The Little Engine That Could
(Go with me on this, I’m trying to be an engine)
Single, Cessna, engine.
This story began on a Sunday, before sunrise, as I journeyed westward to California.
I grabbed a flight early and with a promised read in tow, a purse bulging with legal-sized toiletries and my additional carry-on, I found myself finally dispatched to gain my son.
I arrived in Sacramento around noon, pulling my cellphone from the bottom of my bulging tote, I began my search for the pilot of that single engine Cessna.
Had he forgotten our game plan? Surely not. I know him better, or believe that I do. Of course this may change radically as time passes and he gains knowledge of this woman he will call his mother-in-law. But for now, I do believe I am safe in his harbor of knowledge. He hasn’t been around enough to know better, not yet. So with this, I began to worry, but as all mother’s are apt to do, I kept my thoughts to myself as I dialed my daughter and casually asked, “Did Jacob get off okay?”
“Yeah, Mom. Isn’t he there to meet you?”
I assured her that I’m sure he was, but with my departure from the airliner, taking time to exit, and then my dash to the bathroom,…..well, let me not show concern…….If she thought he should be here, then he was, and with that confirmed, I announced.
“Well, I’m sure he is looking for me as I look for him. You know, why don’t I just give him a shout on this cellphone?”
Sure enough, the Man of the Hour was present, if only a few feet or yards beyond me. Once we discovered each other we were on our way. Over the mountains, into the valley, and homeward to meet my soon-to-be, new family.
(Yeah, make some more of those sounds in your head to build some momentum. You might need it. Remember, this is my story and while it is very exciting in my mind, it may be less in yours. I’m sorry if the latter is true, because you really are going to miss out on a bit of my fun and all of my panic. There is a wedding six days from today.)
The clouds are building, and with them, the wind. I heed no mind, but my pilot takes note. He’s awaiting the departure of two jets ahead of us on the tarmac. We bide our time. He is making mental notes of all that is necessary and I am pinching myself to be sure that all of this is actually taking place. Flying has always fascinated me, whether in the cockpit, or back in row 23, the window seat. I am always the eager passenger.
Then there is a quick lesson as we taxi. I learn how we know, where we are, when we are, where we are, on the runway. Those signs have meaning! Oh, and so does his checklist. He ran through it before we began our taxi, but a studious and thoughtful soul, perhaps I might enjoy knowing what he is doing? Yes! and in my awe-struck mode I learn much, but due to my excitement I must confess that I cannot take a test, not yet. I must simply enjoy, but if I need to know something I’ll be holding, THE NOTES.
Okay. Finally those two aircraft get the heck out of ‘Dodge’…er, Sacramento, and as we allow vortices to clear, Jake tells me that it won’t be long now, we have actually spent more time trying to get away from the airport than the amount of time it will take to get where we are going.
Dang! I do not want to hurry. (Well, part of this is not true. I am most anxious to see my daughter. It’s been seven months since I caught sight of her beautiful face.) But, there is this part of me that can’t wait to watch my soon-to-be son pilot this airplane.
And he does. Setting in place what needs to be. Checking things that must be checked. Navigating the airspace. I suddenly realize what this truly means to him.
Our adventures begin, with him flying the plane and me pretending to visuals, yet my eyes are not seeking aircraft, but the ground below me. There is so much to behold. The land is rich in vegetation, a patchwork of finery I haven’t witnessed in eons. I’d forgotten what rich farmlands looked like. Swimming in a sea of concrete and steel has hardened me for longer than I care to admit. All at once I am waxing nostalgic for all that I had once known. Suddenly the realization overcomes me that it is not forgotten, not if I choose to remember it. This gift came unexpected, but welcomed in the beauty of all its delivery.
This was one of many magical days that would rise to meet me during this September. I truly was in for the time of my life.
Oh, let’s just face it. I cannot make single-engine airplane noise. I try, but as I might, something is lost in translation. I do hope you will allow me my adventure though, gaining my son has been a joyful experience.
I am blessed.