Winter storm memories

Snowstorm in New York City, December 2003.
From the series Time Between
©Stella Kalaw


The phone rang very early yesterday morning. It must have been 2:00 am. Half asleep, I grabbed the phone and pressed the speaker phone button by mistake. "Hello?" I said. "My flight's been cancelled!" my brother's voice boomed. He was calling from the airport. He started to talk again. I jumped out of bed and frantically ran to the bathroom. I fumbled with the light switch before I could turn off the speaker phone. He informed me that his flight was re-scheduled for the following day. I was surprised He was not upset. "Oh, well.. what else can we do, right?" He said he'll just have Christmas dinner with some friends that evening. We talked for a few more minutes about how crazier it has been to travel during the holidays. We then hung up the phone. As I lay in bed trying to get back to sleep, snow storm memories flooded my mind.

My first experience was in 1993. I remember my sister and I stepping out of our porch with shovels on hand thinking we could try and clear out a walking path. Instead, the pile of snow came up to waist level. We looked at each other and started laughing. Mind you, we lived in a tropical country all of our lives so we had no idea how to deal with this. We observed how our neighbors cleared their properties and we basically copied what they did.

A more recent experience was in 2006. T & I woke up to the news that all British Airways flights were grounded from Heathrow airport due to severe fog. It was also the day we were supposed to fly out to Prague to be with my family for Christmas. We were glued to the TV for 2 hours while I was on the phone on hold with British Airways. When I finally spoke to a customer service representative, the earliest day she could rebook our flight was December 23. It was not going to work with our schedule so we took our chances and headed straight to the airport. After 15 hours of relentless persistence at Heathrow lining up, talking to several agents and repeatedly turned down for standby flights, we finally made the last plane out to Prague shortly after midnight.

Before I closed my eyes, I mouthed a thank you and felt grateful that, at least this year, we were not traveling during the holiday season.