Dallas is not just the town for one of my favorite stores, Neiman Marcus.  It is also a travel destination and flight transfer point at the Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport for U.S. –Canada, Mexico, Latin American, and international travels—as well as the airfare headquarters for American Airlines.

The first time I visited Vancouver, B.C. in the 1980’s, I flew through Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport on my return flight home to Chicago, Illinois.

However, on my second visit to B.C., Canada during August 4-11, 2002, the one-way passage there through the Lone Star State was not as auspicious as the first time around.  I almost missed my early bird 6AM AA Flight 2201 from O’Hare to Dallas-Ft. Worth due to an ornery, oaf-like taxi driver from Universal who did not know where he was going at 4AM and dropped me at 7-Eleven in Lombard, instead of taking me to the Departures area at O’Hare Airport.  Another Universal taxi driver had to pick me up afterwards to drive me to O’Hare.  I made the flight in spite of the odds against me.

Once on board AA Flight 2201, the stewardess began to yell at me around 5:45AM, so that I would place my hand luggage in the overhead compartment, instead of under my seat.  Then the fat, old man sitting next to me, did not offer any help, but managed to puncture my inner forearm somehow and leave a blue-black rounded bruise around a dot spot which still remains to tell the tale. The fat old oaf suddenly changed to the front seat, 9A, instead of sitting next to me on 10A.  I was so glad, since I had the entire area to myself and my flight reading in transit—the stewardess returned to see if I had fallen asleep—but I was awake and reading to myself—she could not bother me anymore…

The air quality on board  the plane was awfully irritating to the eyes and nose.  I had to turn off the air vents.  At the end of AA Flight 2201, another stewardess read the connecting flights and departures gate destination at loud, and I noted mine to be Gate 39.

I had forgotten how far Gate 39 was from my DFW arrival gate.  With hand luggage and carry-on personal bags, I began to walk a long way through DFW without seeing any porter or hand carts—even the automatic passenger conveyor was not working.  I felt almost ready to collapse when the shoulder strap from my hand luggage snapped broken, sabotaged by intruders from Lombard, Illinois who had stolen some of my presentation visuals and “definition” a few days before my departure. By the time I arrived to Gate 39, an elderly woman passenger told me that it had changed to Gate 42, so I had to walk a few feet further, though I was already to drop from early morning fatigue without a solid, hearty breakfast.  So I stopped for an almond croissant and good cup of Texan coffee at the Au Bon Pain , French pastry shop there.  Departure Gate 42 was close by and I noticed fellow passengers who looked like they were going my way to Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

At 9:20AM, I was already on board AA Flight 1507, in spite of all the odds…  As I sat down by the window seat, I knew that I was going to make my trip.

The talking young Georgian and his middle-aged father showed friendly, Southern affability as they discussed their upcoming family trip to Anchorage, Alaska.  The teenager told me about his school and hometown in Georgia, as he offered me a blue breath candy—curiously enough, it was a different flavor from the breath  mints marketed in the Midwest—I had not seen or tasted one like that  before.  Then, the young man became interested in “Spider Man”, the flight movie, and I fell asleep.  As Vancouver drew near, I woke up with a jolt, ready for landing in B.C., Canada.  The Georgian family left for Alaska.  I had finally arrived to Vancouver, B.C. to present “New Ideas for a New Century”.

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