Vail Valley Voices: How was my vacation? |

Vail Valley Voices: How was my vacation?

Greg Ziccardi
Vail, CO, Colorado

You know what it’s like when you get back from vacation and you’re asked at least five times in that first day “How was your vacation?” All I’ve said is “In 600 words or less, I will have a report on your desk in the morning.”

So here it is.

The flight was leaving from Denver at 6:30 a.m. and I chose to stay in Vail and leave at 3 a.m. to catch it. My son was kind enough to take my call at 4:30 and drive my car and drop me off. This was a great idea on my part because nine days in the vast expanses of the Denver International Aiport parking lands meant I just saved at least $100 by keeping the car at his house.

He lives in the Baker neighborhood in Denver, and if you’re not familiar, the streets are skinny and no one parks in their driveway. I did ask him, just to assure myself, “Is this going to be all right? There’s not a whole lot of parking in your neighborhood.”

He replied with no confidence: “I’ll figure it out.”

I checked my lone bag with a rather unpleasant fellow and he assured me my golf clubs would be all right. I reluctantly handed him the $25 hostage fee. So far so good.

It was a bumpy flight all the way. I hate bumps. I arrived in my destination city and my ride was late. I called on my cell phone and calmly asked my cousin, “Where the f are ya?”

“I’m in a meeting. My wife is coming to get you.”

“I don’t like your wife. I like you.”

“Well then walk. I gotta’ go.” (I love this guy, and he knew I was arriving for weeks? A little disappointing, but it works out OK.)

That was all on a Tuesday (door to door 11 hours), and on Wednesday I woke up at my mom’s house feeling a little ache. By Wednesday afternoon I was sick in my chest, face and feet. I caught the germ that can only incubate in an enclosed tubular vehicle at 35,000 feet. I had contracted “airbus virus,” of which there is no cure for six days. When you just start feeling it leave your body, you get back in the tube and catch it again.

The only way to feel better with the virus is pretend you don’t have it. So, since it rained the next seven days and there was no indoor golf course in the area, I sat in one of the many fine restaurant-bars, reacquainted with old friends, drank beer and ate chicken wings to rid myself of the dreaded bug.

I took my mom out to dinner several times and can’t tell you how appreciative I was to have a mother who still loves me so much. Every time she would say, “When are you going to grow up?” or “I don’t understand where you come from,” or “If you don’t start taking care of yourself …,” or “When are you going to get a haircut?” it would warm my heart to know she still cares so much about me.

Where did the eight days go? Before I even realized, it was time for the teary goodbyes. I checked my golf bag that was never even opened, handed the guy the $25 hostage fee, boarded the virus tube and headed west.

All in all, it was a very pleasant flight, except for the very large thunder heads and bad, bad bumps for 2,000 miles, a holding pattern over Colorado Springs for an hour until the weather cleared. The plane got hit by lightning, the 300,000 pound aircraft landed sideways, and after soiling myself, I opened the overhead and a bag fell on my head. (Door to door in 14 hours.)

I was anxious to see my daughter, who kindly agreed to pick me up after midnight at the lonely, rainy, depressing, Denver International Airport.

I was not, however, looking forward to the drive back to Vail, and I said so to her.

“You didn’t talk to Zack?” she asked me. “I’m dropping you off at his house so you can spend the night. I guess your car got towed.”

Greg Ziccardi can be reached at

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