Steve (DOS) and I had a quick and last minute trip to Roanoke to see my family, and especially my Mom, who had fallen this week while getting things ready in their new home. Mom was hospitalized for three days, and needed a partial hip replacement. She is now in a rehab center for three weeks getting physical therapy to enable her to walk again. It was quite a scare for everyone, and fortunately she is doing ok, though she obviously wants to be back to normal and move in their new home, which is just down the street from my brother Andy.
As we had an early flight to Roanoke on Saturday, we stayed at the Orlando Airport Hyatt Friday night. We had dinner in McCoy’s Restaurant (4th floor Lobby Level) at the Hyatt, where we usually have dinner on Sunday nights when staying there. We were hoping Hemisphere’s (9th floor) Restaurant would be re-opened by then, but it will probably be the first part of November when they finish remodeling it. We enjoyed a nice and casual dinner at McCoy’s, finally relaxing for me after a busy week in Texas and getting my packing done for the next four trips. We stopped by the lobby lounge for a nightcap after dinner before heading up to the room.
After viewing a beautiful sunrise off of our 10th floor balcony, we had breakfast in the morning, again at McCoy’s. We then headed down to the gates for our American Airlines flight to Charlotte, connecting to Roanoke. While waiting at gate, I took this photo of an American Airlines plane painted with the retro logo, letters, and the original aluminum fuselage. While our Airbus 321 had the new style paint job on it.
We had a comfortable seat in First (2A and C) and had John as our lead Flight Attendant. I have had him a couple times over the years, and he has to be the best in the industry! I wrote a nice letter to US Airways (prior to the American merger) two or three years back when I had him also in First out of Orlando, and complimented him on his professionalism, demeanor, voice when making announcements (gentle and personable, with a professional D.J. sounding pitch) etc. If anything, this time he was just as good or better as I remember him, and I’m writing another letter, this time to American complimenting his service. John does so many little things that many people don’t even notice, but it makes a huge difference. Example: I noticed him warming up the coffee cups briefly before service the coffee! He called everyone by name throughout and deploying the flight (which is rare these days even in First), conversed casually with passengers most of the flight, and my favorite – he actually took one of the empty steel bin cubes, and stood on it to take a photo of a mother and daughter from a ‘unique angle’ high up looking down! I wanted to get a photo of him doing that, but I wasn’t quick enough – truly tops in customer service, and you can tell he really enjoys his job and passengers. He also said he remember seeing me a couple times over the years, and told me he’d ‘see me next time’ as I deplaned. Truly top notch service and hospitality – thanks John!
Oh, and one other thing John handled well, which was an unusual situation. A lady boarded late in the boarding process and had a duplicate seat assignment with the lady in front of us in 1A. John assisted her in the galley, looking up the seats on his AA handheld. It turns out both ladies had the same exact name, and the gate agent had given her the wrong boarding pass – what a coincidence; but unfortunately the lady was supposed to be in coach. Even though it wasn’t his fault, John apologized, and made the best of the situation, making the woman feel welcome without be embarrassed or condescending as some FA’s would do.
In Charlotte we had a quick hour layover in the ‘C’ Admiral’s Club before heading the long walk down to the commuter terminal ‘E’. Going from First Class with outstanding service in an Airbus 321, to the tiny all-coach Dash-8 with no service and an indifferent woman flight attendant was a bit of a letdown, but as it was only an hour flight on this propeller plane I took a nap. Well at least tried to nap; it was a very windy day, and you could feel just about every bump in the sky. We were both glad to be on the ground in Roanoke!
We picked up our rental car from National, and headed over to visit with Mom, who is now recovering in a rehab center after having a fall this week while setting things up this week in their new house. Mom was in the hospital for three days, and they expect she will be in the rehab center for three weeks, as she had to have a partial hip-replacement. Steve (DOS) and I first stopped to get a card, some balloons, and flowers – deciding on a beautiful orchid arrangement, which we took to the rehab center.
We went for short visits the two days we were in Roanoke, as she gets very tired and we didn’t want to overwhelm her. She was so glad to see us, and we ended up going back out and getting her a travel pillow, small blanket, and another bear to keep company with the one my sister had brought her on Thursday. DOS and I took turns wheeling Mom around the rehab center for a bit,
Unfortunately, it was a bit to chilly and windy to take her outside, but we ‘parked’ beside the front entrance so she could see out. Exploring the center, they had activities throughout the day, including some gospel singers we stopped and watched a bit. We went by this large bird cage, and watched the cute and tiny birds inside going from branch to branch, and chirping as if in tune.
We stayed and Andy and Art’s house for the short overnight stay, and they had it decorated in festive fall Halloween decor.
On Saturday night, DOS treated Andy, Art, and myself to a fantastic dinner at Frankie Rowlands Steakhouse, which is always is a real treat.
On Sunday we were going to attend Andy’s Church, after first stopping by to see Mom. As she was being attended to when we got there, we waited in the public living room, and decided to stay with Mom all morning, which I’m so glad we did.
We met Dad and Andy for lunch at Red Lobster at 12noon for lunch.
Later, we went by to see Mom and Dad’s new home they will be moving to soon. I took photos to show Mom, and then we went back to the rehab center before heading to the airport. We showed her the photos and solicited her input on where she would like some of the furniture placed, as Dad is looking to have movers bring things over soon.
I know Mom will be so glad to get moved to their new house, but first she must recover, and she has a three week journey of therapy ahead of her. Support from friends and family has been enormous, and the thoughts of prayer of others are getting her thru this.
Now it’s 6pm, and DOS and I are in the Roanoke Airport waiting for our delayed flight to Charlotte, connecting after a 3 hour layover (less now) to Orlando. While waiting, I always enjoy looking out the window at the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance, something you don’t see in Florida. I grew up in Roanoke, and it still feels like home to me when I visit there.
When we got to Charlotte, we rushed from the end of ‘E’ (commuter concourse) to the end of ‘C’ concourse in hopes of taking the earlier 8:20pm flight to Orlando, instead of the 10:30pm flight we were booked on. In one of those rare moments of modern day aviation, we successfully got seats on the earlier flight, although middle seat, Exit rows towards the back of the plane. As this flight was a bit delayed, we got to Orlando around 10:30pm, still preferable to the midnight arrival time we would have had, had we not changed flights.
We stayed at the Airport Hyatt again as it was so late, and had a late night dinner at McCoy’s restaurant once again.
It was a quick weekend trip, but we’re both so glad we could make it here to see Mom and Dad. Blessings, love, and prayers for recovery are coming your way Mom! We love you!