Six months ago I decided it might be nice to miss a little of Missouri’s January weather and booked a getaway for my wife and I in Fort Lauderdale. Though we prefer road trips, I booked a couple of tickets departing from St. Louis on Southwest Airlines at 8:45 am on January 11, 2019.
Little did I know when I booked the tickets that we would have unexpected company from far away arriving at our house that same day.
Winter storm Gia began her journey in the Pacific, spreading extreme winter weather across the midsection of the U.S. Check-in time for her arrival in St. Louis was noon, January 11, 2019.
We actually prefer road trips to flying, but this time I’m glad we made an exception. First, it is hard to outrun a winter storm in a car. We’ve tried before and came up short. Second, my wife has more metal in her from her hips down than most cars leaving the assembly line these days. Successfully getting through the metal detector usually involves her being the recipient of some serious groping. We secured “KNOWN TRAVELER NUMBERS” through the TSA a few years ago which have helped. We are now able to retain most of our clothing & footwear when passing through the metal detector. AND, the post-metal detector groping of my wife after she invariably sets the metal detector beeping has decreased from the “Honeymoon – First Night” level to the “In a Relationship” level.
We made it to the gate area 90 minutes in advance. My wife was still in a good mood, which is no gimme after she goes through security. One time in Kansas City they claimed they found gun powder on her shoes. Later I discovered they test for nitrates, found in gun powder, but ALSO found in plant fertilizer. My wife is no stranger to plant fertilizer. That time ended up in a little room with 3 TSA agents who subjected her to their “pretty sure you are a terrorist” treatment. Her mood had declined precipitously by the time she rejoined me at the departure gate
I was thrilled to see our plane already at the gate when we arrived. As we took our seats, I noticed a beautiful red sky in the east. “RED SKY AT MORNING, SAILOR TAKE WARNING!” Bad weather was imminent. Our phones began to beep frequently with weather warnings & school closings as Gia approached St. Louis.
As my wife made a final bathroom visit before boarding the plane, a young woman wearing a “BUDWEISER KING OF BEERS” sweatshirt and carrying a cute toddler with a giant red bow in her hair sat down next to our seats. I wondered if perhaps traveling with a toddler had helped solidify her fondness of Budweiser.
We boarded right on time. By 9 am we were airborne.
Winter Storm Gia could kiss our contrails.