From One Extreme to the Other, In Four Days



From One Extreme to the Other, In Four Days


Jacob Schlitt


"Friday, December 19: Gotta go! The flight to Rochester leaves at 8:01 a.m. and it is now 6:15 and you are not dressed?"















Friday, December 19: Gotta go! The flight to Rochester leaves at 8:01 a.m. and it is now 6:15 and you are not dressed? What did you do all night? Oh my God! You haven’t finished packing. Forget it! We are not going to make the plane. I don’t ever want to do this again. I’ll make you a cup of coffee. Let me close the valise. You still have stuff to put in it? It is overstuffed already. You have gifts? Forget them! I woke up at 5:30 to help you, but there is nothing I can do, except make you a cup of coffee, and worry.

For two days I have been saying that we have to leave the house no later than 6:30, and it is now 6:35. I am going down to get the car. You are not finished in the bathroom? What does it take to make you aware. You have a plane to catch, and I just checked the computer. It is on time. Can we go now? Next time you can take a taxi, but he will end up parked in front of the house with the meter running.

Fran, it is 6:50! We won’t make it! I’m getting the car, and I am taking the valise and your bag. Here is your boarding pass. See you in front of the house…I have been sitting here for 10 minutes. Where is she? Forget it!

Oh my! It is 7 a.m. There she is. Let me put the walker in the car. What? You have to go upstairs because you forgot your hearing aids? Great! I’ll go. Here they are. This is now an exercise in futility. I’ll drive as fast as I can, but we won’t be able to make it.

We are at the terminal, made it in less than 20 minutes. Get the bag to the outside check-in. Too late. Get inside the terminal and find the guy with the wheel chair. Urge him to get Fran to the gate and to take her valise. Kiss goodbye and rush out hoping that I haven’t gotten a ticket or gotten towed. Thought about driving to short term parking, and return, but realized there was nothing I could do, so I drove home.

When I arrived home, there are several messages from Fran. She missed the plane, but everyone was being very helpful. The best they could do was get her on a plane to Washington DC leaving at 12, and then leaving at 3 for Rochester getting in around 4:30.

I was so pleased last month that I got Fran a non-stop flight, enabling her to have all day Friday in Rochester with her family. Instead, she spent all day Friday at Logan and Reagan airports, And I am making phone calls to Fran at the airports, and to Rochester, and shaking my head.

Tuesday December 23: Fran is coming home. There should be no problem. The plane leaves at 3:25 p.m. and Steve and Rhonda will certainly get her to the airport in plenty of time. At 11 a.m. US Airways calls with the news that there is a delay in equipment. The flight will not leave until 4:11 p.m. I called Steve and left a message, and then e-mailed him with the news. Fran will certainly get there on time. David will be coming with me. I call him to let him know about the delay. At 2 p.m., US Airways calls again, telling me that the plane will not leave at 4:11; it will leave at 4:43. I call and e-mail Steve. I also call David telling him not to bother. Things are running later than we figured. At 3 p.m. Fran called to tell me that the plane has been delayed. I tell her I know and that I tried to tell Steve. Fran tells me that Steve is at work and Rhonda drove her to the airport. Fran told me not to come to the airport until she calls me when she lands. I asked her to call me immediately, so she would not have to wait too long. I am always so thoughtful.

Turns out that neither Steve nor David got the message. Rhonda drove Fran to the airport to get the plane at its regular departure time. She did not know about the delay. David called about 3:45 to tell me he is on his way. He did not get my call or e-mail. I told him not to bother.

At 6, I checked flight arrivals to learn that the plane came in at 5:57. I waited a few minutes to hear from Fran. No call. Since the plane is in and since it will take a long time getting to Logan, I tried calling Fran. No answer. I left a message telling her I was on my way. Another exercise in futility, since she does not check messages. I take off through heavy traffic and drizzle. On Storrow drive, my cell phone rings. “Hello Frannie,” I say. “Welcome home.” “Where are you?” Fran is angrily demanding. “I tried calling you twice.” I explained that, having learned that the plane was in, and not having heard from her, and not having received a response when I called, I headed for Logan, and that is where I am. “Oh. You are on your way. That is all I wanted to know.”

At 6:45, I make it to Logan Terminal B. The State Police are out in force. I drove slowly from one end of Terminal B to the other. No Fran. I get out and look, putting the handicap placard on the car along with the flashers. No Fran, but another State Trooper. I get back in the car, heading out, and then I spot Fran, sitting in a wheel chair. I pull over, give her a kiss, load her stuff in the car, and we are off, arriving at Brook House at 8 p.m. Welcome Home!


Original Format



Jacob Schlitt, “From One Extreme to the Other, In Four Days,” Autobiographical stories & other writing by Jacob Schlitt, accessed June 19, 2024,