What’s the flight situation?

My semester started this week — and what a week it was. I drove through a nasty snowstorm to the first day of classes, which also happened to be the day the DH was to travel to Denver for a conference. Immediately following my first class, I hopped in the car (i.e. trudged through the snow, cleaned it off and waited while the windshield defrosted), drove home to pick him up, charged off to the airport where I dropped him off, and then rushed back to campus for a meeting. All told, it was about an hour’s snowy, sleety drive. I made it, but alas the DH did not. His plane arrived from Chicago with some hydraulic problem, so the passengers sat in the tiny airport lounge for…

…well over five hours. If my waiting husband thought, “We’d have more luck playing pick-up sticks with our butt-cheeks than we will getting a flight out of here before daybreak,”* he wasn’t far off. The plane was delayed so long that the TSA officials finished their shift, and because the flight was the last of the day, they locked everyone in the lounge and left. Ever thoughtful, the airport people provided bottled water and bagged snacks for the waiting passengers. I could not rescue the poor man, who I imagine endured stoically:

Dancing a jig — such a healthy way to celebrate a flight delay!

In the end they had to wait for another plane to arrive from Chicago so they could turn it around and fly back. When finally everyone got on board and taxied to the runway, the passengers were informed of another delay at the Chicago end and sat in a dark, cold plane, on the dark, snowy runway for another half hour (In order to conserve fuel, they turned the engines off). Altogether he waited more than six hours. Once he arrived in Chicago it was too late to go on to Denver, but at least they put him up in a hotel. The next leg of the trip, although unpleasant and frustrating, eventually got him to his destination.

Modern travel — what a marvel.

He’s supposed to come back tomorrow, by which time we hope the next winter storm will be over (We’re expecting 4-7 more inches of show tonight and tomorrow). Keep my long-suffering traveler in your prayers!

In the meantime, I’ve been reading Jim Mattis’s Call Sign Chaos.  Refreshingly, the book focusses on giving great leadership advice rather than divulging personal information or sharing his opinions about prominent figures.

I admire Mattis, who has strong ideas about honor and upholding the constitution. I especially love his views on the importance of reading:

“If you haven’t read hundreds of books, you are functionally illiterate, and you will be incompetent, because your personal experiences alone aren’t broad enough to sustain you.”

Harsh but true. Of course, he is advising young officers, but in my view that sentiment (maybe toned down slightly) applies to everyone. He continues,

“Reading sheds light on the dark path ahead. By traveling into the past, I enhance my grasp of the present. I’m partial to studying Roman leaders and historians, from Marcus Aurelius and Scipio Africanus to Tacitus, whose grace under pressure and reflections on life can guide leaders today. I followed Caesar across Gaul. I marveled at how the plain prose of Grant and Sherman revealed the value of steely determination…”

Wise words! Unfortunately, few people today seem to understand how much the past has to teach us. I haven’t finished the book but would recommend it highly. We need more men like Mattis around. Even if your normal reading taste doesn’t include military subjects, why not leave your comfort zone and give it a try? It has to be better than air travel, right?

*Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)