Monday, October 12, 2009

Paradise Found

The journey to paradise is typically frought with conflict and pain and discomfort. Reaching the destination requires determination and sacrifice. How could it be otherwise and still be fully meaningful? Whoever said that the sweet fruits of life should drop right into our hands without a significant amount of hard labor? My long trek to paradise with my little one began innocently enough, a short and uneventful two-hour hop from my local community airport to Chicago's Ohare. We had a two-hour wait before our next plane left. We passed the time sitting in a spectacular student art gallery, munching warm pretzel sticks with sweet cream cheese dipping sauce. The saltiness was complemented with a perfectly tart glass of ice-cold lemonade. The time slipped by quickly with giggles and laughter and stories. We then made our way to the bird that would take us the rest of the way on our trek.

Boarding began about 30 minutes prior to our scheduled departure time. Everything was going exactly according to plan. We were steeling up to suffer through the very long flight ahead of us as best we could. We pulled back from the gate on time, but about 20 feet into our journey the plane came to a full stop. Ten minutes passed and the muted queries of the passengers started to swell up around us. The captain came on the intercom just a few moments later. A warning light in the cockpit was flashing that would not allow us to move further until it was addressed. Apparently, the warning was coming from one of the air conditioning systems, and the maintanence crews were on their way. The captain was giving us regular updates every 30 minutes. After two hours had passed, the captain was pleased to announce that the repairs to the plane were complete and we were ready to get back on our journey. The last thing that needed to be accomplished was the official sign-off of the maintenance work that was completed, ..., federal regulations and all that. However, just as the certification was to be completed, the necessary computer system crashed. Another hour passed. Finally, the captain, who at this point was biting down hard on his tongue to keep from screaming, announced that we were getting the heck out of Dodge. Three hours we sat at the gate, three hours of torture, where our giddy anticipation was muted and then slowly drained away. Pain and discomfort emanated from our seats and legs and feet and spirit. When we finally had reached our wits end, when all batteries were fully drained, and all snacks were gone, our watches showed that we still had about 4 hours to go before we were to see land.

However, the good news is that together my daughter and I held to each other and found ways to support each other. We found a way to keep our spirits and patience intact. Let the good times roll. Aloha.