Tuesday, March 18, 2014
I just took an airline trip recently. Things sure have changed in the last 50 years of air travel. Now you have to bring all sorts of identification and get searched. Your luggage is inspected and sniffed. You stand in line for a long time to have three people look at your ticket. Even the ticket is checked four times.
I called my grandmother "Gran." Her best friend was Miss Lizzie. They were not beer drinking best buddies. They were more like the Queens of the Garden Club or the Bridge Club best friends. Just about everywhere they went they were dressed in their finest clothes. Even the smallest trip was a great adventure.
Right after I got my drivers license, I was privileged to take Gran and Miss Lizzie on a grand adventure. Miss Lizzie was going on an airline trip. My job was to drive Gran's car to the airport in Charleston where we would drop off Miss Lizzie for her trip. I don't remember where she was going. She had two large suitcases that seemed to weigh 100 pounds each. The drive to Charleston was on the two lane Highway 52. Traffic was not heavy and we made the trip in plenty of time. Gran and Miss Lizzie had a wonderful time joking and talking about their past trips and big parties they were planning. They knew how to have a good time. We arrived at the airport and I helped a skycap put Miss Lizzie's suitcases on a big cart. If we had tried to carry the suitcases it would have killed us. Miss Lizzie got her ticket to get on the plane and the suitcases were whisked away.
Gran and Miss Lizzie walked down the corridor toward the gate. There were only a few gates at the airport then. Their talking and laughing seemed to part the Red Sea. People moved out of the way as they came down the corridor. "Ooooh Anne Lee, did you see where Dr. Smith had moved?" "Ooooh, Lizzie that shocked me too!" The Oooohs seemed like squeals of delight and the rest of the people in the airport watched in amazement, as these two ladies seemed to suck all the oxygen out of the room. Miss Lizzie walked to the door that led out to the airplane. The airplane was pulled up as close as possible to the building. Miss Lizzie started walking toward the plane and yelled out, "Young man can you bring the plane over closer to the building?" The gate agent advised her that they would be boarding the jet in a little while.
Miss Lizzie advised all the people standing around that they could get on the plane in just a little while. Sure enough, the gate agent came in and told Miss Lizzie that she could get on the plane anytime she was ready. Before she boarded, she had a bit of advice for me. She called me aside and told me not to let anyone put something in my drink if I went to a party. She also told me to drive carefully when taking Gran back home.
Gran and Miss Lizzie had one more big "Ooooh" and then she got on the plane. After all these years, air travel has really changed a lot. I know I've never had an airline trip that was nearly as nice as she had.