Right up until Thursday morning, the plan was looking like a good one. The wife and I had drove to Memphis from Little Rock Monday morning, and had an excellent time of it. There was but one small delay at security when the screener mistook my electric toothbrush for a screwdriver and asked to look in my bag. I readily agreed that he could look in it, but his supervisor overrode him, correcting his error.
We had a spectacular time in Atlanta. We saw the Center for Social Change, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Martin Luther King Jr's tomb, and the National Parks Museum devoted to him. We also visited Underground Atlanta, The World of Coca-Cola (just the gift shop though, as we were constrained for time) Discover Mills Mall, which is 1.3 million square feet of retail outlet stores, and a lot of more personal memory spots.
We got to see my father, step-mother, brother, and an old friend from Little Rock who moved to Atlanta a couple of years ago.
Then came Thursday morning.
The travel advisories all sounded horrific, a winter storm had struck Memphis AND Little Rock, in addition to places North and South. We thought surely it would all be salted and sanded by the time we arrived Thursday afternoon.
The flight to Memphis was made exciting by a drunken woman of Hispanic origin who talked on her cell phone in flight, talked loudly with the flight attendants, smelled like a brewery, and invited the poor young man next to her to her home in Memphis to... well, it rhymes with "puck".
It took over 45 minutes to claim our bags in the Memphis airport's ratty and dirty baggage claim area. We had to go to two different carousels, and deal with some REALLY pushy people, who insisted that THEIR bags would come out first, and therefore, they should be in the spot I was standing in. I actually was unable to grab my bag the first time it came around, because of the people crowding me.
Then we hit the parking lot.
Sheet of ice.
So was I-240, so was I-55.
We tried to exit for over an hour, but our turn signal only seemed to indicate to those behind us that they should speed up next to us, then slow down so we could neither get past them, nor drop back behind them in order to get over.
We finally made it to a Ramada Limited in West Memphis, checked in, then walked to a nearby Kroger for supplies. On our next trip through the lobby, there were lots of people begging for room, but they were totally booked.
We left at 10am Friday morning, and though the roads were still icy, the roads were less crowded, so we managed to make it to I-40. I lost count of the number of cars and semi-trucks in the ditches. We stopped for one, because I saw a baby in the back seat, but couldn't determine if the parents were there. Others also stopped, and the first one to the car (okay, I'm slow) told the rest of us that they were all fine, had the heater going, and had called 911 and a wrecker was on the way.
We made it into Jacksonville about 2pm (four hours from Memphis to Little Rock is a LONG time) and picked up my mother-in-law, who had made a long journey from Hawaii, via Detroit, and had to stay in a hotel last night as well. We made it home with her, and my brother-in-law, then braved the weather one last time for a Wal-Mart run.
Now, it is Christmas eve, we are entrenched in our warm home amongst family, watching the Hawaii Bowl (Go Warriors!) on TV, and cooking a nice meal. The Christmas tree is lit, the stockings are hung, and I am thankful to God, for I am truly blessed.
Merry Christmas to all, from Nixon's Memoirs!