We’ll pick you up at 6:40 in the morning, my dad said Friday night before we were leaving for England. I hung up and looked at our itinerary. It probably wasn’t as much time as I would have given myself, but catching our flight shouldn’t be a problem.
At 6:45 Saturday morning, my sister called. “We’re just leaving Alpine. Be outside and ready when we get there or we’re going to miss our flight! Alpine was 20 minutes away. When you speed.
At 7:10, my parents big white van pulled up. I looked at the clock on my phone. We’d definitely be pushing it now.
“We’ve gotta swing by and pick up Lydia,” my dad said.
I was tempted to look at my phone again. Lydia wasn’t far off the beaten path, but she definitely wasn’t on the way. I tossed my bags in and asked them how their fishing trip had gone the day before. I purposefully never did find out why they were so late.
When we got to Lydia’s apartment, she wasn’t answering her phone. My sister and mom paced anxiously outside of her apartment with no way to get in and up to the fifth story where Lydia lives. After about eight minutes and eighteen calls, Lydia finally picked up. Maybe she had fallen asleep, I don’t know. I purposefully never bothered to find out.
The next ten minutes were spent debating parking options while we drove. We had exactly one hour before our plane took off and we were still a good 15 minutes from the airport. My dad took my suggestion of using a 3rd party parking service that offered valet and direct drop-off at the terminal.
We pulled in to what might as well have been a ghost town and yanked all of our luggage from the van as fast as we could. A scrawny kid walked out with a slip of paper and handed it to my dad then disappeared again. A minute passed. No shuttle showed up. Two minutes passed. People were panicking, particularly my older sister. “We’ll be okay,” I said every time she alerted everyone in our group that we would definitely miss our flight. I even teased her at one point. “You’re a flying rookie. We’ll make it.” I was only trying to bring humor to the situation. She didn’t appreciate it very much.
Five minutes passed. No shuttle. Seven minutes. No shuttle. At about the eight minute point, a shuttle finally pulled up and the driver began hauling all of our luggage on board. Once on our way, we looked at our watches. It didn’t look good; nobody could deny that. My sister just kept saying, we’re going to miss our flight, we’re going to miss our flight. I kept telling her we’d be fine. No worries.
Every time I said it I could tell my lack of worry was wearing thin on her. She wanted me to feel the panic and urge that she did.
The shuttle dropped us off and we ran inside. 35 minutes until our plane was scheduled to leave. The lady at the service desk proceeded to check the weight of all of our bags. Then she printed out all the boarding passes for all three legs of our flight. The machine was dreadfully slow. But, we finally got them and headed toward security.
With 25 minutes left, the security line was dreadfully long. At least five complete switchbacks of passengers, all moseying through the slower than usual Saturday checkpoints. I glanced at the clock a time or two. I didn’t really think we would make it, but I still had hope. My sister kept glancing at the clock and panicking. I kept telling her, “we’ll be fine. We’ll get on.”
There was only ten minutes left when we got to the front of the security line. “Final boarding to Denver…” or something like that. We all heard it on the airport loud speaker. “We’ll be all right,” I kept saying. “There’s no way,” my sister kept telling me.