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Flying means having to board a plane

Published June 25. 2011 09:01AM

I love to fly! But I hate boarding a plane.

When I say this to people, they look at me a little strange. I guess I can't blame them.

My love with flying started a long time ago.

When growing up in the 1960s in South Dakota, seeing a silver jet liner so high in the sky flying over our farm was a sight I never got tired of seeing.

I remember one especially hot and windy summer day when I was about 10 years old. I decided I would try to fly.

I found one of my mom's old bed sheets and carefully crawled to the top of the largest haystack in the pasture.

I held the sheet just so and waited for just the right wind gust to come along. I could envision myself sailing around the farm.

A strong gust came, I took a leap, and I sailed all right ... straight down to the bottom of the haystack, landing on a broken bale of hay.

Nothing was hurt but my little ego.

The first time I actually got on a plane was when I came to Pennsylvania in 1971.

It was awesome. I loved the takeoff, looking out the window down at the crisscross patterns of fields below, and the feel of the first jolt when the plane's wheels touched the runway for the landing.

My husband and I have flown many times since. I still love being in the air.

In March, Joe and I flew from Philadelphia to London. The company I work for has their corporate office in the United Kingdom. I was going over for a few days of training and then sightseeing.

My spirits were high. We were looking forward to a great trip.

We got to the airport early and had a nice dinner before the flight. As the time drew closer to takeoff, we went to sit by our designated gate.

I am not sure if it was the sight of this very large 380 air bus plane sitting right outside our window, or the sight of the other 349 people waiting to board. Maybe it was the thought of flying over the ocean (no emergency landings there!) or the thought of a 7-hour flight ahead of us that brought on a panic attack.

I felt like I could not take a deep breath. My palms were sweaty. I wanted to run away. My husband, who is so patient, kept telling me I would be fine.

After about ten minutes, we started to board. As soon as we got to our seats, the panic subsided. I was again looking forward to the trip.

Thinking back on that episode makes me remember our sheep on the farm.

When it was time to move our sheep from one pasture to another, my dad would load them on the truck or trailer to move them faster.

We would corral them where they would contentedly mull around until my dad opened the gate to the loading chute.

Upon seeing the steps going up the trailer, the whole herd would panic and immediately run to the far end of the pen.

After some strong persuasion, my dad would get one to walk up the ramp. Then just like clockwork, the other sheep would follow one another right into the trailer.

In August, my husband and I are looking forward to flying out to visit our daughter and her family, who are now stationed in Colorado.

I can sure identify with those sheep from long ago. I may never really like boarding a plane, but it will never keep me from flying.

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