It had been a while since I took a trip anywhere.
I had not been on a plane in a long time.
Back in my FDIC days, I traveled West Coast to East Coast and back.
I traveled to points in the Midwest and the South, back in those days.
I was a business jet setter who could walk unassisted.
When my daughters were still in Jr./Sr. High School, they were members of the National Association of Negro Musicians.
Every summer we would travel to some hot, humid muggy hair fall in your face when you walked out of the airport place for their annual conference.
All those traveling days were long behind me.
Then my high school reunion rolled around on its two year cycle.
This year I decided to attend.
I had not traveled in a long time.
This year, my traveling companion, rather than briefcase and luggage, would be my crutch and luggage.
I was not feeling it.
My friend calmly explained to me, the embarrassed self-conscious skeptic, the rules of accommodations available for seniors and the disabled.
“When my mother comes to visit, we make sure all the accommodations are in place for her smooth travel.”
So, into which category do I fit?
We arrived at the airport about 5:30 a.m.
The line for curbside check-in looks like people lined up for some rock hip hop pop concert!
Where are all these people going and why are they traveling so early in the morning?
There is s line inside, too.
I think of my flight time and mentally calculate how long it will take me to get through the line on my crutch.
When I voice my concern, my friend grimly says, “Accommodations, Donna.”
Well, he said a little more than that but I have abbreviated his discourse for brevity’s sake and I don’t know how to really describe a slightly irritated tone of voice.
Have I mentioned how he had to keep checking in with me to make sure everything was in place?
Yeah, I was resisting a little
Before I can say, “But..,” he has me in a wheel chair, rolled up to the curb check-in counter where my bags are taken and tagged and I am wheeled in to wait for my escort to my Gate.
Soon and very soon, I am surrounded by other wheeled travelers who give me the side-eye.
I like to think it was because I look so very young and vibrant.
It was probably more about who’s on first!
My escort arrives and I am whisked through security.
I am whisked to my gate.
I am whisked down the ramp to the plane.
When I arrive in Dallas, I am greeted at the door with a wheelchair and escort.
I am whisked to Baggage Claim and my bags are retrieved for me.
I worry about the slight young lady who has to drag that too heavy bag over to me (I swear I did not overpack, no heels or any such thing, at all).
I tip her well.
Hey, I think I like this “Accommodations” thing.
I realize that there are those individuals for whom this is a way of life, depending on the “Accommodations.”
I salute you and urge you to take advantage of each and every one because they sure make traveling much easier for you … and during this season, for me.
Oh, did I mention the elderly woman who was in the wheel chair line with me in Oakland, who, when we arrived in Dallas and had to sit in the wheel chairs to wait to be rolled to baggage claim, apparently thought the wait was too long, grabbed her bag and walked off into the bustling crowd?