Flying There

Many alarms were set to ensure we’d make it to our flight on time. Fortunately, the inevitable cacophony never occurred. Instead we awoke… to cackling. Mother Jones had already awoken of her own accord and found herself laughing in the dark room full of sleeping people. She proceeded to tell a story.

She was tasked with dog sitting and faithfully fulling her duties. She was greeted by MANY dogs upon her arrival. Her instructions were specific – she was to retrieve a particular dog and walk it. However, she did not have a leash. Conveniently, her fully grown, adult brother happened to be there. Wearing a collar and leash. He kindly loaned it to Cheri when she asked for it, though she wouldn’t take it until he agreed to “stay“.

That’s when I learned it was a dream.

Did I mention Walter Jones doesn’t like mornings?

Assured of the sanity of the group that I was about to leave the country with, the next few hours passed uneventfully. We boarded the plane and found our seats towards the back of the plane. As soon as we sat down, Walter explained his selection of seats. Convenient access to the bathroom was paramount. Shortly thereafter, the snap of the lavatory door announced the arrival of the smell of poop, poorly masked by fragrant spray.

“Turn the air up.” -Cheri

Once we were in the air, there was no doubt in my mind that Laurel was in complete denial about her fear of flying. After I regained feeling in my hand, she admitted that there were parts that she wasn’t fond of. In particular, all of the parts that involved taking off and landing. And going through clouds.

“Hate. Clouds.” -Laurel

We learned of a new rule for international flights. Passengers are not allowed to line up to use the lavatory. This constitutes “congregation,” which is expressly forbidden and punishable by air marshal.

After this rule was announced, Laurel turned to me and said, “Isn’t it interesting that they don’t want you talking to each other about going to the bathroom?” Confused, I ask her to clarify. She responds, “You know. No…” she squints her eyes and rubs her hands together, “…congregating.”

“You mean conspiring?”

We land, get a ride to the hotel, and get in line to check in. It seemed like most of the people on our flight were heading for the same hotel we were. To ease the wait, the hotel had provided complimentary drinks to those standing in line. The drinks were all Bahama Mamas, and they were distributed by a guy who seemed incapable of saying anything but “Bahama Mama.”

“Can I have one?” “Bahama Mama.”

“Thank you.” “Bahama Mama.”

When nobody was standing near him, he would raise his voice and announce the wisdom of his choice beverage to the entire lobby.


We eventually learned that he does, in fact, speak fluent English.


Before the Flight

Parking at the airport can be expensive. Driving to an early flight can be a pain. But the Jones’ have a solution to both of those problems; they get a hotel near the airport the day before the flight. For a long trip, the cost difference between staying at the hotel and paying for parking is usually marginal. Hotels are aware of this and offer long term parking to those who stay and fly.

So our adventure begins the day before our flight. After millions of passport checks by the mother hen, we finally made it to the first hotel. It was two and a half hours later than originally planned due to some last minute packing by said mother hen, but nobody was bent out of shape. We checked in without a hitch – Walter (also referred to as Papa J, Waltie, Waltito, Walterino, Walterio, and Walt, though he very much prefers Walter) dropped off the mother hen so she could check in. Everyone was hungry, so she was going to run in, then we could find a place to eat.

While she was in the the hotel, the occupants of the car started searching for a place nearby. Several places were ruled out and we eventually settled on a sports bar called Champions. The Jones’ had been there before and they had a good experience when they did. Directions were found and communicated to the driver (Walter) when mother hen returned. She had a plan – we’re going to Ruby Tuesday.

Once at Ruby Tuesday, drinks were selected. I got a “Fizzy Cider,” a non-alcoholic apple-flavored drink. When I ordered, I made sure that there would be free refills because I knew that it would be sampled repeatedly by an unknown person. (Laurel) By the end of the meal, we were all sitting around talking. Laurel was kind enough to ask if I needed another refill of my drink. I told her I was fine. Walter explained what was really going on.

After Ruby Tuesday, it was time to go back to the hotel, park the car and get ready for bed. This was an exciting part of the day.

Most people don’t understand the subtleties of selecting the best parking spot, especially when the selection is practically permanent. Among the four of us, only Cheri is gifted in the field of spot selection. Unfortunately, this gift does not speak to her until the car is halfway into a particular spot. Nevertheless, we manage to take advantage of her clairvoyance through simple trial and error.

With luggage in tow, we walked to the room. Suddenly, Cheri froze. “Oh my god! Guess what I forgot!” Oh no.

“My drink.”

Once Walter’s heart restarted (again), he said, “Geeze, I thought you forgot your passport or something!” Laurel and I laughed and volunteered to get her something to drink. We had no idea what we signed up for.

The drink couldn’t be just any old mixture of liquids. It had to be caffeine free, with a strong preference for the low calorie variety. These requirements sent us to three of the four floors of the hotel, scouring the vending machines. Luckily Sprite, a commoner’s drink, was sufficient.

By the time we got back to the room, Walter was uncomfortably stretched out on one of  the double beds… in his jeans. Pajama pants forgotten, Walter was left with no other option.

Eventually we all settled down and drifted off to sleep…

*Random music plays* “Son of a bitch!” -Walter

“Sorry, it was a facebook video. You know how they play.”-Cheri