Dr. Bordignon wanted each of the members of the choir who chose to participate in this week of singing to do two things, in addition to being well prepared: he wanted them to arrive at least a day before their the first daily service at St. Mary's Cathedral would begin. And, he wanted them to bring their robes and music with them as "carry on items" in case luggage were lost.
For perhaps only two or three members of the choir group, no matter when their flights were scheduled, did not end up experiencing the most frustrating and exhausting of events on this choir trip - delayed flights, cancelled flights, lost luggage and missed connections.
I travelled with the largest group that left Houston at 2:30 on Friday afternoon. Or, was supposed to have left then. Though check-in was a painless and relatively quick experience, when we got to the gate to board our flight, we were told that because of bad weather in the Northeast, our flight into Newark was delayed. After an hour's delay, we were able to board the plane. Then after a period of twenty minutes or so, we were asked to get off the plane. Another hour passed. We were asked to board the plane. Then, get off again. Another hour and a half passed.
By this time it was clear we would miss our connecting flight to Edinburgh in Newark. That flight left, or was supposed to, at 8. We didn't leave Houston until 6:30. There was another later flight to Edinburgh and while we were in the air the reservation people were scrambling to find us seats on that flight and to ensure that flight could be held until we arrived. They were able to do that.
When we landed and headed to get our luggage we got a text from our friends Dick and Dianne Schenke. You may remember that we did the Santiago Pilgrimage with them a few years ago. (That blog is still posted here.) Though they had come in the day before, their luggage didn't arrive until a day later. Fortunately, they had a car rented and were able to take us to the house we were sharing with Jane Thiel and Sari Frey during our nine day stay here.
Since I was unable to get any sleep on either of the flights, that Friday - Saturday span of time was the "longest day" I have ever spent.
After arriving at our house we did the things exhausted travelers do to recover, including sharing an excellent meal at an Italian restaurant.
Then, a good night's sleep.
On Sunday, after that good night's sleep, we broke fast and had our walk to St. Mary's for the 10:30 Cathedral Eucharist Service. Most of the choir members who came to sing this week attended the service. During the "passing of the peace" one of the regular congregants said to one of the choir members, "Are you part of the American choir?" On hearing an affirmative response the woman said, "You helped the congregational singing so much and we are looking forward to hearing you next week."
The service was the one found in the 1982 Scottish Liturgy and contained as part of one of the unison prayers words that I found very appropriate for these troubling and troubled times: "May we live by faith, walk with hope, be renewed in love."