My first trip by airplane took place when I was 11 years old. In 1985, you could still smoke on planes, much to my dad’s relief. He hated flying, and smoking was one way to alleviate his fears. We were going to Tennessee to visit my mom’s family, so a train or bus was out of the question, with us departing from California. I remember there was a lot of activity and anxiety about the trip beforehand. I’m pretty sure my dad tried to back out of the trip on more than one occasion.
Once he was on the plane, he was fine, especially when he could light a cigarette and chat to the person next to him. There may or may not have been an alcoholic beverage ordered. I believe my mom tried to get the two of us seats in the “non-smoking” section, but really, what difference does it make in those close quarters?
Luckily, the weather was good and the ride was smooth both ways. In fact, the only incident of note came when I got lost in the LAX airport on the way back home, somehow managing to get separated from my parents. I had never been so happy to hear my dad’s voice calling my name as I was at that moment where he spotted me in the crowd. Dad’s long legs and fast walking had come in handy once again.