Herald-Journal Herald and Journal, March 2, 1998

'Frequent flyer' doesn't apply


Did you see the recent Channel 4 news story on air turbulence? I didn't.

The TV ads promoting the story were more than enough for me. They showed people screaming and the plane rocking up and down. No, thank you. The term "frequent flyer" will never be associated with my name.

Until a few years ago, air travel had not been an issue in my life. Walking to the barn was my most frequently traveled route.

Then I discovered that Farmland Feed wanted to treat us to a couple of days in Kansas City for an awards banquet. If you use Farmland Feed, and your cows have a herd average which meets the criteria, they sponsor a trip to their home base, Kansas City.

We had not done any traveling or vacationing for several years, so I was ready for a get-a-way. The only problem was getting there.

Now as the crow flies, Kansas City is not that far away. You get on the plane, and you are there in a little over an hour. That is what people kept telling me.

For some unknown reason, I decided that the Highway 62 Crosstown, would be the best way to get to the airport. I didn't realize that my chosen route was in the middle of road construction until we suddenly came to a dead stop on the highway. I kept looking at my watch, and at the cars inching along in front of us. I had already broken into a sweat and we weren't even at the airport yet.

After what seemed like an eternal drive, we made it to the airport just in time to be dropped off, check our bags, and run down the concourse to catch our flight. Because we were the last ones to board the plane, there were only two seats left. They were on opposite ends of our section.

Of course, this did not bother my husband, Tom. He loves to fly. He took the seat nearest the front, turned to the dairy farmer next to him and started talking shop. Anyone who has seen two farmers discussing their profession knows that you could drop a bomb in their vicinity and they would not look up.

My husband was now oblivious to my existence. There I stood. I took the only other seat available to me. It was an aisle seat near the rear of the plane. My head spun as I tried to remember the best part of the plane to be seated in if it crashes. Was it in the front? Over the wing? In the rear of the plane? I couldn't remember.

I looked around to check the location of the air- sickness bags, just in case. I wanted to be prepared if my Dramamine didn't work. Being sick with my husband seated next to me was one thing. Throwing up all over a complete stranger would be most embarrassing.

A young man was seated next to me. He was reading a magazine, so I did not disturb him by introducing myself. Besides, I was too busy with my own worries. I was watching and waiting for the plane to make it's move toward the runway.

Suddenly, the plane lurched backward. Then my stomach did a flip-flop as we changed directions, heading for the designated runway. To my surprise the nausea passed quickly. Dramamine to the rescue.

Now the plane made the final turn. Engines revving, it began rolling down the runway.

As the plane gathered speed, I was surprised to see the young man sitting next to me solemnly make the Sign of the Cross.

I wondered, "Does he know something that I don't know?"

Resigned to my fate, I tossed in my own silent prayer. "Dear God, if you 're going to save this guy, could you please save me, too."

Obviously, I made it to Kansas City and back. I was even brave enough to take a flight to Las Vegas two years later.

That time I even got up enough nerve to look out the window.

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