Monday, August 16, 2010


The pilot was making his final approach to the runway at Little Rock when our 10 year old son popped his head up three rows in front of me. He turned and our eyes met and he shouted for all to hear, "MOM, He's puttin' it in the river!" Seconds later we all felt the thrust of the engines as the plane lifted toward the sun rather than downward toward the tarmac. The pilot came on the loudspeaker to let us know of the change in plans, "Ladies and gentlemen, we're going to circle around and make another approach, there is traffic on the runway." There was NO traffic on the runway, he actually WAS "puttin' it in the river."

Airplanes are a thrill a minute! I'd much rather spend travel time on one than in a car/truck/train/bicycle/or boat! Well, maybe not boat. I love boats, too.

Most rides through the sky are pretty mundane, but every once in a while a memory is made. And since we've spent our entire "career" in the business we've got lots of those.

Philip knew that flight was on a crash course because we'd landed in Little Rock hundreds of times. The view coming down was always the same. We knew every rooftop, pond, pool, and blade of grass that preceded landing. Crossing the Arkansas river was the last landmark before touchdown. I'm thinking that we had a pilot "in training" on that particular day.

So far in our log of flight memories there have been other near misses, mechanical failures, crying babies, crying seat mates, leg cramps, drunks, spilled drinks and tossed cookies. (literally)

BUT....the fun and convenience outweighs the bad.

There WAS the time I shared fried chicken with a drop dead gorgeous young banker executive from Denver. When it came time for a napkin, he insisted that I wipe my chicken fingers on his blue jeans. What a gentleman! If that flight had lasted longer I would have had to put him on my Christmas card list.

Then there was the time I sat next to Ray Stedman, famous Bible scholar, teacher and author. What a wise and lovely man.

Playing gin with Honeybuns on the flight to Hawaii was fabulous, and sleeping on his shoulder as we flew over the Atlantic to Israel must be mentioned.

Once while traveling with my dog I made 8 new friends and learned of their own puppies brilliant characteristics on the leg from Little Rock to Savannah, GA. Honeybuns was shocked as I introduced him to all of them as we de-planed. There was the guy that owned the lab, the lady that raised poodles, the elderly woman that loved her collie and on it went. If you want attention, just take a dog on an airplane. Size matters, the carrier must fit UNDER the seat and it'll cost you dearly!

And short-term flight friendships are very interesting. I'm amazed at what is revealed and openly discussed with complete strangers that just happen to be seated next to each other on an airplane. The depth of those conversations occur quickly and are intense. Do I have a sign on my forehead that reads, "you can tell me anything and I'll listen?" Evidently there is safety in knowing that you'll never see me again and it is therapeutic to "unload." People are VERY interesting.

I knit on airplanes, too. It is amazing that those long #15 inch metal needles are allowed onboard. I'm always ready to surrender them but no one ever questions this granny. There is no doubt that they could be qualified as a weapon in the right hands. Evidently my hands look safe!

The joy of the journey is as thrilling as arriving at your destination (on time and quickly.)

I think I'll go pack! There's another memory out there in the making!

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