Saturday, June 6, 2009
You Can Never Go Home
I have no idea where this adage originated but without question, it is true! I recently returned from a trip to Massachusetts, the land of my childhood. Every trip home reminds me of how much my life has changed since high school graduation in 1972. It also causes me to wonder where I might be if I had not moved west to attend Washington State University and study forestry. I never have to ponder the question too long to know that I made a good move in 1972!
The reason for my visit home was for the celebration of my mother’s eighty-fifth birthday. As the longevity gene dominates her side of the family, it will not be too long before we gather for her ninetieth! I did however note that as life’s milestones become larger, the corresponding celebrations become smaller. The unfortunate part of longevity is that each year, your list of contemporaries decreases.
During this trip east, I also had a chance to visit the site where I fought my first forest fire in the spring of 1971. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I remembered how unprepared we were to be working on a fire line. I also recalled that for supper that evening, the fire department treated us to bologna on white bread. Thankfully, the food served on the fire lines has improved greatly in the past thirty plus years.
After seven days of clear skies and comfortable temperatures, I boarded the plane and headed to south Florida for a quick visit with my aunt. When I planned this trip about eight weeks ago, my hope was that I might arrive early enough to avoid “the season of heat and humidity”. Alas, my hopes were quickly washed away as the flight approached West Palm Beach during a violent thunder storm. After circling the airport for twenty-five minutes, the captain announced that we needed to divert to Fort Lauderdale for fuel. After maybe another fifteen minutes of flight, the captain announced that the weather in Fort Lauderdale was adverse for landing so our next stop would be Miami. As I looked out the window, I saw a nearly endless wall of towering storm clouds. I couldn’t help but wonder what plan D would be if a decent into Miami failed. A quick check of the map confirmed that there were no airports south of Miami, unless you consider Havana, Cuba to be a viable option. Fortunately, the storm abated for a time and we quickly descended into Miami International for fuel and a safe haven to wait out the storm. After ninety minutes, we once again headed north and arrived in West Palm Beach, three hours late, but in one piece!
I spent a couple of days reminiscing with my aunt before once again boarding a plane for Oregon. Over the years I have made several visits to Florida but my visits were during the months of November or March, definitely at times when the heat and humidity is more tolerable!