BEPPLE – Thank you to those who help get us home to family at Christmas
“Every mile is two in winter.”
– George Herbert, 17th century poet.
HERBERT MIGHT HAVE lived 400 years ago, but he might well have been speaking about travel for those coming and going to Vancouver by road or air these last few days.
A bus and semi crashed on a snowy Coquihalla. Pictures of spun out vehicles litter my Twitter feed.
Passengers endured multiple hour flight delays out of Vancouver airport followed by outright flight cancellations.
Former councillor Arjun Singh posted on Facebook that he was stuck in Mexico awaiting the arrival of his family, whose flights were cancelled. In paradise, but impacted by the disruption because of the massive storm that hit Vancouver Airport.
I was one of the lucky ones. As the storm was starting on Sunday, I flew out of Kamloops east to Calgary rather than west to Vancouver. Even then, fellow travelers departing Kamloops to Vancouver were delayed, foreboding of days more of disruption.
But then my connecting flight out of Calgary had a delayed departure, meaning many of my fellow passengers weren’t going to make their onward connections.
And so it went for so many over the last few days. Late departures, missed connections, canceled flights. Traffic jams, vehicle incidents and treacherous driving.
Herbert was right: every mile in winter takes that much longer.
It’s amazing that we even bother to make trips at this time of year. It is the dead of winter, with terrible weather and short days. We know before we even start that the prospects of difficulties are high. And yet we persist.
But while I was waiting on the flights in Kamloops and Calgary, I could easily see why.
Past me walked family after family with young children, some so young they were likely going to see their grandparents for the very first time. Equally, there were university students, studying far from home, who were making the trip back to see their parents. I spoke to one student traveling all the way to Uganda.
And older people walked by me who looked a lot like grandparents, who might be going to see grandchildren. People travel to see family. I was among them, traveling to see a sister and her family.
This time of year, travel is difficult, but the pull of family is stronger.
For many, including me, the winter break is one time of year when it’s easy to get time off work. The winter break is a time for gathering.
Within a few days, the roads will be clear again. Planes will be flying and passengers rebooked. For most, a few days’ delay will be an inconvenience, but still a worthwhile cost of gathering.
A huge thanks to the airport employees on the ground and in the air who move air travellers around safely, rebook complex flights, and get people and their luggage where it is supposed to go.
Kudos to the highway crews who plow and sand, the tow trucks who get us out of the ditch, and emergency services that attend to the accidents.
Thank you for taking onthe monumental tasks this time of year that are made doubly difficult by terrible weather and extra travelers.
I hope everyone gets where they’re going safely over the holiday season, and that, however long it takes to get there, you are with people who are close to your heart. Happy holidays.
Nancy Bepple is a Kamloops City councillor with a strong interest in community building projects.
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