John moved and squirmed around in his seat pressing his shoes into the chair in front of us. Mom reached over with a piece of gum in hand, “it will help your ears and prevent them from popping during the flight’s accent.” John was two, two years younger than me and this was our first time away from our home state of Minnesota. The sound of the plane’s engines roaring up for takeoff held our attention for the first few minutes of the flight but quickly that focus shifted as our eyes rolled back and forth over our view of the left wing, it was so large. I can remember thinking about the quilt work of metal plates holding together this massive machine and how this fascinated me because I couldn’t imagine how long it took to put in all those little rivets.
Mom, put us in the window seat so we could take in the views, “you like this David? When you grow up you always want to travel on the large planes, they are so much safer than the little ones.” Mom’s gaze switched over to a nervous couple on her right side, and she continued to explain, “the better pilots fly the larger planes, we have nothing to be worried about.” Mom continued chatting with the couple for the flight but her words glazed over me as I was totally affixed to the situation at hand, we were never coming back to Minnesota ever again, and I was in a huge airplane. My mind as a four-year-old danced around thinking of the possibilities of a new home. What seemed to be no more than an hour later a voice squeaked across an intercom “Please ensure your seatbelts are fastened, this is going to be an exciting decent people!” My little fingers wrapped around the chair arms. I held on so tightly to that chair that my knuckles went white, the plane’s engines seemed to scream at us on the way down but the ride was fun. The aircraft touched down with a little skid, but mostly without issue on that rainy day and in rough winds. Mom was right, large planes were safe, and they had great pilots. On my way out, a stewardess handed me a pin to signify my first flight, and it is something I’ll never forget.
Copyright March 18, 2018, all rights reserved