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Valley News – Column: Holiday season travel isn’t what it used to be

The holiday season, which is important to millions of people around the world, is upon us once again. But all the silly debates about what to call them aside, we can probably agree that they are times of rejoicing for a variety of reasons. We must agree that the term comes from Old English and German and means “Holy Day”. This is the day, at least once upon a time, when we quit our jobs (unless we were employed in essential services) and celebrated God. Or the urge made it sacred to us.

Like Thanksgiving, the Christmas season is one of the seasons when travel increases significantly. But the journey is no longer marked by the sound of sleigh bells passing by home. to reach the security check and finally at the appropriate gate to wait for the announcement of your flight.

Our standard holiday greeting assumes a burden of cynicism in the face of these realities. People seem to take these challenges in stride. It looks like you haven’t received it. We older people face it with anxieties that increase with age.

Of course, winter brings new challenges: sleet, snow, freezing rain, and blizzards. Years ago, he remembers traveling from New Hampshire to Worcester, Ohio one day in January. We were driving my wife’s van in Plymouth, west of Rochester, NY, and had a hunch that a difficult situation lay ahead. Sure enough, by the time I got to Hamburg, just west of Buffalo, I had lost sight of the center, let alone the edge of the interstate. It’s time to bail out. After exiting Hamburg, I slowed down and stopped right in front of me, Red Roof’s Inn. No action was required to pull up to the room. This was very lucky.We carried what we needed and went to bed thankfully

In the morning, after the storm had passed, I took the plunge and started the van and swept it out. was gone. All I parked was a huge, featureless pile of snow. But a few hours later, just ahead of Erie, we were on a clear track and wouldn’t venture out there again without checking the weather forecast.

This year I suggested a trip to western Arkansas to visit my son’s family for Christmas. no problem. My lovely travel buddy (“girlfriend” seems very awkward at our age) and I headed south and made just one flight change in Charlotte. The chances of weather-related problems are minimized.

In the past, I have flown separately from Charlotte, I from Burlington, and she from Boston. Not this time. What if it snows in Burlington, she asked. bad idea. First of all, my faithful, her RAV hybrid, whipping her Hagar to her home in Nahant, Massachusetts on her I-89 and her I-93, leaving him at the mercy of seagulls and salt spray. leave it there. bump or cancel) in good company.

As the years went by, I developed a firm conviction that Thor hated me. Check my schedule and make naughty plans. If not, at least it looks like it, what’s the difference?

Air transportation has come a long way since the days of the DC-3 and the Constellation. Modern airports are almost magical to me. Considering how many systems, from baggage to food service, traffic control, and even escalators and backup generators, need to work together smoothly, it’s amazing how well it all works. is. But traffic volume increased hundreds of times. So there is a lot of stress and pressure and sometimes things go wrong.

I’m almost ready, but I’m not packing. Leave him alone for the last hour before departure. It’s not rocket science. And this morning from American Airlines: Winter weather may affect parts of the Northeast or ORD and may affect future travel with American Airlines. There is no change. However, in order to better serve our customers, American offers additional flexibility and may allow you to adjust your travel plans without a fee. Uh oh. What do they know that we don’t?

Apparently Thor will let me and Hagar go to Massachusetts before they attack. The next morning, we said he has to leave the house by 6:30. According to the forecast, he will hit Logan Airport with strong winds and heavy rain. But is there an alternative to being at the airport and ready for whatever happens? I turn to my much wiser friend.

Repeat the last stanza or two of Tennyson in your head. Ulysses: “May the bay wash us away. May we touch the Happy Isles…” We may have to hail another taxi and retreat north with our tail between our legs. . Everything is in the air. The question is whether that still applies on the day of our flight.

Springdale, Arkansas doesn’t look much like the Happy Isles I imagine. But it has become a home for more and more families, including a son, a daughter-in-law, two granddaughters and their husbands, and the husband’s relatives.

By the time you read this, we’ll be spending Christmas with the family or lounging in the vaulted ceilings of Logan Airport. One is Happy Isles. the other is not.