lake. Rats! This the route we need to take. Traffic has been stopped. Maybe we won't make it after all. Whew, the accident is on the eastbound side. The Lord still loves us.

We arrive at the airport at 6:50 -- a miracle! Now, how do we get all this luggage inside? Stack it, of course. Now up to the ticket counter -- it seems deserted. Let's see, we're flying British Air -- but I think we should check in at American.  We do.  Our flight has been delayed 2 hours. That 4 hour layover in Dallas that we had been dreading has now become our friend. We might actually get to Italy after all.

Look at the blizzard behind Sister Scherbel and Sister Leslie at gate A1
Our missionary name tags attract attention. Elder Arnell, who has served two missions in Ecuador and Hong Kong and is now a sealer in Rexburg stops by to talk. He knows Elder Noel Zaugg who I served with in Italy in 1967.  We meet sister Leslie from St. George who is headed to Manchester, England. She has a 4 hour layover in SLC.

All my stuff made it through security -- even the metal puzzles I received for Christmas. I lost a can of shaving cream to security on the way to Chicato to get our visas. Geri wasn't so lucky. As she was shifting stuff from suitcase to suitcase, trying to get them under 50 lbs. each (we had 3 suitcases slightly over 50 pounds), she ended up putting her treasured vanilla extract in her carry-on. So the people at security now have a nice supply of US vanilla. Aparently vanilla is a rare commodity in Italy. I didn't know that. I wonder if they have vanilla at the Dallas airport? We should have followed the advice the Tappans e-mailed us: Pack half as many clothes and twice as much money...

Only an hour left before takeoff...

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