Aug. 1, 2012 — I borrowed part of this headline from Charles Dickens to help describe a funny episode in my family’s history that will be told and retold for many, many years.
It happened more than 14 years ago but the memory is as fresh as yesterday.
Our second daughter was getting married in Oregon and wanted as many of her seven siblings as possible to be there.
Work and school obligations quickly pared the list but one brother, who lived out of state, said he and his wife would be there to support the happy couple.
It seems our son’s wife was really proud of her ability to find bargains on the Internet, especially concert and airline tickets.
Hence, it became a competition with her husband to find the cheapest seats to Portland, Oregon.
Within a day or so, she proudly announced that she had beaten his best price by several hundred dollars and she confirmed the tickets.
Plans called for everyone to be in Portland by Thursday night at the latest so that we could be ready for the Friday night rehearsal and the Saturday wedding.
The first inkling of a problem came about noon Thursday when my son called to tell us they were heading for the airport to depart and would see us in Oregon in a few hours.
Just before hanging up, he asked if it was unusual to fly east before flying west. I told him that some airlines take you to their “hub” airports for direct flights to certain cities.
That seemed to satisfy him as he mentioned they were being routed through Newark, N.J., and their ETA in Portland was 8 p.m.
We were at a pre-wedding party when our son called from Newark to say that he and his wife wouldn’t be coming to the wedding.
He had sent her to check on their flight departure from Newark. She came back and asked him if Portland had two airports.
When he asked why that was important, she said the departures board listed a “main” airport for Portland.
At that moment, he realized those bargain tickets would take them to Portland, Maine.
He tried to change his flight to Portland, Oregon, but it would cost another $2,000 because of no advance notice.
That was out of the question, of course, so they would spend the weekend in New York City.
Meanwhile, back in the other Portland, I was having uncontrollable spasms of laughter while getting killer looks and tears from the bride and her mother.
Within a couple of hours, the tears had dried and everyone – almost – could laugh about two cities with the same name.
Oh yes, the wedding went off perfectly – in the other Portland.