Come Fly with Me

plane-2181180_960_720Remember that song by Frank Sinatra? For me it evokes memories of the loveliest kind. Let me explain.

My daughter recently returned from a trip to see her California relatives and getting there was pure and complete hell. Whereas she was supposed to get there in one day, it ended up taking two. Whereas she was supposed to have just one layover, she ended up with two. Whereas she was supposed to arrive in one city, she ended up arriving in another. All of this combined with cramped quarters, less than lovely flight attendants, and the need to pay extra for luggage.

Flying today is not her mother’s experience flying some 40 (ouch) years ago. Back in the day, it was a really big deal and most people got dressed up for their time in the skies. There was no extra charge for luggage, flight attendants treated every passenger like royalty, and when there was “an act of God” (weather issue) that cancelled or delayed flights, the airlines ALWAYS gave out vouchers for food and hotels.

I too used to fly to California often since I lived there and commuted frequently back to Rochester. Although not all of my memories are so, I vividly remember what wonderfully pleasant experiences I had flying coast to coast in the 70s and 80s. It was always a Chicago connection (except for once when my boss ‘made’ me fly to NYC with a connection to Rochester – but that’s another story for another day…) to a DC-10, one of the first wide-bodies that was commonly flown on longer domestic hauls back then. And here’s where my Fly with Me story begins.

Let me begin by saying I smoked – cigarettes, that is. And I smoked a lot. In those days, smoking was allowed on airplanes. Also in those days, flights were far from full, seats were bigger, and passengers were allowed to drink all the wine they wanted – for FREE. Do you see a theme here? Indeed, you do. I always headed for the very last row of seats in the plane, and even if they weren’t assigned to me – they usually weren’t – those particular seats were almost always empty. Plus, they were right next to the bathroom, which, you shall see, I would need more than once as I quite gaily made my way across the country. Now picture this: a row of three seats with a single person (me), smoking up a storm, drinking like a fish, sprawling like a queen and having a wonderful time.

Can you see this happening today? Oh, maybe in first class or on a first-rate airline like Emirates or Alitalia. But otherwise, no way!

Well, things change, for the better and for the worse. For the airlines? They are striving to make more money (are they); for the passengers? We are losing comfort and gaining stress, not a lucrative endeavor, indeed.

Doggy DNA

RosieRosie, Posie, Pudding and Pie: just one of the many pet names I have for my precious little Boston Terrier (not). Why the not? Read on.

We were suckers. Both Dominic and I wanted a puppy, a Boston Terrier puppy, a cuddly little creature who would be with us for the long haul. Part of me is red-faced to admit we got a puppy; after all, I am a dedicated member of rescue organizations and we have two dear, older rescued Bostons.

Nevertheless, Dominic saw an ad for BT pups. Right away there were red flags – they didn’t want to send a photo (they finally did, couldn’t see much more than black and white), they were selling the pup for a friend who was ill, and they wanted us to hurry to buy her, and so on. So, off we went, and 2 ½ hours later we beheld this very precious, not-quite-Boston looking 11-week old puppy.

“I want her,” I announced, despite her longish snout, floppy ears, long tail, BIG paws, and coat longer than a BT. With a pronouncement by the seller that she was indeed a BT, off we went with our precious cargo with whom I was now madly in love.

But still, I was dying to know! After several months of watching our little Rosie evolve into something clearly not purebred, we decided to buy a doggy DNA kit to find out who she really was. After 8 weeks of anxious waiting, the verdict was in. Rosie was ¾ purebred BT and ¼ Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. What a surprise! This explained much about her physical characteristics. However, her rambunctious, smart, energetic and fun-loving self is pure and unequivocal Boston Terrier.

The Perfect Letter

When was the last time you received a handwritten, just-to-you letter, on pretty, even perfume-scented stationary? I don’t remember the last time I did. I have received beaucoup email, text messages, Facebook post responses and other e-messages. But hand-written letter? Nada.

When I was a kid, I had a number of pen pals and I relished writing them long, juicy, letters about all the things in my world, which of course, I thought were magical and creative. I talked about my adventures in grammar school. I wrote about my Barbie and Ken and their latest antics at my hand. I told about my horseback riding lessons and the pizza I made with my mother. And when I got their letters back, I loved every word and every minute of reading about the small and delightful things in their lives.

I remember trips to Scrantoms, the stationary and office supply store in the city and sadly long gone. A trip to Scrantoms was like Christmas. I’d pore over the boxes of multi-colored and decorated letter paper until I came across just the right one. Then, the pen – it had to match, and Lord knows Scrantoms had a huge selection. Finally – sealing wax – do you remember that? The seal, the color of the wax, all critical elements of what just had to be – the perfect letter!

The letters were an investment in these friendships. They took time, effort, and pleasure in their writing, and handed great glee in their receipt and reading. Somewhere I have a box of stationary around. It is old, but that’s okay. It’s time to bring it out and let some people how much I truly care.