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Friday, October 19, 2007

The miracle of SWA/Flight 2491

Sonny Bono NWR at the Salton Sea

I’m just back from a three-day conference in San Diego. Monday was my day off so I flew down, then headed out to the Salton Sea; a sort of woebegone accidental super-saline lake, normally hot and oh-so-stinky. It being November I expected the weather at the sea to be cool with wafting winter winds of lavender scents. Nope. Still stinky.

Course, if there are birds to stare at, stinky is ok . Took the scenic route from San Diego passing Pine Valley & other places I loved as a teen. Those places now seem so thoroughly unfamiliar. A three hour drive got me to the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge. Sort of sad that Bozo Bono wanted to be remembered for his efforts to save the but all I can think of when I see his name is him careening downhill over a snowy slope towards a pine tree.

Gambel's 'desert' Quail

Cooperative Gamble's Quail Hen

Desert Cottontail - is the bun-bun adorable or what?

So Monday was the wildlife refuge and the remainder of the week I squeezed in a couple of great visits with my buddy Joann and her family. I haven’t seen them since we visited Yosemite last year. Joann cooked the traditional Claire's visiting dinner for me, which is stuffed pork chops (I'll spare you the long story).

Joann and Gene, posing with Gene's pet Desert Tortoise


Later in the week Joann and I drove down to the new Tijuana Estuary National Wildlife Refuge. I turned the camera over to Joann and we shot the town up - photo wise.

Reflections at the Tijuanna NWR Visitor Center

Lawn Trotting San Diegan Marbled Godwit

So now I’ll tell you about the miracle of a sort. I boarded a jam-packed earlier flight home. Across from my aisle seat was not one but two fractious kids; a two year old and a baby. An air hostess walking down the aisle did a double take when she saw the second kid. She appologized and informed the adults that one of them would have to move to a seat in the back of the jet. The three adults looked politely at the air hostess and budged not an inch.

“But there are four of you,” insisted the air hostess, “but only three sources of air if there is an emergency and this plane is going down. The toddler boy, who was standing in front of his seated mother was pounding on the back of the seat in front of him chattering like the little monkey he was. The adults still smiled indulgently at the air hostess, still unmoved - literally.

Now two air hostesses stood over the three adults explaining how the plane wasn’t going anywhere until there were only three people in the row. It was a showdown and the adults were adamant – they weren’t moving.

I tapped the stewardess on the shoulder.

“No problem. He can have my seat.”

Claire’s motive: Get me the hell back to Sacramento with all due speed! The stewardesses, and less so the 3 adults were thrilled.

“Sir, you can sit right across from your wife, daughter and grandchildren!

I, the wonderful woman in question, moved.
Twenty minutes later, when asked, I asked for a sparkling water.

The air hostess winked. “You deserve a reward. Anything other beverage that might suit you?”

Things were looking up!

“Uh… maybe a dark beer?”

“Oh,” she said sadly, “we haven't any dark beer. Perhaps you would like a nice cup of coffee - with some Bailey’s Irish Cream?”

How's that for a miracle?

Joann's Best Shot

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