I’ve got another trip coming up – another big one, that is. Devon and I will be heading off together, sans kids for ten days on the road through Israel and the West Bank. Not a vacation, unfortunately – our itinerary’s got three or four meetings every day for the duration. We have carved out a day at the end to visit my cousins up at the kibbutz where my mom was born, but other than that, it’s a work trip.
Before that though – we still haven’t begun the pre-trip packing panic for Saturday’s departure – it was time to take a little trip, this one down memory lane. Twenty years ago to the day, Devon and I found ourselves at Boeing Field, looking at each other somewhat like Dustin Hoffman and Katherine Ross at the end of The Graduate: Oh dear – what have we just done?
We’d just purchased an airplane. I’ve told the story before of how we’d daydreamed about owning an airplane together. Not just any airplane – it had to have character: an antique ragwing taildragger. Something side-by-side, with a stick. Something just like Tom’s plane. I mean, no one else had even heard of a Commonwealth Skyranger. And two years later, when he let on that he was looking to sell ‘395, he said he wanted it to go to someone who appreciated it for what it was. Devon and I pooled our money – money I was supposed to be saving for a down payment on a house – and bought it.
So there we were, two itinerant grad students and their brand new 50 year-old airplane. Now what? In retrospect, it was kind of obvious: we looked at each other from across the plane’s narrow bench seat and decided that this was as good a reason as any to get married. Twenty years ago today.
This morning, the fog hung low over the bay. But it had cleared by noon, and I shot an email message off to Devon: was she free? We met at the airport and pulled the old girl out of the hangar together. We have a lot more miles on us now than we did back then, all three of us do. But some things don’t change. We trundled low over the hills of the east bay, rolling in and out of the hills and canyons. We watched the sun on the water, felt the wind on the wing. Talked about the past, about the future.
We knew it had to be a short flight, but we both knew it was long enough to get us where we were going.