the Basler Bomber (a DC-3 with a zillion hours, from airlinersgallery.com)
Everyone should have a cousin Eden in their lives. It's lovely when people express their sorrow at a loss. Like our Aunt Esther, who died last week at 102. But my cousin Edie doesn't just express her sorrow. She is elegant and spiritual in her sorrow. Like her comment about Aunt Esther….
May her name be a blessing among the righteous.
Wow. That's exactly right. Thank you my cousin..
And talk about a blessing. I have been truly blessed, but there were a couple of times I thought that there was no one looking out for me. Today was one and in 1976 was the other. The aircraft was called the Basler Bomber. Probably because it was Basler Airlines. We had leased this aircraft for the Udall campaign because we couldn’t afford much else. We were flying fro NY to New Hampshire. Not a long flight. So when we realized it was taking much longer than it should we started to get concerned. All the “A” list press was with us because by that time, they thought we might actually come in first instead of our usual place, which was second.
I was sitting with the candidate, Mo Udall, and I asked, “are we going to be Ok?” He was a former pilot. And he looked at me and said, “Sorry sweet child. I think we're going down.” Mo always called me sweet child, which made everyone laugh, but not that night. We were reported missing over New York or New Hampshire or Wisconsin. It is impossible to remember. All I knew was that we were going to die somewhere. And no one would care about anyone but Mo. I hated the idea of being an after thought. Like “today we lost a great political figure, Morris K Udall. On the plane were all these great reporters, and a few insignificant staff (me).” We ended up landing in New York or New Hampshire or somewhere in between. And we were alive.
We took off from Ft Lauderdale and got to about 30,000 feet when there was a horrible noise. It sounded like the plane was going to fall apart. It was a deep-throated vibrato, with much sympathetic shaking, both on the plane and in its seats. I asked David if we were going to die, and he said no. It was iffy as to whether or not I believed him. We headed back to Ft Lauderdale Airport with hope that we would make it. We did. And then we rebooked our flight, rented a car and waited two hours for our luggage.
With respect to Jet Blue, they were not very helpful. OK, they did not expect to have to cancel our flight. But they were totally unprepared to answer any questions, like “how do we retrieve our luggage”, or “are there any other flights going to Newburgh?” You would think that once they cancel our flight, they might have determined that people want to have information. And complimentary hotel or accomodation? You must be joking. This is the era of “treat people like crap, so we don’t owe them anything.”
When we flew on the Baessler Bomber, they never knew where or when we would be, but at least they pretended to know if we were going to stay alive. Today was a truly terrible experience. Frightening and unsettling. We have a will and all those things you need to have when you die. But somehow that was not reassuring. All we wanted to do was be on the ground. And eventually that happened. So we are going to fly tomorrow. Same flight, a day later. We are not afraid to fly. We are not afraid to die. But we agree that it would be terribly inconvenient at this point in our lives. We prefer to be alive and well and able to decide when and where we end our lives. To be honest, we cannot leave the family at this point. They are just not ready to make it on their own. And that's reason enough to defy any odds and fly from anywhere to anyplace. We’re just Sayin’…Iris