Weren’t sure we would make it on our first try, the forces seemed opposed. Charlotte’s weather turned horrible Sunday night, covering everything in four inches of snow. Monday we added another couple of inches plus half an inch of frozen rain.
Our Charlotte plans for Monday were modest. We would have attended my stepfather’s graveside service at 1300 hours followed by his memorial service at Providence Methodist at 1400 hours. The family would gather, reminisce, and eat later at The Cypress where mom and Dow have lived.
Monday morning we postponed the services. The major roads were mostly good by late morning but the smaller streets were covered with snow. Nearly no Charlotte drivers maintain studded tires or chains, the tires would rot before twice serving. We knew we couldn’t have folks driving about for these services.
Family, not counting Debbie and Jim, were in from Portland, Seattle and Boone, and some had early return flights. Some postponed their return, but we needed a memorial service while family and a few friends were still in Charlotte. Monday afternoon we gathered at The Cypress for an informal memorial service and a meal.
The service was sweet and not long. Dow’s children, Nancy and Harry, recounted their dad’s life, telling stories about background and work and achievements. Thao, Dow’s granddaughter, expressed her appreciation for mom’s and Dow’s loving marriage. Chuck, Jim’s brother, told about his special relationship over the past five years with Dow. He and Dow were buddies, hanging out frequently and cutting Chuck’s lawn on a John Deere lawn tractor.
Later Monday we watched the NCAA national championship game. Tough break for the Ducks, lucky break for Auburn’s Tigers. The game could have gone either way, Auburn seemed slightly ahead throughout on the statistics, but almost let the game go to overtime before they kicked their winning field goal.
The snow and ice devastated Charlotte’s airport processes. Tuesday we watched the airport news very very closely — hundreds of flights canceled out of Charlotte, what about ours? Our evening flight to Phoenix showed “on time” all day. But when we arrived at the airport we found cots and sleeping mats throughout the concourse. Gate waiting areas seating looked like a hurricane had struck, with each person staking two seats so they could sleep overnight.
One look at the departures board showed us the story. Very few flights were leaving Charlotte this evening. A ground crew member told us our 6 p.m. flight would be the last flight to leave Charlotte this day. Monday the airport, we heard, ran out of de-icer and innumerable flights stayed on the ground.
Same today? Apparently so, or the destination airports aren’t available because of foul weather. Our flight carried over a dozen stranded airlines crew members, all probably very grateful to fly anywhere out of Charlotte. Our flight left the gate ten minutes late, full of passengers and hope we could leave the airport.
Ten minutes later we stop somewhere on the airport and the pilot shuts down the engines for plane de-icing. This took a half-hour then we were on our way, we were going to fly! A lot of folks on the plane were very relieved at this point, and perhaps none more than the stranded crew members.
We arrived back to our little silver home, turned on the lights and water, and found almost everything in fine order. Indoor temperature was 57F, fridge was cold, Alice Aloe looks good if a little thirsty. Two casualties — the truck’s battery is dead, totally dead. And the little refrigerator temperature monitor seems to have worn out it’s battery.
The truck’s battery is now connected to the trailer’s two batteries, to restore a bit of charge so we can start it and replace the battery. We’ll go to the grocery store to restock our refrigerator and freezer. And we’ll take extra time relishing in the durability of our little home.
Not bad for almost a month’s absence. We expected worse and are happy to have found everything in good order. We are happy to have been able to spend so much time with our families, especially fortuitous during this family crisis.
We are happy to be home, sitting by the sunny windows sipping green tea and reading the morning paper. It’s great to be home.
Jim and Debbie