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The last lap

Final Approach to Springfield. Copyright © 2008 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

It is nine fifty-five pm in the UK and three fifty-five pm in Dallas. I got up at four am this morning to travel to Heathrow with Ian and Robert, Robert came along to see me off. Now after eighteen hours I’m sitting in the Springfield bound ‘plane, at Dallas Fort Worth waiting for the last of the passengers to board. I’ve managed to get an earlier flight out of Dallas, my bags will follow later but that’s not an issue if all goes well I’ll be arriving one and a half hours earlier than planned.

Gary En-route to Springfield. Copyright © 2008 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

I feel like I have a nasty cold coming on, and none of this seems real at the moment. The worst part of my trip was sitting waiting in the immigration area at Dallas Fort Worth while the official went through my visa file.

When we arrived at Dallas the airport was very quiet more like late at night or very early in the morning, and ours was the only international flight at that time. I had some help with the customs forms and followed the usual queue to immigration. It was only when I got to the front that I realized that they’d swapped around the US and foreign queues since my last visit and I had accidentally gone through the US Nationals’ queue. Fortunately, no one seemed to mind. I went through the normal fingerprint and picture procedure and handed my visa envelope over to the officer, who was chatty and friendly. He asked me to follow him to immigration – which was just a seated area at the end of the arrivals hall. I was the only person there.

The officer gave my file to an immigration official who seemed to take forever reading my stack of papers; though it was probably only 10-15 minutes. He appeared to be very meticulous and scratched his head from time to time. I was terrified he’d find something wrong with the paperwork and send me back.

Finally, he called me over, and he asked who Ginger’s father was; he asked when we were getting married “February 20th” and he then checked the dates and told me we have to be married by the 26th so we were cutting it fine. He asked if Ginger had Children? “Yes, three.” Where were we going to live? I explained that we were staying in the US because of the children.

And then he stamped the papers and I knew it was going to be alright. He crossed out my K1 Visa, handed back my passport and said: “have a nice life.”

I was so relieved I could only mumble “Thank you, thank you very much…”

The advantage of being delayed at immigration was that my bags were already on the carousel. My customs papers had already been stamped by the Immigration Official, so there was no delay, I could go straight through. All I had to do then was re-check my bags, ‘Phone Ginger, get through security and onto the plane to Springfield and my new home.

Copyright © 2008 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.