The special nature of this country was brought to mind during a recent journey to retrieve my son after his first year of college at the University of Kansas. I was to fly to Kansas City and drive back to Los Angeles, but an unexpected diversion in that plan reminded me of our country’s greatness.
I left LAX on my Southwest flight at 9 A.M. to arrive at 2 P.M. central time. The flight was beautiful except for a seatmate who made too many lavatory trips, interrupting my movie. Everything was wonderful until we were ready to land at KCI (Kansas International Airport) where there were thunderstorms. The pilot was scared of a little lightning so we hung in a holding pattern. Southwest planes do not carry loads of extra fuel so we were soon diverted to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to sit on the tarmac.
While preparing to be a victim of one of those long “sweatfests” I looked at the map and saw Tulsa was pretty much due south of Kansas City and on the road toward Los Angeles. Since there was no clear indication of when we might again attempt our final leg to Kansas City, I had the idea for my son to drive south to Tulsa, and we would push on from there. I went to the flight attendant and asked if I could get off the plane. I had my luggage and could depart without any particular inconvenience. Simultaneously, the pilot decided to head for a gate and humanely let us off until we had a secure time for a landing in Kansas City. I called my son and told him to start driving to Tulsa.
I was now standing in Tulsa’s airport wondering what I am going to do for the next 4+ hours when the wheels (in my brain) started to turn. It came to me that I have a friend who is frequently in Tulsa because his company’s headquarters are in Bartlesville -- not too far from Tulsa. During a call to my friend, I explained the facts – this was my first time here and inquired as to where I should go and what I should do. Of course, as one who lives on the coast, it is ingrained in me that places like Tulsa are “backwater” towns. With a few phone calls and emails, the owners of my friend’s company, who I had never met, had arranged to have me let at a business club of which they are members in downtown Tulsa.
Arriving by cab, I took the elevator to this club called the Summit, located on the 32nd floor of the local Bank of America building. I entered this beautiful club in my shorts, knit shirt and athletic shoes. I apologized for my inappropriate dress, but the people there did not care because I was a guest of Peggy and Tom.