I almost did!
Let me tell you my adventures on my way home from Sweden. My very kind and helpful brother-in-law, Ola, drove me to the airport in Gothenburg. He wanted to pack the car the night before with my suitcases, so I left the toothbrush for my “carry-on.” I had thought of putting all the toiletries in the bags for check-in. My hope was to fly straight home!
My flight-plan: Gothenburg–London–Chicago–Springfield.
On the flight to London I had a window seat. Here are some of my pictures of the sunny sky. The wing was in the way, but it gave them some “drama”:
All well to this point. After several hours of waiting for the flight to Chicago, we were finally on our way. So we thought! But there was a strange delay. There was some baggage that could not be matched with a traveler, so they had to go through all the bags and find them to get them off the plane. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but on arrival to Chicago I realized there was little time to get through customs and make it to my flight to Springfield.
While i was thinking of spending the night at the airport, sleeping in one of the chairs, British Airways personnel was busy arranging for me to stay at a Hilton hotel. As we deplaned there was a wall full of envelopes with destinations and names. Low and behold! Springfield and Kerstin Anderas-Lundquist was one of them!
What was in my envelope? A new reservation for Springfield, the next morning. A ticket for a night’s stay at a Double Tree hotel and a note that I could spend $50 on food. The crux was to get to the hotel. There were instructions on where to go, to sit at the curb and wait for the shuttle.
It was a cold evening. I was cold from the plane… freezing cold! The temperature outside had been -50 degrees Celsius. No wonder it was cold inside! Had it not been for a kind Indian lady in the waiting area in London I would not have had my Olympic Team jacket (got it for a donation of $20). I had dropped it under one of the seats and didn’t realize it in the hurry of getting to the gate for my flight. That thin jacket wasn’t of much help but better than nothing!
Finally I called the hotel and was told we were in the wrong area to be picked up, and that there would be a wait of close to half an hour. Burr!!! The young man who was driving the wheel chair got himself one also, so he could sit with me at the curb. He had been on his feet all day so it was a break for him. Picture us there at the curb! A silver-haired 70-young lady and a handsome black young man. What a pair!
When you get to spend the night at a luxury hotel, you wish you had more time. Even the carpets are gorgeous!
I’m not used to eating dinner at 10.00 PM, but the $50 dollars “burned” in my pocket. It’s funny how easy it is to spend someone else’s money! Had it been on me, I would have gone straight to bed. But I had $50 to spend at the Hilton, so I went to spend it.
A lonely black lady I had seen by the curb with a stack of suitcases sat by one of the tables. I took a seat at the next table, across from her. We chatted and shared our travel adventures. She was an accountant from Nigeria who was moving back to the United States, having lived here before. Both of us had the same feeling of “having” to spend the fifty dollars. One fifths of mine went for a tip to the server! The Nigerian lady must have added some of her own money because she ordered an appetizer, a drink and some dessert plus the entrée.
The best thing is to ALWAYS carry your own toothbrush!
The stay at the hotel was not long. At 4.00 AM I had the wake-up call. At 5.00 the shuttle-bus was to come around. Here is where I waited for it.
The receptionist told me it would be announced. I was waiting to hear over a loud-speaker: “Shuttle-bus for the airport here!” Nothing of the sort. I heard some funny sound, not intelligible at all, that supposedly was the word AIRPORT! Thankfully the cleaning guy alerted me. “Aren’t you going to the airport?” Sure! He said the announcement had been made several times. No loud-speaker announcement, for sure. By God’s grace, I made it!
Not to tire you, let me just say that there were several incidents along the way that showed me God’s loving care. Eleven hours later than planned I was back in Springfield. The sun was shining and I had a smile in my heart. Then I had to put a smile on my face!
My friend who always picks me up was there. But for the last time. When we arrived home he handed me the house keys and said he had been happy to help me, but that he can’t do it anymore. That was kind of a shock!
Being a widow is not fun. Being a widow with a slight handicap is not fun. Being a widow and hearing that someone who you could ask for help will not help you anymore is not fun at all.
One thing is for sure! My Heavenly Father is still the same. I will continue to trust Him. He will never leave me. He will never forsake me.
You can trust Him too! Whatever your need is, the promise in 1 Peter 5:7 stands true.
Casting all your anxieties on him,
because he cares for you.