Monday, April 11, 2011

Flight To Milwaukee (first in series)

I traveled with my son-in-law to see my daughter's graduation from Navy bootcamp just outside Chicago in Great Lakes.  We hadn't seen her for two months, and our only communication with her was through letters in the mail.  We were excited to finally be on our way. 

It's been awhile since I traveled by airplane.  Having virtually lived in a cave of my own making in what I call Hermit Mode for the past several years with little to no contact with the outside world, not really even through internet or television, I haven't kept up with what's happening out yonder.   So I didn't know about some of the technological changes that have occurred recently in airports, like self service kiosks for getting a boarding ticket.  It reminded me of what is used in grocery stores now, where we go up to a computer and check out our groceries without waiting for a cashier.  It was simple, fast, and convenient. 

However, I still had luggage to give over to someone, and didn't notice while packing that my luggage had gotten a bit frayed around the edges.  It had holes, so I asked the person taking my luggage what I could do to insure nothing would fall out while it was being tossed around by baggage handlers.  She handed me packaging tape.  I wish I'd thought to take a picture of my poor luggage after my tape job.  One thing is for was easy to spot when I went to claim it at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, WI. 

For the flight I dressed simply and comfortably, but my son-in-law decided to dress nice in his western gear, including black cowboy hat, his lace up Justin boots, and big shiny rodeo buckle.  He's tall, broad, and rather hard to miss as it is, but with hat and cowboy bling he was a target for looks.  Having only my little backpack purse, a notepad, and my coat with me to take on the plane, getting through security was a breeze.  My poor son-in-law, however, took awhile to get down to basics to finally step through the security gate.  I could hear him mumbling, cussing his way out of all he had on, saying he'd never dress like that again.  I think he filled 6 trays with all he had on him, plus his backpack, which was also packed full of who knows what.  Then he had to put it all back on, so by the time he got to me he wasn't too happy.  I smiled sweetly at him, and told him I'd eaten breakfast and had a nice cup of tea while I waited.  He glared at me.

I love flying.  I love that feeling just as the plane is preparing for take off, toolin' down the runway pickin' up speed, then...lift off.  Love it.  I get butterflies of excitement every single time. 

My son-in-law and I weren't seated together.  We both had aisle seats, (yuck), and the flight was packed.  The other two people sitting in my section were quiet, and kept to themselves.  There was one guy sitting in the window seat directly across the aisle from me who didn't stop talking the entire 3 1/2 hour flight.  He was with a friend, and I maybe heard the friend get in a few sentences, but that's about it.  I glanced over at him once in a while to see how he was doing, and I have to say he remained alert and interested in what his friend had to ramble on about.  I tuned the guy out after a few minutes. 

After the plane leveled out, I was surprised to see so many people whip out their electronic devices to entertain themselves on our flight.  That was another thing I hadn't been aware changed during my absence from life in the world.  In the past while flying, people either slept, read a book, or talked.  Now, people brought their own array of entertainment.  I love going to electronic stores.  I consider them my equivalent for candy.  In fact, there are only 3 stores where I'll lose track of time and spend hours looking at everything;  books, electronics, and kitchen stores.  Being on that airplane was like visiting an electronic store without being able to touch or ask questions.  All I could do was look at all the goodies laid out around me, and well, just kinda crane my neck and drool. 

If it wasn't for a little girl sitting across the aisle one section ahead of me, I know I wouldn't have been able to stop bugging people with questions regarding their displayed gadgets.  Her mother had brought a laptop, plopped it in front of her daughter on the little tray provided on the back of the seat, and popped in a movie to keep her daughter entertained and quiet during the flight.  It was Disney's new movie about Rapunzel, called Tangled.  The little girl watched it with earphones plugged in, so I watched it in silent film mode.  I tried not to, but my eyes kept going back to the screen, and I finally just settled into it.  The only thing missing was popcorn.  It was great, and I found myself thoroughly entertained by Disney's animation.  Sound wasn't needed at all.  There were even a couple of times I laughed out loud, and got a few weird looks from the people around me.  They were so missing out.  The little girl finally caught on that I was watching it with her, and would turn to smile at me whenever something funny would happen in the film.  By the time the film was over our plane was preparing to land. 

Having been in the Army, and traveled around in my younger days, I've seen a lot of airports, but I'd never seen or experienced General Mitchell International in Milwaukee.  It's got to be one of the best airports in existence.  I was so glad we flew there instead of O'Hare in Chicago.  It was beautiful, simple in its layout, and best of all, small and not as crowded.  We picked up our bags, got our rental car easily, (a snazzy black Camry, which was a very nice ride :), then we were off to Great Lakes to our hotel, which was less than an hour away.  I looked at my son-in-law and told him, "You're not counting days anymore before you see your wife.  Now you're counting hours." 

His smile was wide as he merged the Camry onto the freeway, eating up the distance to see the love of his heart.  I smiled back in excitement.  Tomorrow morning couldn't get here soon enough for me either. 

(Next up:  Our adventures after we got to Great Lakes)



j said...

Love this, especially when the little girl realizes you and she are watching the movie together. How awesome is that?

C. Fassett said...

Thank you, and pretty flippin' awesome! She was such a cute little girl, with wispy blonde hair and a sparkle in her eyes. It definitely made the movie more enjoyable with both of us sharing the viewing :).