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Grounded


Jeannie and her two young children had gone home to Minnesota to spend Christmas with her parents.  Traveling alone thru airports with a four-year-old and a one-year-old during the busy holiday season had been anything but fun for the single mother. She was tired, and so ready to be back home in the warm weather of Arizona.

Their flight from Minneapolis had departed on time but, as they arrived in Denver where they were to make their connection, it began to snow heavily and howling winds created blizzard conditions.  It wasn't long before announcements were being made that all flights had been temporarily grounded due to zero visibility and problems with keeping the planes de-iced. 

Waiting areas throughout the airport were jammed with holiday travelers, some even napping on the carpeted floors of the terminal amidst backpacks and suitcases. Jeannie walked the concourse with the kids, hoping to wear off some of their energy, bought snacks and sandwiches, and then settled them on the floor next to her.  Carrie, the four year old, was soon occupied with a colorbook and crayons, but baby Bryce was not doing well with the noise and commotion in the unfamiliar environment. He squirmed and fussed in his mother's arms as she tried to settle him for a much-needed nap.

A man sitting a short distance away on Jeannie's left, looked over at the young mom who obviously had her hands full, and felt compassion.  Smiling, he greeted her and introduced himself as Kevin.  She learned he had also been visiting family in Minnesota and was returning to his job in Phoenix. 

"I sure wish I could talk my parents into moving to Arizona, at least for the winters" Kevin said.  "They are getting older and I worry about them walking and driving on the snow and ice. I go home to see them for Christmas each year, but the weather makes travel so risky.  I have to be back at my job on Monday morning, there's an important end-of-year meeting I can't miss." 

Jeannie commiserated with Kevin about the worries of aging parents, hers also stubbornly refused to move where it was warmer, saying that Minnesota was their home and would always be.  Baby Bryce had been eyeing Kevin curiously.  Kevin pulled the scarf from around his neck, fashioned it into an approximation of an animal hand puppet and soon had Bryce laughing with delight.  Bryce edged closer with his mother's permission, and was soon curled up on Kevin's lap, sleeping soundly with the puppet clutched in his chubby hands.

Jeannie sighed with relief and thanked Kevin profusely for the assistance.  He learned that she also had to be back at work tomorrow. and that her boss hadn't been very happy about her taking off at Christmas to begin with.  She was worried that he was going to be angry if she didn't make it.  She had texted him on her cellphone to tell him they were stuck in Denver, but so far there had been no response.

Two more hours passed before the snow let up, plows began clearing runways, and crews started de-icing the airplanes as their big engines roared to life.  Kevin and Jeannie had visited during the entire wait, and she found herself feeling light and happy for the first time since her husband had walked out on her shortly before Bryce was born. 

The speakers announced that their fight would begin boarding shortly, so Jeannie helped Carrie pack up her books and toys, and they got to their feet.  Kevin gently handed the sleeping Bryce back to her and followed them onto the plane.  Jeannie offered him the empty seat next to her, and he smiled broadly as he stuffed his bag and theirs into the overhead compartments. 

It was beginning to look like going home for Christmas this year wasn't such a bad idea after all.  A new year was just around the corner, and maybe, just maybe, Jeannie's Christmas wish for someone to share it with might come true.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Megg at  Sunday Scribblings
where the prompt this week is "grounded".

13 comments:

  1. Josie, your stories are AWESOME!!! This was like a chapter straight out of a Christmas love story! In just your paragraphs, I was transformed to the airport, watching Kevin & Jeannie warm to each other. Would love to read 'part II'. Lol. Blessings to you.

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    1. Wow, thanks Tracey! I believe that happy endings are possible. :-)

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  2. What I loved about this story was the similarity to my tale where new love is formed from a separation. I could picture the stress and chaos at the airport so well. A great read.

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  3. I love love stories, and yours was great.

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  4. Great story Josie I think Hallmark channel is calling they want you to write a movie for them *,*

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  5. This is such a sweet, heartfelt holiday story. I can see this actually happening. Very nice. Thank you.

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  6. You my friend are such a romantic you make my heart blush with delight!

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  7. such a beautiful Christmas/love story...I will say in 1981 I was stranded at the old Denver Airport for three days due to storm so I could identify with the character.
    A very good story to in that it pulled this reader in and I didn't want it to end so....part 2 maybe???

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  8. Such a great love story! I hope by the time the plane landed they had exchanged numbers, emails or became friends on FB?!

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  9. Sometimes delays and mishaps take us down routes we never thought of..I hope Kevin can be trusted..but maybe I'm too cautious - it is the season for new things and good things! Love the photo too..is it one of yours? Jae

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  10. Now there's the Christmas spirit - lovely :D

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)