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It's true. If you're on the road enough--and I am--you accumulate some unpleasant travel memories. Whenever I'm waiting in an airport, someone usually ends up telling me about their travel horror stories: "I remember the time I got caught in the Detroit airport for four days, snowed in, I thought I'd never get home. Had to sleep on the floor..."
But I'd have to say that in between the disagreeable, "Oh-don't-let-my-flight-be-canceled-again" times, I've been blessed, because when I needed it the most, strangers treated me like family.
When I was getting the book clubs started, I used to be in New York City calling on publishers every single month, for at least a week. In fact, one November I spent three weeks straight in Manhattan. It was an election year, and I didn't even make it back to Florida in time to vote. (At least I couldn't be blamed for the "chads".)
My room at the Marriott became my little home/office away from home. I even had a printer and computer set up in my room, so I could quickly create handout materials. And after the first week, I guess I was "family". The hotel staff started bringing cookies and milk to me every night, and they'd wish me luck on my way out in the morning. And when I'd walk through the revolving door at the end of the day, I was always greeted with a genuine, "Hello, Mrs. Beecher. How were your appointments today? Were they good ones?" They got hooked on my daily "story" and wanted to hear all the details of each and every one. I was the little fish in the big pond, and they were rooting for me to succeed.
And then there was the time that I had an appointment on December 23rd at a publisher in the Midwest. When I went to the airport to head back home, I discovered that Cincinnati--where I was supposed to make my connecting flight--was shut down because of the weather. And it didn't look hopeful that I would be able to make it out on the 24th either. So I called the hotel shuttle driver and asked him to turn around and pick me up.
I was really worried that I might not make it home for Christmas, and the hotel desk clerk must have sensed my misery. "I'm so sorry that your flight was canceled, Mrs. Beecher, but I do have a little good news for you. I can offer you a 'traveler's distress' rate. It's 50 percent less than our regular rate. And, there's a spa across the street. How about a massage? Would you like us to call and book an appointment for you? We'll keep you posted on the airline status."
It was a small airport and even though I hadn't heard any encouraging news from the airline, I decided to try it again the next morning. The luggage security man recognized me from the day before. "Giving it another go, Suzanne? I don't know if you'll be able to get out today, but if you can't, my wife is a great cook and we'd love to have you as our guest for Christmas Dinner. And don't worry, I'm sure Santa will leave something for you under our tree."
It's true, if you're on the road long enough...you meet some unforgettable friends and (family).
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
P.S. Free cookbooks, and a great Meatball Soup recipe are waiting for you at: http://www.emailbookclub.com/photo/meatball.html