Saturday, October 25, 2008

It's A Small, Small World!

I was about 13 or 14 years old the first time my dad traveled any distance away from home. There were some practical reasons for that. His job as Service Manager at a Ford Dealer kept him close. Also, we lived on a little farm. The three Holsteins didn't stop producing milk just because dad wanted to "get away." AND he really didn't like being far from his family.

Dad was asked to attend a special class related to his work and the assignment demanded that he FLY to San Francisco. I think he was gone for a total of two nights, but the way we all acted would make you think he had to be away for a year or more! I remember the excitement upon his return and to this day I can recall his vivid description of flying on an airliner. (He had flown as a ship's mechanic/navigator in bombers during WWII, but this was WAY different.) We lived in New Mexico, the air was clear and he described familiar mountains he could see for miles.

My first commercial flight was after I started college. No wonder we didn't fly as much then. A round trip between PHX and ABQ now can be purchased for about the same price as that ticket cost almost 40 (ouch!) years ago.

It's no longer a big deal to be talking today with people who just arrived from or are just departing to anywhere in the world. A lady named Sandy took the membership class at our church a few years ago. That was before she retired as a senior flight attendant for a major airline. During the class, she casually mentioned that her work was flying to Paris twice in the previous month. I know -- I'm jealous, too!

I just attended the Change of Command Ceremony, in which a friend took command of a Sector of the United States Border Patrol. Sitting on the front row of the event -- in dress uniform -- was the man's son who proudly and intentionally serves our country in Afghanistan. He was able to come home for this special day in his dad's life, but he must go back.

Here's the amazing thing: that far-off land where he serves? I know someone else there. You probably do, too. AND I know others who serve elsewhere in "The Big Sandbox." Some of them just got there; others are about to come home; still others may go there next week and be back here within just over a week after they leave. I never know who may walk in the door after an absence or who may stop to say "farewell" for awhile.

It's a small, small world!

p.s. You probably be humming that tune for the rest of the day. I'm truly sorry!


beckiwithani said...

I just discovered your blog! I really enjoyed this post. It makes me thankful for the relatively cheap airline tickets we have now (even if they've been high by modern standards lately), so that our family can see each other a few times a year. And I love imagining Grandpa reveling in the beauty of his lifelong home, seen from a point of view he had never before experienced in his 40-something years. Most of today's 40-somethings will never get to recreate that sense of awe, because they've flown since they were too young to remember.

Oh, and I also remember my dad (who almost never left home) going away when I was young. It was for two whole weeks, I believe, and I was only 6 or 7. He went to East Asia, and it seemed like such a long time to all of us left behind. It's one of my earliest clear memories.

Sam said...

Well, well, well. Welcome along. That trip was just over three weeks and your dad never wanted to be away that long again!