Date:         Thu, 7 Nov 1996 01:26:38 EST
From: gilbertsmith <>
Subject:      WHTMOTWTNAB 1
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <>


1)  My plane was to leave at 5:45pm Thursday, so I frantically rushed
around all day getting things done that had to be done to get to the
airport by 4:30.   The sole person at the TWA gate, a very tall, big
man in a cowboy hat, checking tickets against the computer and
guarding the door to the gate and speaking on the phone to his
comrades in the tower and, I assume, preparing to take the tickets
and probably board the plane and serve drinks and give safety
instructions, this sole person at the gate announces at 5:05 that the
airport is closed.  No flights in, no flights out...  because...
there is a fire on the runway.

2)  Yes, a fire.  A hanger is on fire and the black smoke is
everywhere.  But, the real reason that we cant leave in our plane
is that, as the cowboy hat man says loudly so that all passengers
can hear, all the emergency equipment is down at the fire and the
tower has cleared to planes to take off, but no pilot in his right
mind would take one of these airliners out of here without emergency
equipment available just in case.  Passengers nervously eye one
another as he continues: "Well, the pilot may decide to <take a chance> 
and just take off anyway."  Oh, good, we assure each other.
Good.  Just take a chance.  Who needs a firetruck anyway, just in

3)  So, I realize that, since I have 45 minutes in St. Louis, if we
take off by 6:30, I might make the flight to Lincoln.  I discuss this
with the cowboy hat and he assures me that they can get me in there
on time, because "they don't have any weather in St. Louis."  Oh.
Nice.  No weather.  No weather at all.  6:30 comes and nothing.  I
plead.  I beg.  He finally opens the door and lets us on the plane,
wishing me a good trip and hoping that I dont spend the night in St.
Louis, where there is no weather.

4)  I make it, with 15 minutes to spare.  And it is true, I have seen
it.  In St. Louis there is no weather. just as there is no firetruck
in Raleigh-Durham.  It doesnt matter, we don't need either of them.