Planes, Trains and Automobiles

On Friday an F4 tornado smashed through the Saint Louis International Airport closing it to all traffic. Terminal C was virtually destroyed.

I was on the second day of a three day trip. We heard the news when we landed in New Orleans after battling the same line of storms. I went up my Union web-page and got more details, including that the schedule had been canceled into and out of STL. I was scheduled to fly one of the flights into STL the next day to end my trip; thus began our minor adventure in transportation.

We got to the cockpit the next morning early and began to work on our Chicago exit strategy. Through the wonder of hand held technology we got busy. My wife and I had taken a weekend trip a while back to Chicago, returning by train on AMTRAK. I plotted a route by AMTRAK to STL, with a transfer to the MetroLink for a run up to the airport. No luck it was sold out; I wondered the last time a train was sold out for a moment but then had to get serious.

My Captain, with the help of his wife, found one of the last rental cars available and quickly closed the deal. We were not scheduled to return to STL for days so we asked for and were granted release upon landing in Chicago. The line was long at the rental car agency; most were headed to STL and a few had been on our flight.

South bound, hammer down; we motored through the Illinois farmland along side I-55. We laughed that we were on the same hi-way between the same two cities trying to get home for a holiday. Just like Steve Martin and John Candy in the original Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I visualized the scene when Steve Martins character waited outside the distinctive STL terminal wondering what it now looked like. My mind wandered down a philosophical road as we passed the exit to my ancestral homeland; a farm near Mount Pulaski. The quintessential achievement of man, flight, was cast asunder by the power of nature in seconds. The irony of it happening on Good Friday was not lost on me. Perhaps a gentle reminder we don’t rule the sky after all.

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