Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, October 30, 2015

Are We There Yet?

Jay Edwards

We drove to Destin last month in an unfamiliar car. A Nissan Altima. I had picked it up at Enterprise, not far from the Memphis Airport, on a gloomy Friday evening. But the mood was good, as it always is the day before we begin a week at the beach.

Since many of you know KM and I live in LR, there are probably questions. I can help with that, but where to begin?

Let’s see... A few years back, I was walking down the yellow brick road...

In truth, it was a few months back, and I was trying to get back to Little Rock from Austin on Southwest when they said there was a problem. (I know, shocking.) We ended up spending a night in Big D and getting back to Little Rock the next day. To pacify us, and the other guy on the flight, they gave us each a $180 gift voucher on Southwest and put us up for a night in a hotel near the airport. Another man might have been angry; another man might have been hurt...I stuffed the vouchers in my shirt.

I said we would need two rooms as our daughter Alexis was traveling with us. To get back at me for that demand, they stuck me in a room where the Philip Morris research team tries out all the new cigarettes for the coming year. When I got up the next morning, I had about six weeks to live.

But we made it back to LR the next day, even with all our luggage; and a couple of vouchers to be used on a future cancelled Southwest flight.

That was last December. When October rolled around, I said to KM, “We still have those Southwest vouchers. How about we fly to the beach this year?”

“OK,” KM said, leaving, as she always has, the travel plans to me.

So I began checking dates and airfares, and soon ran into a couple of issues. The first was that Southwest does not fly from Little Rock to the Panama City Beach Airport, at least in October. That’s how I ended up being in Memphis on a gloomy Friday. I figured we could drive to Memphis, leave our car at the airport, rent a car, drive the rental car to the beach, fun and frolic for a week, leave the rental car at the Panama City Beach Airport at the end of the week, and fly back to Memphis, where our car would be waiting. Then we would have a two-hour drive home instead of an 11-hour drive.

“OK,” said KM.

Plus, because I’ve spent like $780,000 with American Express, they were going to give me $300 in rental car vouchers. 

“What a great country,” I said. KM agreed.

So we left Little Rock as scheduled. I called Fred on my way out of town, and he said he hated me. “Is there a better day during the whole year than the day a person leaves for vacation?” Fred asked. I couldn’t think of one.

We drove that beautiful scenic drive from Little Rock to West Memphis without a hitch, not even hitting any bad rush hour traffic as we crossed the Mississippi River into Tennessee. Siri was on point, guiding me pretty effortlessly through the nation’s 20th largest city.

As I mentioned, we were renting the car near the Memphis Airport. I did that to save more dollars. It was over $800 to rent the car at the airport Enterprise, and only $450 from Enterprise a few blocks away. They said it had something to do with leaving the car at another location.

We got the car, and still no hitches. But, as hitches do, they sometimes come in big ways. Come back next week and see.

Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist. Contact him at jedwards@dailydata.com.