I saw more of the southeastern United States in three days than I had in, well, a lot of years, late last month. And I didn’t intend for that to happen.
Maybe the swirling snow flurries on the way to the airport late Sunday afternoon should have been a sign, like an omen.
We checked in at the counter and were told our flight was delayed, but we were getting put on a flight that was scheduled to leave earlier.
Scheduled being the operative word. Nothing was leaving close to on time.
Up next was the encounter with TSA. It’s been about a year since I’ve flown. I had my shaving kit in my big carry-on bag, along with my camera bag (which is another story later in the trip). I was moving through the line and the TSA agent asked if I had any toiletries in my bag.
Yes, I said, and extracted my long-serving shaving kit. He opened it.
“This is too big,” he said, pointing to not only my can of Edge extra moisturizing shaving gel but also my tube of Crest extra whitening with Scope.
“It’s too what?”
It’s too big, he repeated. I could only have x amount of ounces of a container and this was y amount.
Me: “Do what?”
“You can dispose of it here or go back to the counter and check your bag.”
Forget it, I said. Or something like that. You can just go ahead and trash it right here. So with two thunks went my Edge extra moisturizing shaving cream and Crest extra whitening with Scope into the trash can.
Off to a flying start, and we ain’t even left Savannah Airport yet.
Turns out, the only way we left Savannah Airport wasn’t by plane. Oh no. Our airline of choice — which really wasn’t ready when we were — delayed the flight. And again. And again. The guy sitting in front of us continued to get updates on his phone about the flight status, which was more than I could say was being delivered by the agents at the counter.
“This is gonna get cancelled. I know it is. I’m outta here.” And with that, he threw his bag over his shoulder and trudged out of the airport.
A few minutes later, we were told the plane was airborne, would be here, would get cleaned out and turned around and we’d be headed to Atlanta. Meanwhile, I got on my phone and changed our connecting flight to one of the first two in the morning since we weren’t going to make our connection out of Hartsfield.
The next thing we were told was not that our flight was delayed — it was inbound already — but it was cancelled. The crew had timed out.
So we decided to head toward Atlanta behind the wheel. About halfway there, as we discussed our options — including staying in Atlanta and trying to get a ticket to the Falcons-Saints game — we decided that maybe driving the 700 miles wasn’t such a bad option. We’d control our itinerary and not the airlines. We forged ahead into the dark, cold Georgia night.
We made our destination, after a stop for a few hours of dozing at a motel, with time to spare before kickoff. Next stop, stadium.
Now, I had my camera bag with me but after scotching our original plans I decided to bring along it anyway. Might get some shots of the flyover and of the game from our nosebleeder seats.
I opened the bag up as I approached the ticket gate, so they could have an easier time inspecting it and seeing that it posed no threat to anybody.
They didn’t even bother inspecting it. Instead, they determined right away that my camera bag was too big.
Me: “It’s too what? Are you kidding me?” or words to that effect.
Then I got told my camera was too big. That was a first for me. Dude almost got a Nikon lens wopped upside his noggin with a nice “is that dent in your head too big?” but I thought the better of it. My only option was to lug it all the way back to the truck. Which I did. And missed the flyover.
After a discussion of Grant’s Vicksburg campaign, whether Jimmie Rodgers sang “Battle of New Orleans” or “Sugar Shack” — he sang neither (Johnny Horton sang “Battle of New Orleans.”). I was thinking of the Jimmie Rodgers who sang “Honeycomb.” This Jimmie Rodgers must have been the one known as the “father of modern country music” — we also determined that 24 hours of driving for a game in the cold may not have been worth it. Neither did we stop at the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum.
And one of my great regrets on the trip was not getting a picture of the volunteer fire department in a small town named Start. So on the garage
doors of the department was written Start Fire.
Can’t make that up. Can’t get back three days of time either, but frankly, it was just another grand adventure in the journey of life.