Thursday, October 1, 2009


When I wrote the post, Those I Leave Behind, the title felt a little creepy to me. I'm not a great traveler. I'm money poor and I don't like airplanes. But back in June, the associate Dean of the college for which I work, offered me the opportunity to attend a conference. I jumped on the opportunity to go to San Antonio TX for a conference related to my work. Didn't think too much about the method of transportation. I had to fly.

Now some background: my father was an Air Force pilot. My earliest memory was overhearing a phone conversation of my mother that 'a plane was down and they didn't know who it was'. For 3 days, we didn't know if my dad was dead or alive. He was alive. Ever since, I've been terrified of flying. He continues to laugh at my fear.

I did finally fly at the age of 43 to Las Vegas to a conference for work. It was fine. Went off without a hitch.

This past time, however, the flight from DC to San Antonio was cancelled due to a plane malfunction and we were required to take an alternative route to Denver. So off we went. And half way through the trip, the captain spoke on the intercom that we had lost our hydraulic system and needed to make an emergency landing. I cannot put into words the stark terror I felt. I was helpless. In a plane, you can't bailout. You can't pull over. You have to COME DOWN. So we made our emergency landing - again, without a hitch. And sat in Kansas City, and flew to Dallas, and then on to San Antonio.

There are no words to describe the quiet terror I felt/feel thinking about my impending trip back home. I have friends who fly back and forth across the world without a thought. It is as natural for them as it is for me to hop in my car and go. Is my experience normal? Is this commonplace to have a plane lose its hydraulic system? I mean, thank goodness, there are more systems to back them up.

I think that when I get home, I will be happy for my little spot on earth. For my kids. For my husband (who offered to drive 1358 miles to bring me home). For my animals.

There have been a number of things in the past few weeks that have caused me to reflect on my life and what things really mean to me.

And things mean nothing. And my family and friends mean everything. And I will be very glad to get home.

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