The Odyssey Begins
At 9pm, my relief arrived.
(This post is written by my dad and continues yesterday’s story of why he missed my birth.)
I had an hour-long boat ride on a pilot launch to get from the Manhattan Island, which was station in the Gulf of Mexico, to get to Cameron, LA, from which my odyssey back to New Hampshire would begin. The company had arranged for a driver who asked, “New Orleans, or Houston?” I knew that the New Orleans airport pretty much closed down at night, and that Houston was a little closer, so I said, “Let’s try Houston.”
We drove west toward Texas and reached the ferry crossing at Sabine Pass. The ferry Captain had a schedule to keep—never mind that there weren’t any cars aside from ours waiting in either direction. I explained to him that my wife had just had our first kid and that I was trying to reach the airport to fly home. After some conversation about the brotherhood of the sea (or brown water sailors and blue water sailors) he agreed to get under way and take us across to Texas without waiting for the next scheduled crossing, saving a crucial 30 minutes.
We arrived at the airport around 2am and I scanned the departure board. There was a flight leaving in ten minutes for Newark, New Jersey.
Now, this was pre 9-11, so you could run to the gate. This was also before the OJ Simpson trial so you could run through airports like OJ did in the Hertz commercials, and run I did. The gate had already closed its door so I started using my “brotherhood of the sea” speech again but given that this was an airport and not a ferry terminal, it didn’t work.
Finally, I told the woman that my wife just had our first baby and that I had to get on that flight or I would not get to New Hampshire until who knows when. She asked if I had a credit card. “Yes,” I told her.
“Do you need to check any luggage?” she asked.
“No,” I replied.
She let me board and instructed me to just find an empty seat and sit down as quickly as I could so they could get going. This was an L-1011: 10 seats wide with 400 seats in coach. I went all the way down one side and half way back up the other before I located an empty seat.
When I asked why there were so many people on a plane in the middle of the night, I found out it was full of Jehovah Witnesses. They were taking advantage of late night low fare and were all bound for the Kingdom Hall in Brooklyn, NY.
Despite it being well after 2am, I was pumped up on adrenaline so I could not sleep even if I had wanted to (which was a good thing seeing as my cabin mates sang most of the way to Newark).
Next, I had to contend with the morning’s first Peoples Express shuttle to Boston where my father-in-law was waiting for me.
“Landlord’s” dad used to be a mechanic— a very good mechanic in fact—and although he was very good at making things go fast, he had become a wimp behind the wheel over the years. He drove slowly and cautiously and made frequent rest stops so I was hoping he would just let me drive.
He had other plans though and told me I looked exhausted, ie. too exhausted to drive. Nonetheless, he “got it.” For the first (and last) time in years, he drove like the 20-year old motor head he had once been. I am not sure how quickly we got from Logan airport to Wentworth Douglas Hospital, but it was fast— challenging-the-laws-of-physics, go-back-in-time-fast— so we arrived about noon before Kat was yet a day old.
I made one stop before going up to see “Landlord” and our new baby: the florist. I bought a bouquet for my wife and another for my daughter. I had no idea she would one day become a serial dater nor did I have any idea what her life would be like 26 years later, but I wanted to be (and I was) the first man to ever buy her flowers.
–Thanks, Chauffeur 🙂
14 Responses to “The Odyssey Begins”
Chauffeur is, without a doubt, awesome! Great story.
I don’t think I ever knew all the details of that story. I remember spending the summer with your parent when landlord was pregnant with you. They took myself Wendy Josh and court for a while. It was great. I can’t believe it’s been 26 years. The scary part is that Emily is only a year younger than I was when you were born. And did you know that chauffeur was 14 when I was born?! Sorry, having an old moment. Happy birthday again. Xxoo
We had a ball with you kids that week, even with slightly swollen ankles. I had told your uncle we’d probably never have the opportunity to do this with you all if we waited, which is why we had to make it happen before she arrived. Nevertheless coordinating various camp and summer extra curricular activities between everyone was a CHALLENGE and it almost didn’t happen, I may have gotten a little snarky, during the negotiations (who me?) but hopefully it was chalked up to hormones 😉
Great story Chauffeur!!!
i’m not gonna lie…this literally made me cry! Way to be chauffeur!!!
Thank you blog commenter’s who gave me/us compliments. This is a fun story and one that I have grown to enjoy telling over the yrs.
I can remember the nurse stretching the phone cord in across the hall, so we could discuss names, you were still on the ship and the staff was getting into the act of trying to help us communicate.
I also remember the nurse teaching me how to take her temperature (I WAS SO CLUELESS) and I couldn’t read the mercury bar, and panicked thinking I was going to kill this baby because I wouldn’t know if she was sick or not. Thank goodness you had arrived by then, or I would have really lost it more than I did.
The drive home was so scary (and it was only like 8 blocks) but I also kept panicking that someone would crash into us…little did I know that these were the parenting genes (plus hormones) just starting to take hold!
What a fabulously funny and sweet story! Thanks so much for sharing!
I have to admit. I also got a little teary there at the end. If only all dads would set the bar high from the very beginning.
a great conclusion to a moving story
Awww… the ending gave me goosebumps. You have such a wonderful family — all the support shows through in this blog, so I can’t imagine what it must be like in real life. Let me know if you guys have an opening to adopt a soon-to-be 29-year-old soon…
We’re always adopting the kid’s friends!
What a great story! Thanks for sharing it! Loved the ending, especially.