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Advertise on the Tentacle

November 30, 2011

Prelude To A Wedding

Tom McLaughlin

Malta, Montana – Island Airways? In Montana? In Montana? This was the airline we were supposed to take from Billings to Glasgow for my daughter’s wedding. Montana just does not conjure in my mind palm trees, sandy beaches and azure seas. In fact, I don’t think there is an island anywhere in Big Sky country.


We landed in Billings after an overnight flight to L.A. from Kuala Lumpur and a change of planes in Salt Lake. Exhausted, we just wanted to reach my daughter’s home and collapse. But, alas, that was not to be. Glasgow airport was closed because of snow and we would have to sleep in Billings and catch a flight the next day.


My wife Suriani and son Dzul took everything in stride while I was stressed and complained loudly to whomever would listen. They nodded, used to such ravings, and then told me of the free room, meals and the swimming pool we would all enjoy.


I calmed down and looked outside at the blanket of four inches of snow. I rushed outside, scooped up a handful and presented the white stuff to my tropics-born wife. I exclaimed in a loud voice snow! She looked at it quizzically and said it looked like the stuff in our freezer back in Kuching on Borneo Island.


Meanwhile, the other weather-hardened, good residents of Montana decided this was an interesting scenario to watch. The white stuff changed quickly to water dripping from my reddened hands, and I dashed out and got some more. Snow! I exclaimed again. My wife clearly embarrassed as all eyes of the 20 or so passengers probably worried if I was going to be a passenger on their flight.


I am sure she was thankful that the van pulled up and we went outside. She stopped suddenly. “What’s wrong,” I asked. She pointed at her breath as it created fog as she spoke. The temperature was 14 F. She emitted a note of fear in the form of a high “e” as she pointed again. Oh, that, it’s just your breath, it’s okay. Our fellow travelers, who also missed the flight, thought this more interesting than the snow episode inside. They reassured her that this was normal and she was okay. I think they were still wondering about my sanity


Meanwhile, Dzul, who I have been repeatedly told is a precocious child, poked at a bush that held some snow, pulling his little fingers in and out as if touching a hot stove. Bug eyed, he also watched his breath.


We all piled into a van and watched as the lights of Billings came up to meet us as we descended into the wide Yellowstone River Valley. Parked at the hotel, I watched as Suriani playfully pretended to smoke a cigarette exhaling her breath and then picked up some snow for her own exploration.


I am sure she did not want any part of me after my maniacal performance at the airport.


…Life is good


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