I picked up a compilation cassette of Lightfoot's music at Goodwill while I was home for Christmas. Little did I know how it would prove to be the soundtrack of my trip back to Utah.
The journey began uneventfully enough at the Great Bend, Kansas airport. (Airport is used only in the strictest sense here. The terminal is a small, one-room brick building with a single glass door that opens to the tarmac.) My folks sent me off with hugs, last-minute parental advice, and a small roll of cash slipped into my hand. Pro that I am, leaving home is never easy.
But the mountains [...] are calling out to me,
And I got my bedroll on my back
And everything that I could pack to see me on my way...
Four of us passengers boarded the 19-seater; since there was no flight attendant, the co-captain—who looked barely old enough to shave—checked our seat belts and gave the flotation device shpeel. Then takeoff. It's a small thing in the grand scheme, but I thanked my Father for a clear day to fly over farmlands; there are few things as beautiful to my eyes as the rural Midwest viewed from 39,000 feet.
And the prairie towns go sailing by...
A quick stop in Dodge City yielded one more passenger; then it was on to Denver. Though it was a crisp, sunny day when we took off, the sky clouded as we flew west. By the time we landed in Colorado, it was a regular blizzard. But, so far so good.
All is well.
I left the cold midwestern towns behind...
My next flight to Salt Lake City was scheduled to leave in 1.5 hours. Winter weather, however, would dictate otherwise. Along with thousands of other passengers, my layover became what I call a delayover.
Excerpts from songs by the great Gordon Lightfoot: Early Morning Rain, Mountains and Maryann, Does Your Mother Know.