Dec 222013
 

I think it was the smallest commercial plane I’ve ever been on. Every seat was a window seat … and an aisle seat. Sitting in 1A, I could just about reach out and touch the pilot.

None of that bothered me. I’ve been on small planes before. It was when I realized that the “flight attendant” doubled as the co-pilot that I started to wonder what I’d gotten myself into, especially when he needed a flashlight to ensure the outside door really was shut. And when I realized that the pilot was coordinating with the gate agent by shouting out the window. Then there was the shaking and vibrating as we went down the runway.

And after we were in the air, the cabin went dark. Not just cabin-lights-dimmed dark, but pitch dark, can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face dark.

The plane had been cold when we boarded, then there was a rush of warmth as they turned the heat on. But then it got cold. And colder. My brain told me that there had to be some heat on. The air at 10,000 feet would be bitterly cold, and I was just uncomfortably cold. But huddled in my seat, coat wrapped around me, gloves on, scarf on, I continued to have visions of the frozen air outside and frozen ground beneath us.

A Dakota puddle-jumper run was an interesting experience. And my ancestors came to these prairies by wagon, so I tried to keep in perspective really how cushy I had it. But I think I’ll aim for a bigger town next time.

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