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Carnes: ‘Lessons learned’ are for amateurs

“Never again … never … ever … again.”

My bride and I looked at one another and said those exact words in perfect sync, and if anyone had been in the general vicinity, they’d bet money we planned it.

But we did not, as 25 years of marriage produces vocal and mental synchronization at levels never appreciated by those of the single variety.



It was a few days after Christmas, and we had just returned from a Webster-approved book of phrases referred to as the “Trip from hell.”

Leaving Happy Valley in a blizzard on Dec. 20, it had taken us seven (seven!) hours to make it to our hotel on Tower Road next to DIA. Upon arrival, we discovered the airport was closed, and our flight the next morning would probably be canceled.

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Not only was it canceled, but DIA stayed closed for the next 48 hours, and after our second night on Tower Road, American Airlines had us drive all the way back home to catch a flight out of Eagle, and we arrived three days late to “enjoy” Christmas on a beach with the rest of the family.

The media-described “life-threatening, once-in-a-generation event” was in 2006, and upon return we had uttered the opening phrase to one another, vowing to never again entertain the insane idea of leaving Happy Valley at Christmastime.

We had done it once in 22 years and learned our lesson, dammit.



My, oh my, how time can mess with thorn-covered memories.

Fast forward 16 years to last Thursday, Dec. 22, and we left home at noon for a 7 p.m. flight.

Not a cloud in the sky, temp in the low 20’s, and I-70 snowpacked, no biggie.

Six and a half friggin’ hours later (6 point eff’n 5!) we arrive at ParkDIA to leave the truck in a covered lot connected to an EV charger, knowing full well our flight was boarding in 10 minutes and it would take an Elon Musk Twitter rant to hold the plane, and we all know how much power his bizarre ramblings truly hold.

We were Scrooged, to put it Christmas mildly, or screwed, to put it bluntly.

It was yet another “life-threatening, once-in-a-generation event,” both within the same “generation.”

What media meathead has the perverted privilege of proclaiming such disastrous weather events? 

But every once in a great while the stars come into perfect alignment, like both sides of Congress agreeing on a vote or Florida hotel owners being indicted, and for the first time in our lives we were ecstatic to hear the two glorious words: “flight delay.”
The plane was on time, but the flight crew was late, so after running half-cocked through baggage check, shuffling impatiently through TSA pre-check like two 6-year-olds needing to pee, and begging for train doors to open quicker, we made it to our seats with a whopping five minutes to spare.

The entire family was together for Christmas up in McCall, Idaho, where it snowed each day and we never once regretted making the trip.

But this time, I’m telling you, we promise to never again … never … ever … again, leave Happy Valley for Christmas.

Yipper, we’ve learned our lesson, by golly.

Until the next time, of course.

Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.


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