Welcome to MyNeChimKi’s Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories! Thanks to Geneabloggers for developing these fantastic prompts for some holiday spirited blogging. Over the next month we’ll be blogging about some of our fondest Christmas memories.
Today’s topic: Holiday Travel: Peoria
My husband, my daughter and I have never lived closer than a ten-hour drive from our families. We have always tried to get home for Christmas. “Neither rain, shine, sleet nor snow will keep us from Arkansas” has become our mantra. The weather is always iffy at this time of year and you never know what you might face on any given trip. We have found that it doesn’t matter whether you fly or drive. You are never safe from the elements. We have also learned, through bitter experience, to avoid any towns that begin with a “P” like the plague.
We were flying from Dulles airport in Virginia to Little Rock, Arkansas, with a stop in St. Louis, Missouri. Approaching St. Louis, we were diverted to Springfield because of ice and poor conditions on the runway. Springfield was also socked in, and being low on fuel, we landed in Peoria, Illinois. A town beginning with a “P”. We stayed on that runway…for a looong time. After about an hour, children started getting fussy. Snacks and drinks were distributed, but they soon ran out. The toilets on the plane were reaching capacity. We were told that anyone who wished to leave the plane was free to do so…but could not reboard after he got off. That didn’t sound like a good option. After another hour, my family and I were joking that perhaps we had caused this unfortunate incident (given our bad experience with “P” towns). From the seat behind us came a voice saying that perhaps it was his bad luck to get on the same plane with us!
We were on that runway for more than five hours. To my knowledge, no one left the plane. We discovered that the Peoria airport wasn’t large enough to accomodate an airplane the size of the one we were on. They simply didn’ t have enough fuel and were having to truck it in from other airports. We got to know the passengers seated around us while we waited. We even composed a Christmas carol to commemorate the event. Unfortunately, it has been lost. When we were finally cleared to take off, St. Louis was open again. My husband had the foresight to make a connecting flight from St. Louis to Little Rock with his cell phone. When we landed, we were able to go straight to that gate, avoiding the confusion of an entire plane trying to make their connections all at once! But once we arrived at the gate, we found the flight attendants for our plane were also delayed due to weather. When they finally arrived, everyone at the gate actually stood and clapped as they boarded. Fortunately, Little Rock was clear and the rest of the trip was uneventful. That should have come as no surprise…Little Rock begins with an “L”!!