Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often. – Johnny Carson
Celebrates Thanksgiving. The day before Thanksgiving is one of the heaviest travel days of the year. This is true of all modes of transportation, but none more filled with tension than air travel. During my years in air traffic, I worked many of these days.
From the inside, it was serious business. I arrived to take my position at the radar in the Los Angeles Center with coffee at hand, my mind focused and with a bit of apprehension for the task at hand. It was fun and awesome at the same time.
Those days were also days of honor, where I could serve the travelers of this nation, even the world, so they could get home to be with family and loved ones. I was aware of what was at stake:
- hugs and tears of welcome
- reminiscence with family and friends
- reminders of those no longer with us
- grandparents seeing grandchildren, perhaps for the first time
- and perhaps some reluctant endurance of bad memories
Whatever awaited at the end of each passenger’s voyage, we did our best (really) to not add to the stress of the travel.
A Recent Reminder
A few weeks ago I made an overnight trip to Zion, IL forty-five minutes south of Milwaukee, WI. I got out of bed at 4 AM, caught a 6:10 flight from Wichita to St. Louis, and then on to Milwaukee. There I grabbed a rental car and drove to Zion arriving at 11 AM.
The weather was perfect, there were no mechanical issues and I had no checked bags, all of which aided in the expeditious trip. The next day, reversing the itinerary, I left Zion at 1 PM arriving home at 11 PM. Knowing all the moving parts and potential pitfalls is a blessing, helping me cooperate and navigate. At the same time, being aware of all it takes for this level of efficiency makes me appreciate a flawless trip even more.
Along with the flawless trip, I am grateful for receiving a clean bill of health from my oncologist at the City of Hope in Zion, IL. They manage health care with an adeptness that parallels air traffic control.
Today, I have to admit, I don’t miss the tension and stress of working live traffic. Yet, neither do I regret having served in this way. As I said, it was an honor. I do still enjoy air travel, especially when it goes so smoothly!
So from Maison Steinbuchel we sent our warmest prayers for a day filled with peace, good food, and fellowship, wherever you may be. For those facing difficult or challenging circumstances, my prayers are with you. For those serving our country in the military, public safety, air traffic or any other civil service, we send our thanks.
If you are serving in some way away from friends and family, please let me know in the comments below. I want to thank you personally. If not, where are you spending your Thanksgiving this year?