In the fall of 2000 I found myself living in what was once a bustling coal town. Doesn't sound appealing yet? What if I told you I woke up one morning to find that my room smelled. I left my room to discover that the whole house smelled. After breakfast I left the house to find out that the entire town smelled. I also lived close enough to the Ohio river that I could both see and hear the dynamite blasts from a hill in West Virginia. If these descriptions haven't sold you on the amazing beauty of Steubenville, Ohio I'm not surprised. I felt the same way. And that's why I needed to get to Hawaii in October.
My sister and her family were currently living in Okinawa, Japan. That fall, my parents and I decided to meet them in Hawaii for a vacation. Since the weather in Ohio had been cold and dreary since late August, this trip was the highlight of my fall. I had talked to some friends from school about getting a ride to the airport. They agreed to pick me up at 5:45am and drive me to the Pittsburgh airport. It's about a 45 minute drive.
The morning of the trip arrived and there I stood in front of the house, in the freezing cold, waiting. I waited for about 30 minutes. At this point I had to make a decision. Should I continue to wait or jump in my truck and park in long term parking. My flight was to leave just after 7am. Giving up hope that my friends would show, I jumped in my truck and hauled it to Pittsburgh. I later found out that all my friends slept through their alarms.
On my drive to the airport my truck kept making a strange vibration. I would later find out this was a combination of my fuel pump going out and a leak in my transmission fluid line. At the time it was just known as the mystery problem that could possibly hinder my trip to Hawaii. This was my first bout of intense prayer for this trip.
I pulled into the airport with a limping truck and ran through the terminal. Good thing the Pittsburgh airport isn't very big. I got on my plane with minutes to spare. After sitting down and getting situated in my seat I felt a huge sigh of relief. I was on my way to Hawaii and leaving Ohio far behind for a few days. Then the next glitch happened.
From the cockpit the pilot announced that they were having trouble with one of the engines. The mechanics were going to look at it, but it may mean delaying the flight. "NO!! This can't happen. I need to get to Hawaii!" After the initial shock ran through my body and I started to get really sad, I began praying once again. Ten minutes later the pilot came back over the speakers and said they fixed the problem and we would be leaving shortly. Whew! I'm not sure how many more moments like this my nervous system could take, but I was glad to be up in the air. Off to Houston, TX for my layover.
The layover was long enough in Houston that I wasn't rushed to the next plane. Finally, I was one plane ride away from Hawaii and I was already many hours away from Ohio. The plane loaded and tookoff without a hitch. Then, when we were in the air for about 30 minutes the announcement came. This time the problem dealt with air pressure. The pilot announced that, "We are having trouble stabilizing the air pressure in the airplane. We are working to get it fixed, but if we can't we will have to turn the plane around and return to Houston." "Oh no! I need to get to Hawaii. We can't turn around!" I believe I actually hoped we'd get far enough from Texas that it would make more sense to continue to Hawaii instead of turning around.
And once again I was asking for a little help from God. And once again after about 10 minutes of praying, the pilot announced the problem had been corrected and we were continuing to Hawaii. Finally, I could go to sleep and dream of a warm beach that was far, far away from the bleak blandness of the Ohio valley. And six hours later I safely landed in Hawaii.
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