Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In Which the Derjue Family Saves Christmas


We've all seen those hackneyed Christmas specials in which someone saves Christmas. Ernest Saved Christmas once. So did Elmo.

Today, the Derjue family saved Christmas. For real.

A friend of mine had planned to leave for Las Vegas to celebrate Christmas with her parents on Sunday. Because of the snow, she figured it would be smart to change her flight to Monday evening. As an added bonus, she'd be on the same flight as the rest of her siblings and her niece.

Except JetBlue canceled their flight three hours before it left on Monday, sending the family scrambling to find another flight. Naturally, everything out of Logan was astronomically expensive, sold out, or would get them there well after Christmas. I offered to do everything I could for them. At the time, I figured that would be limited to fielding my friend's profanity-laced emails and text messages.

But when Sam and I got back to my Mom's house last night, my friend asked if I'd be willing to drive her to the airport in Manchester, NH to catch the one flight in all of New England that wouldn't force her niece into white slavery to pay for. I was on my way to Boston to look at apartments (know of a place/sublet? Let me know!) this afternoon, so I saw no reason why my Mom and I couldn't swing by and do a good deed.

I woke up an hour later than I'd hoped, told my Mom the plan, took a fast shower, and hit the road. At first, we knew we were getting my friend. Then her brother was on board. Then her sister, sister-in-law, and niece. All in one big (but not that big) vehicle.

Traffic was fine through Providence and Boston, and we got my friend with ease. Then we got on 93 to pick up our second passenger in Woburn. Our trusty GPS sent us through the cute little downtown area of the city, which was overrun with schoolchildren who'd just been let out and last-minute holiday shoppers. After we picked up her brother, we sat in Burlington Mall traffic. Then we sat in more traffic as we drove to another part of town to pick up the rest of the family at a Logan Express lot.

After an epic struggle, we somehow fit six adults and one preschooler into my grandmother's van.

"Are we going on an adventure?" My friend's sister asked her daughter.

"No," she said. "We're just going on a plane."

My friend commanded me to drive like the wind, which I certainly did. My mother shifted nervously in her seat as I tailgated and weaved in and out of traffic. I wished that I had some sort of flashing light to indicate that I was doing the good work of saving Christmas for an entire family to push the slow cars aside.

Because I used my excellent driving skills and did not allow my poor mother to use a bathroom all morning, we managed to get the family to the airport 40 minutes before their flight left. I just got a message from my friend, saying that they barely made it through bag check, but are safely in Nevada.

I'd have done it for any of my friends, and don't expect anything other than gas money in payment. But if this doesn't put me on the "nice" list, I don't know what will.

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