Ridin’ along in this big ol’ jet plane
I’ve been thinkin’ about my home
I was thinking about my inaugural plane ride when the family travelled to the Netherlands in the summer of 1967. The trip was Mom and Dad’s first time back, almost ten years after their arrival in Canada, to celebrate Dad’s parent’s golden wedding anniversary. It was a highly anticipated event, years saving the money, months in preparation. Mom wanted to make every aspect perfect.
The four boys were dressed for Sunday church, white shirts, black pants, bow ties; eight, seven, six and two. Michael was young enough to be deemed a baby, not requiring a separate ticket, no seat, sleeping at my parent’s feet, in economy class. The neighbour across the street chauffeured us to the Toronto airport, traversing the 401 highway, three hour return, to save on the cost of long-term parking.
We arrived at the requisite two hour advance time for the 7:00 pm departure only to discover the Martinair flight was delayed for some imprecise mechanical repair that stretched to midnight. It’s hard to keep a white shirt clean when you are bored and hungry and tired, squirming to find comfort on utilitarian seats. The meticulous outfits lost to the vagaries airline travel. The entire De Cock and van Rooij families greeted a bedraggled couple with their disheveled four boys in tow.
This trip to South Africa is my first since March 2020, days before the world began to shut down, precipitated by contract work accepted because it would involve travel. All elements are organized and paid by the International Finance Committee of the World Bank, featuring the luxuries of business class with the concomitant priority lines and free lounges.
China and glass and silverware. Wine and liquor and beer. Napkins and comfort and service. Individual pods and sleeping seats and noise-reducing headphones.
This trip is me, alone.
This experience is not that first one to the Netherlands almost 50 years ago. My world has changed and taking opportunities to opt for convenience becomes an important goal in planning our growing list of desirable destinations. The prospect of spending seventeen hours in a plane, squeezed into seemingly small spaces with diminishing quality frightens me.
Yet I would travel in any manner, any time, any where if it meant travelling together, with Olga.
Big ol’ jet airliner
Don’t carry me too far away