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Nostalgia October 2016

Leslie Goes Boom

A Very Special Trip

By Leslie Handler

This is such an extraordinary experience that I want to savor every moment. Who gets to do this? Who gets treated like such royalty? I want to take this feeling and shrink it down to the size of a pill so it will fit in my purse. If I can just do that, then I can take it out at my whim, swallow it whole, and fall down the rabbit hole to feel like this again and again.

This is the best trip ever! We get to the airport in record time. We pull up curbside to find a friendly skycap waiting for us. He's got on one of those navy blue, flat-topped hats with the shiny patent leather brim – his name embroidered over the pocket of his starched shirt. He lifts our bags, two for each of us, and carts them away for a dollar tip. We're greeted at the counter by a ticket agent with a warm inviting smile. It's the kind of smile that's accompanied by a glance up at us acknowledging her gratitude for our presence. The skycap brings her our bags. She checks them, gives us claim checks, and doesn't ask us for any further payment. She hands us our boarding passes, thanks us, and directs us to our gate.

We glance down at the boarding passes with our seat assignments on them. Awesome. Two of us have the requested window seats, and two of us have the requested aisle seats. Since we have nothing to carry but our small purses, we easily walk to the gate in five minutes and hand our boarding passes to the agent at the desk. She looks so pretty. Her perfect size-eight body fits smartly into her airline uniform. She too shines that now familiar grin our way – the one with the glance up and the gratitude. She hands back the passes and tells us it will only be a few minutes until we're ready to board.

I feel like an elite princess from a foreign land as we're escorted to our seats. We're sitting two and two across the aisle from one another. There is no one in either middle seat.

After takeoff , we're offered a steaming, scented, washcloth to refresh ourselves, and a free warm breakfast. We have our choice of an omelet or pancakes. We carefully unwrap the shiny flatware from its tightly wrapped white linen napkin. I place the napkin in my lap to protect my outfit from the possibility of a syrup mishap.

This is such an extraordinary experience that I want to savor every moment. Who gets to do this? Who gets treated like such royalty? I want to take this feeling and shrink it down to the size of a pill so it will fit in my purse. If I can just do that, then I can take it out at my whim, swallow it whole, and fall down the rabbit hole to feel like this again and again.

Our food trays are removed and we're provided with a deck of cards with the airline logo on the box. We're told we can keep the cards when we leave the aircraft.

After a pleasant flight, we come to a gentle landing and begin to disembark. I'm handed a metal pin with airline wings to attach to my party dress. It's the new one with the powder blue ribbon on it that ties on the side. It looks so pretty with my lace tights that slide neatly into my white patent leather Mary Janes. Mom reminds me to put my white gloves back on before we exit the plane.

That was 50 years ago. I was six years old. It was my first plane trip. You already know how to describe my last plane trip. If you’re out there and you can hear me, can you please call the’60s? I want my customer service back!

 

"I’ve fallen and I CAN get up are the words I live by because when I fall and go BOOM, I always get back up."

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