I’m not sure just what forces are at work here. The word karma comes into mind. “Paybacks are hell” is a phrase you hear occasionally.

The idea of “paying for sins of the past” occurred to me, but if you Google “sins of the past,” you just get references to a song or a TV show or something like that.

Maybe I wasn’t thinking very clearly because I was sitting in Lubbock, Texas.

Yes, Lubbock, a town that — unless hometown hero Buddy Holly came back to life and was giving a concert there — I never have had any plans to visit.

But to be fair, I didn’t really see the town. Just the airport.

A little background here.

My wife and I aren’t exactly world travelers.

Trips somewhere by airplane weren’t frequent for many years of our marriage.

But when we did fly, things for the most part went smoothly.

I would make fun of people who would claim air travel was a troubled, plagued evil that had to be tolerated as they regaled us with stories of travel nightmares. Sure, we’ve arrived at different times and airports as our luggage a time or two, but nothing big.

The last few years have seen trips by plane come a little more frequently.

And to all of you who have tried to convince me it’s not easy — now I hear you.

Thus, the visit to Lubbock.

We were flying last week to visit our son and daughter-in-law in Columbia, South Carolina.

We boarded our plane in Omaha on time, only to be told seconds before they were to close the door of the plane and leave, that Dallas was closed.

That’s right, thanks to storms one of the busiest airports in the world, where a connecting flight awaited us, was closed.

So much for tough Texans.

We were told to leave the plane, but don’t go far, we might leave at any time.

We did re-board and leave a little over an hour late.

“No problem” I thought, we had a two-and-a-half-hour layover originally. “We’ll be fine.”

The flight toward Texas was smooth, until we were told since every plane in the Western world was now trying to land in Dallas, we were circling somewhere over Oklahoma.

That is until we didn’t have enough fuel to continue hoping a gate in Dallas would open us.

So … we’re going to Lubbock for gas.

After a NASCAR-like pit stop in Lubbock with 10 other diverted planes, it’s back to Dallas, where we finally arrived — 45 minutes after our connecting flight left without us.

That sent us to the longest line in Dallas, the “re-booking” service. Meanwhile, I’m checking on my phone for Dallas to Columbia flights, and it’s looking like we may end up with a connecting stop in New York City.

Before you look at a map, New York City is not in between Dallas and South Carolina.

Fortunately, the re-booking people were a little smarter than me.

They got us on a 6:30 direct flight.

Two hours later, around 2 p.m., we received a text saying the flight is now at 8:30 and we’re beginning to think: 1) We’re never going to see our son, and 2) There’s not enough booze in this airport to make this better.

They came half-way to their senses, though, and finally got us out of there at 7:30, arriving in Columbia at 11:30 — nine hours after our original planned arrival. So much for a half-day planned with “the kids.”

This was the final chapter of a strange year of flying experiences.

Last fall, on the way home from a “bucket list” overseas trip, we had two connecting flights in Chicago get canceled on us AFTER we were on the planes.

We ended up spending the night in O’Hare airport sleeping on chairs not comfortable to sit on, let alone sleep on.

A trip home from Houston in March was delayed because Omaha was extremely foggy and their “fog landing lights” weren’t working.

Enough karma already. I’m sorry I made fun of the travel woes of other people.

I’m just glad our flights home from Columbia went well.

We hope to visit the kids again next year, and I’m not quite ready to take the Greyhound bus.


Recommended for you