Author's note: July 4 marks the third anniversary of my daughter Kristin Short's homegoing to Heaven. I thought instead of a mournful poem or diddy, I'd share a hilarious story of actual events that happened to her. She had more funny stories of true events in her life than anyone I've ever met and probably will ever meet! If you knew her, you miss her, and this will make you smile. This was originally written in 2010 after Kristin traveled to a wedding of a friend.
When a young woman travels alone, she hears many times over "be careful," "watch whom you talk to," "don't miss your flight," "arrive early to catch your plane," "don't set your drink down," blah, blah, blah. And that was just from her grandma and me! However, when you are my daughter, Kristin, and your life is far from boring, then you decide after reading this: what kind of advice would you give to her?
Kristin was traveling a few weeks ago to a wedding of some dear friends. The wedding was in Utah, so it only made sense that her plane take her to New York City, then to Dallas, Texas, and then Salt Lake City, right? Anyway, excitement filled her as she left the house at 2 a.m. in order to catch her plane in Charleston at 6 a.m.! Oh yeah, except the plane had mechanical problems and was grounded for several hours while they "fixed" the problem.
Just what a mom wants to hear by text message when her daughter is preparing to board: "Hey mom, plane had mechanical problems... no big... they are working on it... delayed for two hours." Yes, the thoughts of your kid in the air in an airplane with trouble is less than comforting to a parent. However, the plane took off and later descended upon New York City.
Kristin was thrilled to at least view the city from the air! The diverse cultures/peoples and languages are right up this missionary wanna-be's alley! The airport was abuzz with multi-cultural and diverse people, shops, stops and everything in between, as you can imagine. As she sought out a Starbucks, she grabbed her carry-on equipped with bridesmaid dress, shoes, and essentials... hey, she did not want her luggage and wedding apparel lost in this crazy process of so many plane changes.
By the way, if you have ever seen the movie "27 Dresses," then you know Kristin's self-proclaimed fate. You know the story line: "Always a bridesmaid, and never a bride." In the movie, the main character is in 27 weddings until at last, she gets married and all 27 girls are in hers. Anyway, Kristin boards the plane in New York City for Dallas, Texas. She observes many Middle Eastern men, but has been taught since her toddler days to never judge based upon appearance or race/nationality. As they were seated, a nice-looking man of Arab descent sat next to her and smiled. Many other Arab men sat around him, surrounding her with their language. As the plane was ascending, they began to whisper, but in their own language. They began reaching into their pockets and passing something around. Kristin began to "glisten." I taught her never to sweat. Pigs sweat. Girls glisten. Anyway, they looked at Kristin and nodded. An uncomfortable feeling came over her as the whispering continued and they watched the airline crew carefully.The glistening grew intense. Her heart pounded. All of the sudden, the man sitting next to her leaned in beside her and reached into his coat pocket. Kristin's heart was pounding out of her chest by this point. Then his broken English inquired in a whisper, "You wanna cashew? We not buy their $4 bag of nuts on this plane, we bring our own. You wanna nut?" He giggled. Relief flooded this little country girl as the men laughed, nodding and sharing their cashews behind the back of the stewardess!
Later, as Kristin's heart began to calm down, she relaxed and was determined to enjoy the flight. The man beside her began looking very inquisitive. Finally, after a few minutes, he crinkled his brow and asked, "How old are you?" "Um, I am 24 years old," Kristin replied hesitantly. He continued, "Are you married?" Kristin smiled (the forever question at this age). "No, I am not married," she stated quietly. The man's voice rose to a fever pitch, and he said with his arms flailing, "What! You no want a family?" Horrified, everyone rose from their seat to see who this was that "did not want a family!" Slinking down in her seat, she replied simply, "Oh yes, but I am waiting for the right man to marry." The man roared with laughter and waved his hands at her. "Silly American traditions," he laughed.
Remember, this is Kristin. What you may or may not realize is that these strange things always happen to Kristin. If you know her well, you know it is true. Her days are rarely boring, nor does she ever lack for a new story. I personally know that someday Kristin will be writing books and all of this will make for excellent story material, whether she writes fiction or non-fiction. However, few would believe these stories nor the more colorful stories I leave out, in order to protect the innocent or guilty, however you want to look at it. Therefore, she may as well call them fiction.
As she finally arrived in Salt Lake, after not sleeping all night, her luggage was lost. Go figure. However they promised it would be delivered to her. Her friends picked her up with some Bible College guys she had never met. They became instant friends and stayed with the same family. All week long the guys would wait for the right moment and then flail their arms at Kristin and shout, "What! You no want a family?" Oh, yes, Kristin never wastes a good story nor an embarrassing moment. She shares and others enjoy the absurdity of her life.
The wedding was beautiful and she had a great time with the wonderful people out there and she fell in love. Oh, fell in love with the Rocky Mountains, that is. However, all good things must come to an end and she said her goodbyes to her new friends and the newlyweds and boarded her flight to return to the little hills of West Virginia.
After missing an entire night's sleep on the way there and all the excitement and busyness of the shower, and other wedding events, she felt weary, tired and ready for her own bed. The trip home was all-night stop and start flights from Utah to Denver, Colo., to Washington, D.C., to Charleston. I had been in the Washington, D.C., airport once, so I warned her of the tons of people, the busy corriders, and the tram/subway that you travel in from place to place. Kristin arrived in Washington around 3 a.m. As she exited her plane, an eerie silence filled the air. "Where are all the people that Mom warned me about?" "Is this some kind of a sick joke?" "Has there been a Homeland security event?" These questions filled her mind as she walked through hallway after hallway with absolutely no one there. She boarded the subway and was the absolute only person on the many-car tram! Feeling as if the horror music would begin at any moment, she wondered if she were dreaming. It felt like a nightmare and some crazed psychopathic killer would jump out at any moment and take her life, or make her wish he had. The silence as she left the subway continued as she heard her own footsteps as she continued walking towards her destination. Glancing behind herself every few seconds she awaited a masked man to appear or a gloved hand to touch her on the shoulder.
Finally, as she reached her gate, she saw a few people. Some were sleeping on the floor. More anxious than ever to return to her quiet and wonderful home in Elkins, she settled down for her short layover. Interrupting her reverie, the loudspeaker began to blare: "We are sorry, but this flight is overbooked." "Oh no, how can that be? There is virtually no one in the airport." People began making their way to the desk. The speaker said, 'Anyone who will give up their seat on this aircraft will receive $400 in bonus miles." "Oh, I should wait, but I wouldn't get to Charleston until about noon this way. No," she thought, "just try and keep me off this flight." She let others have the 400 smack-a-roos and she boarded her flight. She arrived back in Charleston, loaded her car she calls "Chevy Chase" and came back into Elkins about noon, collapsed on the couch and remained until bedtime.
Recounting the events, I had to think, "Only Kristin." If I wrote a book and told you all the stories that have happened to her throughout her life, you would be sure that either:
A. I'd lost my mind,
B. I was lying.
C. No one could have such strange things happen to them.
When this article was first published, I said: "So, if you see Kristin around town, just smile and ask, 'What! You no want a family?' Oh yeah, she thinks that was hysterical." Truly, we had an angel among us, and we miss her with each passing moment. But, in Heaven, she has a family and we will join them someday soon!