For a brief period of time of about five years, my family meaning my husband and children traveled to Montana on Christmas vacation. We left on December 26th for four of those five years.
One fateful year we decided to leave on Christmas morning. I had the day perfectly planned. We had the first flight out of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. I arranged for a three-hour layover time in Salt Lake City, Utah. Our connecting flight would get us to Montana in plenty of time for a lovely Christmas dinner with dear friends. Dinner reservations had been made at Bucks T-4 Ranch in Big Sky, Montana at a table in front of their roaring fireplace. It was a perfect plan.
We arrived at O’Hare Airport early that Christmas morning and waited eagerly for our flight to depart on time. It was the first flight of the day! What could possibly detain it? As things go, the pilot was late, very late. We suspect he was enjoying Christmas morning with his family leaving a planeload of people sitting in the airport for hours and hours. His tardiness resulted in our very late arrival in Salt Lake City.
To rub "salt" in our wounds, so to speak, we missed our connecting flight. Salt Lake City Airport was in chaos. You know you are in trouble when the “Red Coats” appear. I can best describe these gentlemen as crisis managers! Yes, they had a flight for us in first class the next day. We spent Christmas Day in the Salt Lake City airport with children crying and exclaiming that this was their worst Christmas ever!
That cozy dinner with friends in front of roaring fire never occurred. Christmas dinner that year consisted of a soup in a bread bowl and Cinnabons. Those sweet, cinnamon buns didn’t ease my children’s pain.
We pleaded our case and eventually boarded a flight to Montana at about 11:30 that evening. Our weary family eventually arrived at our final destination in the wee hours of December 26th.
It is a Christmas we will always remember.