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The Plane Truth

Sue Duffield

Laugh Lines


Do you remember hearing the bizarre story recently about the Northwest Airline pilot flying the plane that missed the Minneapolis airport runway by about 150 miles? It became quite the news, and it impacted my funny bone. My initial reaction upon hearing this was, “Wow. I can relate. I missed starring on “Project Runway” by about 150 pounds.”

A few days after hearing this story,  I boarded a plane. I sat and stared off into space as I waited for take-off. I overheard the gentlemen behind me, expressing concern for his fellow seat mate say, “Just so you know, I have Tourette’s.” If I didn’t hear with my own ears the other man’s response myself, I would have never believed it. This young man responded, “Wow, my mother-in-law has a ferret. Are those “tourettes” easier to raise?” The silence that followed was deafening. The older man responded, “No, I am talking about Tourette syndrome—the genetic disease that makes me say and do things that I have no control over.” The young man sheepishly responded, “Oh, I better move then, huh? It’s gettin’ hot in here.”

Flying from Baltimore to Buffalo, I sat next to a pretty little girl who was traveling by herself. She had badges and IDs draped around her neck, indicating she was a young passenger to be escorted by the agents of the airline. I caught her staring at me. I would look in her direction, but she would quickly look away, pretending to gaze out the window. Finally I smiled and giggled and tried to connect with the 7-year-old, but I wasn’t having any success. It became obvious that she was told, “Don’t talk to strangers.” I just put my head back and tried to take a snooze. About five minutes later into the flight, I felt her tapping my shoulder. I glanced at her pretty dark eyes framed by her deep mahogany skin and a big frown.

“I’m not supposed to talk to strangers, but are you hot?” she said. “Yes, it’s awfully hot on this plane and I’m not supposed to talk to strangers, either,” I said back.

“Hmm, well then that’s a problem,” she said. “I can’t reach the fan thing up there, and I need someone to color with me. Do you know how to color?” “Yes I do,” I said. “But I forgot my crayons.” I spun the air nozzle clockwise to high.

“Well, I guess you can use my crayons, but you can only color with the blue or the brown ones.” At this point, she opened her coloring book to page 2, and there before me was a picture of a big Easter basket on a sea of grass. “You can color the grass if you want,” she said. “But you said I could only have blue or brown. I never heard of blue or brown grass,” I responded.

“Well, just pretend,” she said. “Pretend you forgot to water the grass and it turned brown. Oh, and you better color in the lines, ‘cause I don’t like a messy coloring book.”
I said, “I don’t either, but it gets harder and harder to color inside the lines, the older you get.”

I was so captivated by young Maya—her beautiful smile, her engaging way of conversing with an adult. I was even more drawn to her candid spontaneity and clear way of expressing herself. I now pack these items before every trip.

Now, when traveling on a long busy flight, I am careful to do the following:
1. Bring crayons and a bottle of water.
2. Pack my smile, and check my bad attitude and miserable mood at the gate.
3. Bring headphones or ear buds. Soft music playing in my ears can distract some potential stresses of noise pollution while flying.
4. For entertainment, check out Sky Mall® magazine! There’s some flat out funny stuff in those pages!
5. Listen to those around me and take notes.
6. Get comfy and put my head back and take a nap. The flight goes much faster.

“Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat—refreshing!” (Proverbs 25:13).


 Tourette syndrome (TS) is an inherited disorder of the nervous system, characterized by a variable expression of unwanted movements and noises (tics).

 

SUE DUFFIELD is a heart-warming and honest storyteller, singer/songwriter and freelance writer who travels extensively sharing her faith, music, and comic relief. She and her husband of 35 years, Jeff, travel in and out of the country doing retreats, conferences and special events. Visit her Web site at www.sueduffield.com.

 

© 2010 National Women's Department, General Council Assemblies of God

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