Plane Trips I Have Known

Flying to Nashville yesterday for Granddad's birthday brought to mind another trip we made to Nashville for another family birthday. This one was ten years ago, on the occasion of Jason's grandmother's 80th birthday. This trip, however, wasn't so easy to manage as our trip was yesterday.

When the plans first developed for the celebration, our little family decided that Jason and Jericho should go and represent our family. I think we chose Jason because of course it was his grandmother, and Jericho because he was the easiest to travel with. We were living in Prague at the time, and it was no easy (or cheap) hop over the ocean to attend these family events. The plan was for me to stay home with Jacob, who was 9 months at the time.

However, as we got closer and closer to the event, I began to really want to go, too, and so we decided that Jacob and I would also attend. The problem with this was that Jason and Jericho already their plane tickets, and there proved to be no additional tickets on their flights. As a result, we decided that Jacob and I would take our own overseas path to Nashville, and meet up with Jason and Jericho there.

Thus, the adventure began.

As best as I can remember, it, here's how it all worked. (I really need a visual aid for this story to show each flight path in a different color, but oh, well.) Jason and Jericho started their journey in Prague, of course, and then flew their first leg from Prague to Paris. Their second leg was Paris to Atlanta. Once there, they rented a car and drove from Atlanta to Nashville. Jacob and I started in Prague, as well, but on our first leg we got to travel with my mom, who was just flying home to Texas after a visit with us. We flew with her on that first leg from Prague to Berlin, and then we went our separate ways from there. She flew from Berlin to Houston (and then Austin), while Jacob and I flew from Berlin to Nashville.

The intricacies of flying alone with a nine month old could fill its own blog post, but I will leave that to a later date. To sum it up, it's really hard and stressful and largely no fun. However, it was worth it, because at the end of this journey was the promise of a huge, fun surprise for our family. This was because we didn't tell our family we were coming. Well, my mom knew, of course, but our Tennessee part of the family had no clue - it was a complete surprise.

It was a little tricky to figure out how to get them to pick Jacob and me up at the airport without telling them we were coming, but fortunately we were able to pull it off with a combination of believable events, and, well, trickery. In the months before the birthday, I had been compiling Grandma's recipes from all of the family members and putting them into scrapbook form to give to her at the gathering. Of course, the family was puzzling how to get the scrapbook to the party, since (as far as they knew), we weren't coming. Fortunately, this gave us the perfect solution to our problem. We just emailed them and told them that there was an American visitor in Prague for a few weeks (a very believable thing), and that (could you believe it) he was going to be flying into Nashville the very day before the party weekend (wow, what a coincidence). We added that if some family member could just meet him at the plane as the passengers departed, he said he would deliver the scrapbook into their waiting hands. I think we even gave a detailed description of this mystery visitor.

Yes, we lied. And yes, they bought into it, and as a result, Jason's sister and brother-in-law were there waiting as Jacob and I got off the plane in Nashville. Of course, they were surprised, as were all of the family members gathered at Jason's parents' house when we arrived there a little while later. It was really fun.

Even more fun was the fact that I (as was our plan), didn't tell them that Jason and Jericho were coming. I lied again and said that Jason had to do some work things and just couldn't come, so he and Jericho stayed home while Jacob and I came. Of course, as these false words were coming out of my mouth, Jason and Jericho were picking up the rental car in Atlanta and making the drive to Lebanon.

We went several hours under this guise. We had dinner, and perhaps we even had birthday cake that evening. We were all sitting around the dinner tables out in the "new room" of the house, when we noticed the headlights of a car pulling up into the driveway. Someone quipped, "Now, wouldn't that be funny if that were Jason. Ha ha ha." And a few seconds later, he and Jericho walked in.

It was really fun. In fact, it was the definition of delight to see his mother and father cry and hug him and Jericho, as every family member was now there at this celebration.

If was also gratifying to know that we had pulled it off, and despite the complexity of it, survived it. Of course, we did take a little flak for all that lying, but I (for this one time only) would have to say that it was worth it. We were all together as a family for a very important family event, and things like that don't happen very often in life.

Of course, at the end of the week's stay in Tennessee, we had to go back to Prague our separate ways, but that, too, is another post...

Barbara  – (14 August 2009 at 17:23)  

You forgot sneaking into the other room before they got there to call us and see if we had heard anything from Jason because he was later than you thought he would be.

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