Since I spend half my
life in the air, seems only logical that I'd meet the woman of
my dreams on an airplane, right? But I hadn't, through some 18
years of flying.
Then, Oct. 15, 1994, I
showed up for a flight to Des Moines. I wasn't looking to meet
someone special, and in fact, I was looking NOT to meet someone.
I'd survived the end of a long relationship in May and figured
to take the rest of the year off, dating some, but nothing serious.
At the gate, I found the
No 1 flight attendant and introduced myself as the captain, introduced
my trusty co-pilot, then discussed the flight plan and the weather.
Then SHE walked up--self-confident, gorgeous, smiling--and introduced
herself as a member of the crew. Her smile went right through
me. Lightening struck, smoking hole through my head and heart,
A hometown Fort Worth girl,
she was divorced, in her 30's, with a degree in engineering, but
could talk literature and loved endurance athletics. Five years
with American; I had 10. We had everything in common in tastes,
beliefs, interests, you name it--including, as we discovered gradually,
first, last and middle initials, plus even the same middle name.
By the third day, it was not a question of if, but when we'd see
each other again.
Two weeks later, we flew
to Memphis to do Halloween at B.B. King's Blues Club. Halfway
through the night, Preston Shannon, the headline act, picked us
from a packed house and announced, "We're going to play a special
song for the two lovers in the back."
We've come a long way in
one year. She's become my best friend and most trusted companion.
As much as possible, we arrange to fly together as a crew, but
if only one of us is scheduled to fly, the other often goes along.
Between October and the
time of this writing, we've flown thousands of miles, coast to
coast, north to south, and of course, to the moon and beyond in
our hearts. We got married on New Year's Eve. Her smile still
goes right through me, and I expect it always will.