In 1973, at the age of nineteen, Husby (to be) departed for France to serve a mission for our church.
It was something he had always wanted to do.
And he had been preparing for it his whole life.
For two years, he wore out his shoes, walking the streets of Paris, meeting people.
Growing to love both them and their country.
And then, in an instant, it was over.
His time was done and he was headed home.
His flight was booked.
Letters confirming dates and times were sent to his family, who would be meeting his plane at the nearest international airport two hours from the family’s home town.
All was ready.
He arrived, bag and baggage, at the airport in Paris.
Only to discover that the flight he was booked on . . . didn’t exist.
Umm . . .
Frantically, he spoke to the people behind the counter.
A new flight was suggested.
A flight that would have an overnight stop in one of the great cities in the US.
And then land in Calgary sometime the next day.
It was his best option.
He booked it.
Now, how to let his family know?
There was no time for a letter.
Overseas calls were ‘iffy’.
A flash of brilliance.
He would send a telegram!
He headed for the telegraph office.
Then, family duly notified, he climbed aboard the plane and relaxed.
Forty-eight hours later, heart pounding with excitement, he waited on the Calgary tarmac until the rest of the passengers had deplaned.
Then, closing the zipper on his bag, he stood and made his way out of the plane.
I should mention, here, that when missionaries come home families tend to get a little over-excited. After all, it’s been two years since they last saw each other.
It’s not unheard-of for groups of fifty or sixty people to crowd into the airport waiting room.
With banners and brass bands and dancing bears and acrobats and fireworks.
Okay, well, maybe not the fireworks.
Back to my story . . .
Husby was expecting, well, not a brass band, but a bit of enthusiasm.
Some smiles, some laughter.
A few warm hugs.
What he got was an empty waiting room.
He stood there.
His warm welcome was a complete frost.
No one was there to greet him . . .
One phone call alerted his family.
And two hours later, they arrived.
And he did get his warm, enthusiastic welcome.
When the excitement had slowed to a gentle boil, they were able to compare notes.
The family had been at the airport the day before as per their original agreement.
They had waited.
And finally given up in tears and despair and headed home.
But what had happened?
For the first time – before or after – the telegraph office in Lethbridge had ‘broken down’.
All telegrams had been rerouted to another office.
And Husby’s had ended up somewhere between the two.
Lost in the ethereal world of the wires.
His great once-in-a-lifetime entrance.
Spoiled by the hand of fate.
And a single broken wire.
Each week, Delores of The Feathered Nest issues a challenge for those of us brave (or crazy) enough to participate. The challenge is six little words. Use them or lose them. I've been behind a bit, so for the next few days, I'm playing catch-up.
It's too much fun to miss . . .
Last week's words: instant, telegram, flash, brilliant, zipper and frost