I was thinking this was going to be a stellar day — it started out with a Santa Dance at my local  Expresso Love coffee shop in Edgartown. A little boy watched and clapped as my pup and I danced and then he said,

“I have a present for your dog.”

He pulled his hat out of his backpack and with the sweetest smile he held the hat up to give to little LULU.  “

“I want to give this to your dog.”

I wanted to hug that child but have been trained not to these past 2 years – however, he totally melted me.

“Your child is the poster child for Christmas Spirit — who gives their hat away — That is precious and priceless. But, you are going to need your hat — it’s cold today.”  

Lulu and I gratefully thanked the 4 year old and his Mom and we were all in the best of moods.

And then the taxi arrived and we headed to Martha’s Vineyard  Airport.

There was no one there but two lovely greeters behind the Cape Air desk.  

“Are we the only 2 people going to JFK?”

“Wait is your dog going with you, because if it is — you aren’t going — another dog is already checked in. This flight originates on Nantucket, one dog boarded there and we can’t have 2 dogs.”

“But wait, we have a reservation for our dog.”

“I’m sorry FAA regs say only one dog on a flight.”

“But why do we have to be the ones not to be able to travel —  we were already Ok’d and reserved?”

I heard myself sounding very “WAH WAH” and self-conscious that this was a first world complaint but just give me a second.  We had a reservation with our dog Lulu, who is 10 pounds, and frankly looked irresistible lying quietly with her new fluffy first grooming. Apparently good grooming  and well behaved is not part of the FAA manual. And then there was the issue that there is only one direct flight a day at this time of year from the Vineyard to New York. I mean I was feeling a bit desperate as we were supposed to land at 10:30 am and go to visit our friends by noon out in Long Island. I was praying we wouldn’t be stranded and  this would work out, maybe they would make an exception for our well behaved doggie. I had a chuckle as I watched myself begging to go on an 8 seater twin prop plane amidst the howling winds, plummeting temps, and the flurries. Islands can feel very remote when ferries and planes don’t behave.  Our exit plan was slipping away.

My phone pinged — it was my friend who we were racing to see. “Hi, I have Covid. I feel fine but I had a little mini-scratch in my throat so I thought I’d test before you came and can you believe it? I’m so bummed, I’m so sorry.”

I stared at my phone. Really, this is crazy. I thought the Santa dance was teeing up my perfect day. Now my poor friend was sick had to isolate. I walked back up the Cape Air counter.

Melissa From Cape Air❤️

Melissa From Cape Air❤️

Melissa and Amani, the kindest Cape Air  attendants shook their heads apologetically — “This doesn’t look good…but our hands are tied.”

“We will call Nantucket and tell them — that dog wasn’t booked and yours was  – but I’m not sure we can get that dog off the plane as those Nantucket folks are already checked in.”

“Oh come on — Lulu is so quiet and we have a reservation and how will we get back to JFK?”

So we waited, hopefully, as Melissa and Amani called the powers that be and Lo and Behold….we were booted off our flight. BOOTED!

“This is crazy, it makes no sense.”

My husband calmly looked at me, “There is nothing we can do, so don’t get upset.”

Note to file!

“We are going to re-route you to Boston, you will have a layover in Boston and then you can fly to New York on Jet Blue.”

“Seriously, an hour trip that would get us back by 10:30 am was now going to take the better part of a day because that Nantucket couple took our reservation.”

“I have plenty of friends in Nantucket, but I’m not feeling warmly about what’s going on over there — seems like they are operating with another set of rules.”

The duo at the desk laughed nodded and continued working on getting us re-routed.

But, then we kind of got into just hanging out with these great women and had a blast chatting it up with our new friends Amani and Melissa.

And the re-routing worked like a charm. We boarded our flight to Boston for our first leg and we were the only 2 on it plus Lulu. The pilot told us he wished he could have flown us straight to JFK so we wouldn’t have to wait it out in Boston. He was awesome and the flight was miraculously smooth.

And so alas, we relaxed, settled into our airport hopping, watched Morocco beat Portugal at the airport bar and joined the cheering passengers waiting to board.

As we settled into our Jet Blue flight I closed my eyes and smiled thinking about my morning Santa Dance, that little boy, my new friends at Cape Air and the smooth flights.  “Gifts come in all sizes and shapes, it was actually a fun adventure.”

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