The Grinch hates flying

And especially itty-bitty planes

The Grinch made it to re-PLUS in Louisville on August 1. It wasn’t the first time I’ve gone to one of these but it was the first time I was going to one that was being held in a city where there was something for the rest of the family to do while I was hanging out with a bunch of demented decorators.

When I mentioned the possibility of attending to my wife in January she immediately replied “Sure! That sounds like it will be fun.” The kids, however, had a few questions they wanted answered before committing to the idea. “What is there to do in Louisville?” I had no idea so I went online to Google Louisville.

“Well,” I said, “it appears that there are caves, museums, a baseball bat factory and a riverboat.” When that didn’t arouse as much enthusiasm as I had anticipated, I added “And we can go visit Uncle Tom in Ohio while we are there.” Still nothing. “There’s a Six Flags amusement park.” “AWESOME!” they said in unison. “But we’re not going there” I said to their chagrin. “Awwww” was the reply.

I booked four tickets on a non-stop flight from Miami to Louisville along with a rental car and a couple of rooms at the Hyatt. I had everything in perfect order but our trip came very close to ending before it ever began…
When we got to the gate at the airport, it wasn’t one of those gates with a jetway to board the airplane. It was a gate you walk through and then get on a bus so they can drive you out to where the airplane is sitting on the tarmac and let you walk up the steps to the plane. In addition, as we went to get on the bus, they tagged all the carry-on luggage with “Valet” tags. As we stood at the bottom of the stairs to the plane, an attendant took the bags and put them on a cart along with everyone else’s bags. “They’re too big to store in the cabin. We’ll get them back when we land” I explained to the kids as we started up the stairs.

Our son was the first to go in, followed closely by our daughter. As she entered the cabin she immediately turned to me and said “Mom’s not going to like this.” As I followed her in, I realized what she meant. “I don’t think I’m going to like it either” I thought to myself as I turned to my wife to warn her to duck her head. As she entered the plane and saw how small it was, I distinctly caught a glimpse of that look on her face that says “I will get you for this. I don’t know when. I don’t know where. I don’t know how. But you will pay dearly for this.” In an effort to placate her, I quickly pointed out that it just LOOKED claustrophobic because all of the shades were closed to keep it cool inside. “Once they are opened it will be nice and spacious” I said reassuringly.

As it turned out, it wasn’t that bad. Once the shades were opened and we were in the air it was pretty much like any other plane ride. We landed and I quickly turned on my notebook to get directions to my brother’s place in Ohio. He had assured me that “It’s only two or three hours from Louisville.” Imagine my surprise when Google Maps reported the distance as 325 miles. “Hmmmmm…It appears my brother drives well over the posted speed limit” I thought as I dialed his number to advise him that we wouldn’t be seeing him the next day.

Since we now had a free day, I broke the news to the kids that we would, in fact, be going to Six Flags after all. “Hooray!” was their response, “We can ride roller coasters all day” I said. “Roller coasters?” they replied, “We thought it was a water park.” “Well, it has that too. But it has awesome roller coasters.” “Whatever” they said.
And so, the next day we found ourselves at Six Flags amusement park in front of some of the biggest roller coasters around and I didn’t have anyone to ride on them with me. “It’s no fun to go on them by myself. Are you sure you don’t want to go on the Chang?” I asked my wife. “Quite” she answered. “What about the T-2?” I encouraged. “Not likely” she said.

Fortunately, Carrie Sansing and Terry Powers were there that day so I was able to eventually ride all of the roller coasters. I must add that the T-2 experience was made even more thrilling due to the fact that as we were waiting our turn in line they had to thoroughly clean one of the seats after a rider left behind some “bodily fluids”.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that hot dog before riding this” I thought to myself as the gate opened and we walked out onto the platform.


This article was included in the October 2009 issue of PlanetChristmas Magazine.

By Chuck Hutchings

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