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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 4:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 11:41 am
Posts: 1231
"Well we made it”

I love pictures and love the old ones best. Pictures of my grandparents when they were kids, impress me the most. People always sat straighter in 'them olden times'. Looking through some old pictures, I found one of my grandfather sitting in a waiting chair at the airport. There was once an area where you could go up and sit and see the arriving passengers fighting the wind as they crossed the tarmac between the recently landed plane and the airport building. Almost all the men held their hats on top of their heads by using their right hand and – the left hand normally carried a small case or held the jacket closed. People traveled in suits then – Many of them “white’. Hardly anyone wore a baseball cap or anything with “Panama Joe” written inside or outside. Women wore dresses (a rare thing now) and also used their right hands to hold on to their hair while the other hand held the middle of the skirt and bunched the cloth towards the legs. I remember that the harder the wind blew that the women held on to the skirts tighter and walked with their knees slightly bent.

In those days, at the airport, it was a time of rituals. When a plane landed the first to leave the landed plane were the passengers and then there were a few moments of nothing to be followed by the Captain and his Co-Captain. They would give little smiles and ‘salutes’ to the stewardesses as they passed them. Everyone, including the stewardesses, always looked at the pilots with that “WHAT A MAN” or “MY HERO” kind of look. Well to think of it, to pilot a silver tube loaded with about 120 people siitting in back of you, deserves that kind of admiration – even today. The stewardesses left last and then the guys would pile in to clean up things and re-stock the silver tube once again. Planes always faced the wind and pieces of wooden block kept them in place when pinched against the tires. The propellers had belts that fit on the blades so that they wouldn’t turn in the wind. All the holes for the engine were covered up and the plane was basically put to sleep until “further use”.

Romantic times – to say the least. I wish we had more pictures.

When my family looks out the window at the airport, they see monstrous walls of steel that are the sides of the plane. Long square umbilical chords connect these monsters to the airport building and those who were waiting inside to be born into our sun and wind, walk down those tubes and into more internal structures. (The birth process has been complicated – to say the least). Air conditioning is no longer a wondrous thing to make us comfortable – it is expected and complained about when not working. Walking has been replaced with gliding up and gliding down. Lines are resented and doors without eyes are considered antiques. People actually bump into them when they don’t have eyes to let some mechanism know to open for your passage… and no one says thank you to the door-man since he is no more and none of us would dream of thanking the door-mechanism, or would we? Mechanisms have feelings too – you know. Oh well.

The ride to Aruba has changed and the landing does not happen anymore when the plane lands. I don’t even know what happens to the stewards and pilots anymore. At the door of the plane, someone says “y’allwecumt’ruba” It is a very forgivable slip of the tounge since they repeat this 400 times in about 10 minutes, No – now the traveler has to wait to get his luggage and bundle it all into a food shopping cart and then tighten his jaws and lips as he goes to final inspection. If they ask to open the bags, then arrival or better yet the “landing” is further delayed.

The landing to this sweet-thing-of-an-island happens about 45 minutes after the landing. It happens when the traveler leaves all of the conditioned air and silver tubes and long lines and inspections and proof of this or proof of that and when he has been allowed to pass through multiple checks to a sliding door (with eyes) that says exit. Yes – the passenger enters through the exit door.

When they arrive, our visitors walk to the wind and stands there. they hold their Yankee baseball caps with their right hands and let the wind tear at their shirts. The people arriving now stop a moment and look at the sky and understand why they have landed. The mountain of luggage has morphed from need–to-take to a royal pain and all that counts is that they have made it here.

Along with the wind, they get the greeting from the “taxi-guy” He walks up to them wearing his yellow, green and red head piece and says TAXI ? You want to say hell yes but know to just smile. A car shows up and you are greeted once again as the luggage disappears into the rear and your door is opened. You hold the “Missus” hand as she slips in to the back and your other hand slips a few bucks in to the “taxi guys’” hand. Slip here, slip there.

Then it comes. It has to be said out loud:
“Well we made it”

A special little squeeze of the hand or a quick lean on a shoulder. The words to the resort are mostly along the lines of “Look honey, they changed” … or “There it is – same as last time”.. or “Should we call and let them know?”…

Bell men and front desk people let you know you are home and the small lizard on the window sill has waited since last year in that same spot and prooves beyond a doubt that somethings are timeless.

In the room the AC goes on and showers will be taken. Food will be eaten in an cool restaurant environment. Short walks will be made and tired travel glances will be shared as you walk. Then – in the dark with nothing but the air-conditioned sound in your ears and the same air into your lungs you will utter …“We did it - well we made it – we got away from it – paradise at last - wasn't the air at the airport just delicious? - Yes .. it was...

be well
charles


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