We landed in Miami right on time. We got off the plane and headed to immigration with our bags in tow. We breezed through there and customs and then began our trek to the American Airlines counter.
When we checked in at a kiosk and had our tickets printed, I noticed the phrase “TSA Pre-Check”. Nothing registered with me about that phrase until we got to the security checkpoint and I saw a lone TSA employee sitting below a sign with the same phrase. There was no one in this particular line. We asked him if we could go through that line, to which he replied yes. It was wonderful; we just zipped right through.
Once we were on the other side of security, we headed to our gate. It just so happened there was a restaurant near our gate so we stopped for lunch.
At the gate, we took a seat to wait for the 15:30 boarding call. Outside we could see some very dark and ominous clouds approaching. At about the same time there was a “breaking news” segment on TV in which they said a tornado had been spotted on the ground one mile west of the Miami International Airport…our second speed bump this trip.
When I heard that report, I began to dread the evacuation of the terminal. I was quite surprised when that never happened. Regardless, I watched closely to see if I could spot any rotation in the clouds. Periodically I looked across the concourse. I could still see planes taking off, bathed in sunlight.
Rain began to fall shortly before boarding began. The rain fell harder and harder. It was so bad at one point that one could barely make out the parked plane. After a couple of dozen passengers boarded, one of the pilots emerged from the jetway and spoke to the agent handling the boarding. Boarding stopped immediately. Soon, the boarded passengers emerged from the jetway. The entire time, the rain became worse. We overheard one of the pilots state that boarding could not begin until the lightning stopped. We had not seen lightning, but it was no doubt associated with the storm.
The scheduled departure for our flight was 16:00; however, at that time we were still waiting to board. By then, the skies began to clear. Finally, at about 16:30, boarding began again. We nervously boarded the plane, worried we would miss our connection from Dallas to Grand Junction. We were one full hour late when the plane pushed back from the gate at 17:00.
Shortly before the plane pushed back, an Army major sat in the window seat beside Leslie. He asked where we were going. Leslie told him of our trip from Guyana to Colorado for Hillary’s graduation. He was amazed when he found out we work for the embassy in Guyana. He shared that he was with the Military Attaché office at the embassy in Lima, Peru, what a small world! Leslie’s uncle Wayne was the Attaché to Lima, Peru in the late 1960’s, what a coincidence!
The remainder of the flight to Dallas was uneventful.