The huge jet throttled down the wet West Palm Beach runway in the pitch darkness at least an hour before sunrise Monday morning as the driving rain pounded at the rectangular windows of the huge aircraft.

It was already time for wife Susan and I to return home to Texas after spending two full days in Jupiter helping our younger brother Dick and his wife Gail celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary among the other 55 friends and family that were invited to the gala bash Saturday afternoon.

We left Orange late Friday morning in the pouring rain to catch our afternoon flight out of Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston with a two-hour stopover in Atlanta to change planes.

The rain had already stopped before we hit Liberty so bad weather wouldn’t delay our arrival in South Florida Friday night. At least that’s what we thought. However, the rain we got in Southeast Texas was snow in Tennessee, the Carolinas and all the way up the East coast.

The problem was that many planes leaving Houston for those snowy areas were stacked up on the Intercontinental runway, waiting for a break in the weather at their destination so they could head out.

At one time our plane was in a line of 29 waiting to take off. We finally got in the air and despite being aided by a mighty tailwind, we arrived in Atlanta 20 minutes before our flight took off for West Palm Beach. We made the flight, but our luggage—that incidentally didn’t fly free—missed the flight.

So Friday night was spent at a hotel in Jupiter with just the clothes on our backs and a promise from the airline that we’d have our two small travel bags delivered to the hotel by midnight.

We waited until almost 1 a.m. and then fell asleep quickly.

Fortunately, the bags were waiting for us Saturday morning in the lobby. We ate breakfast with my sister Bobbie and brother-in-law Richard from Massachusetts before driving to my brother’s place, which isn’t too far from where actor Burt Reynolds owns property.

The rain that dampened Texas the day before had a 60 per cent chance of messing up my brother’s party. Luckily, the meteorologists in South Florida are just as reliable as those in Southeast Texas, and the rain never happened.

Most of the wonderful food was brought in except for the Polish kielbasa, which was the Kaczmarczyk (Kazmar)Secret Family Recipe that has been passed on to four generations and enjoyed by the fifth generation (Dick’s six granddaughters). And it was made using the manual meat grinder just like our grandparents and parents did so many years ago.

My cousins Cal and his older sister Gretchen, whom we’ve seen only one time in the last 40 years, made the hour trip from their respective residences. They grew up in the house across the street from our grandparents’ (Kaczmarczyk) home which later became our parents’ final domicile.

Most of the non-family members in attendance were either neighbors or worked with my brother as aerospace engineers at Pratt & Whitney. Of course the major topic among the men was the upcoming Super Bowl, which was being played within an hour’s drive in Miami.

One of my brother’s friends boasted that he had tickets to the Super Bowl. We questioned how he had obtained them, because they generally are either very expensive or very difficult to get. 

He explained that plenty of politics went into the ordeal, with some vendor from the Denver area offering them to one of his company’s management team members.

Another Floridian has a hobby which involves following all the past Super Bowls and he figured out that during the first decade following the merger of the two leagues, the AFL won eight of 10 Super Bowls from 1970-79. From 1980-1999 only two AFL teams won Super Bowls (the Oakland-Los Angeles Raiders in 1980 and 1983 and the Denver Broncos (1998 and 1999).

But if Indianapolis wins Sunday, the AFC from 2000-2009 will equal the 8-2 mark it set in the 1970’s.

However, the consensus was heavily favoring the New Orleans Saints to win Super Bowl XLIV, despite the fact the odds of them winning has jumped from three points to 5 1/2 the last time we looked.

And as far as this Korner is concerned, we have to pick the team having the best quarterback—and we believe that in the not too distant future Peyton Manning will be known as the greatest NFL quarterback of all time. It’s too bad Manning doesn’t play defense, too, because we look for the New Orleans Saints to also light up the scoreboard and produce a high-scoring affair, like Indianapolis 42, New Orleans 38.

P.S. Our plane landed safely at Intercontinental Airport Monday at 8 a.m. and we were back home in Orange watching the last few minutes of the Price Is Right which airs daily from 10-11 a.m.