I’m writing this from about 28,000 feet aboard Delta flight 1093 to Atlanta to visit my brother Ron. Now, Ron, who was a pilot for Delta for 27 years until his retirement in 2004, likes to say “Travel is a curse,” and he certainly traveled enough as a member of a flight crew to have enough bad travel experiences to be convinced of the veracity of his saying.
Sometimes, though, travel can be a blessing. So far into this trip (about half an hour into a two-hour flight) everything has gone swimmingly. I left for the airport fours hours ahead because I was having to travel in rush hour traffic and one never knows when there might be an accident. It took 45 minutes to get to long-term parking (normally it takes half an hour); I got a shuttle bus immediately, checked my bag and got in the security line at 7:30. That took half an hour and I was at the gate by 8:00. I got something to eat and waited for boarding to begin around 10:00.
During the flight, I was seated next to an attractive, nicely dressed lady and found out she was a psychologist. The blessing part came when I told her I had taught English in high school. It turns out her first husband was a professor at Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi. The Southern writer Eudora Welty loved the college and lived many years in a house across the street from the campus. My seatmate knew her, one of the icons of American literature! She said Miss Welty was genuine and unpretentious and made people from all walks of life feel comfortable. And of course, she was an amazing writer.
Sometimes, when we’re just going along, doing something ordinary, like traveling on an aircraft, magic happens. It happened to me today, and I am still in awe of talking to someone who knew Eudora Welty. Travel today was indeed a blessing.