As hard as it is for me to leave my flannel sheets and get on a plane in the middle of January, I’m glad to arc into the skies. There’s always a story or two waiting for me there.
That is, when I can actually get out of Vermont.
My trip was rife with delays — not enough to make me cry, but enough to test my patience. I practiced breathing in I’m calm, breathing out I let go so many times, I probably lost a pound of two. When I finally clambered on the plane to head south, I shared a two-seater with a woman in her late 70s. I admired her ease in texting and saw that she loved dressing well and taking care of herself. Still, there was a sadness around her and I wondered if the reason would reveal itself. I’m not a chatty Kathy on a plane but something told me I’d find out before we landed.
She fretted over the possibility that she’d miss her connection to Cleveland. I asked if she lived there but knew immediately that she was from BAHSTAN as she told me her story. A friend — who was like a sister — was dying of cancer and called for her to come out. It was time.
“So many friends. I’m losing so many friends,” she said, shaking her head. “That’s what happens when you get older.”
I nodded. “I’m sorry to hear that. That’s why I think older people have so much wisdom — through loss.”
I hoped it came out the way I meant it and she nodded in return.
She made her connection and we wished each other well.
When I began the return from sunny FL far too soon, I noticed a little dog — a petite Labradoodle — who patiently waited at the feet of her person who stood with arms crossed, chewing at her lip. We were already delayed and the worry over the big storm in the Northeast was palpable. I wondered if I’d end up sleeping at Logan once I arrived. Flights were being cancelled and changed all around us, groans rising up every time the mic clicked on.
The dog wore a red vest with the words “Emotional Support Dog” stitched in white. It was amazing to watch how this little creature changed everyone around her. People literally softened at the sight of a dog; smiling, murmuring and reaching out to pet her head. Even though I’m a crazy cat lady, I loved knowing that there would be a dog on the plane. A woman struck up a conversation with the dog person and I watched as her nervousness came down a notch. I wondered why she needed emotional support then realized, hell, we ALL need emotional support and made a note to find out how I could get a EMS dog.
I ended up sharing a 3 seater with the dog, her person and her new chatty friend. As we waited to disembark, people were asking about the dog, whipping out their cell phones and sharing photos of their dogs, dogs with babies, family members — like we were at a 4th of July picnic and not under the glare of a NE blizzard. The woman who needed emotional support was the most popular person on the flight — and in the end, she and her dog gave comfort to all of us.