About 2:10 pm EDT, we were checking in at the Atlanta airport – it seemed a bit more crowded than I had ever remembered. And, whoa! nobody was being allowed into the atrium or close to the security check point. Hmm… follow the line to it’s end out beyond baggage claim and onto the sidewalk by ground transportation.

Amazing: people were calm. People were helping each other out. I was glad I wasn’t at JFK or some other airports in frequent infrequently. The atmosphere was a bit like the group-W bench in Alice’s Restaurant – joshing each other, making snide remarks about the situation – “If we have to evacuate – how are they going to get us away from the airport?” People on cell phones, calling friends and relatives and having them check the internet and 11-Alive News, so we could find out just why we were out there after all…

Things weren’t quite as calm as only one of the 3 of us finally got the last flight to Chicago 8 and a half hours later. But, there’s a magnificent woman working for Delta in Atlanta. She tried her best to remain calm, and positive and get as many folks as possible on that last flight (one flight had been cancelled after everyone was boarded and we were all trying for this one)… Again, folks were relatively calm – the conversation in my part of the line was generally along the lines of “We are SO NOT getting on this flight…” followed by discussions of learning to play guitar. And, still our lady at the desk worked on. We even found ourselves calling out words of encouragement to her as the it became more and more obvious that we were STUCK for the night. Turns out, she had just completed her last round of chemo – life is just to precious to be upset and distraught.

The trip from hell was tempered by sleeping at my son’s place for a few hours instead of at the airport. But, trying to make a 6:55 am flight was interrupted once again: long lines at security, only to discover that while Jon had a boarding pass, I didn’t and therefore had to go back out to ticketing and try to get one. Honey Dew said to tell them that she said to let me thru “special” when I came back in. Yes – Honey Dew (Honey Do?) works at Hartsfield… and believe me, after having to get special handling to get a boarding pass because the kiosk wouldn’t cough one up, I took myself right up to the first class security line and used Honey Dew to get me through. If I didn’t make that flight, I was going home.

I did – I was the last one through the doors – 6:45 or 6:50 for a 6:55 flight. My angel had returned and held the doors for me, I guess. And, maybe to keep me from punching something when it was later revealed to have been a software glitch that caused the entire affair.

So – thanks to the Delta agent who tried so hard to make it all work, and thanks to Honey Dew for letting me drop her name, and thanks to the man at the Delta special help counter who got me a boarding ticket – and just a sigh of relief for being in the midst of folks who took it all in stride.

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