by Laura Leary
A short flight making undreamed dreams come true. An entry for the Writer's Cramp.
|The helicopter buzzed overhead. Kate, Dad, Dan, and I watched it hover between the orange cones before it landed in the otherwise empty field. Fellow campers leaped out and ran in a sort of bent over squat, fearful of the overhead blades.
“Dad, can we ride on it?” I asked, jumping up and down with the eagerness of a fearless ten year old.
“I don't know, honey, it is kind of expensive.”
I already knew it was $20 a person, a full $80 for all of us to ride, but it looked like so much fun. I had never been higher than a roller coaster, never even flown in an airplane. This was in 1984, even our video games weren't effective simulators. I just had to experience this.
Dad turned to Dan and Kate, “What do you two think?”
Kate's smile almost swallowed her face, “Yes, I would like to ride in it.”
Dan looked at the ground. He didn't respond, so Dad bought four tickets to ride the helicopter over Shartelsville, Pennsylvania.
As we ran toward the huge machine I hovered low as I had seen others do. The pilot asked, “Who wants to sit shot-gun?”
“Me, me, oh, please pick me.” I shouted over the idling motor.
I looked at Dad for approval, but he was already helping me climb into the seat as he and Kate took the back seat. “Where's Danny?” I asked, concerned that my brother wasn't climbing into the helicopter with us.
“He changed his mind,” Dad yelled as the blades began to whir into motion.
I guess I should have been disappointed but that didn't matter, my dad and best friend were with me, so all was right in the world.
As the huge machine began to gain altitude I eagerly watched the buildings surrounding the field getting smaller, through the glass nose; visible only from the front. Turning to look at my flight companions I couldn't contain my excitement.
The pilot turned to me, “Ready?” he asked.
“Yeah!” I said, feeling my eyes opening wider than I thought they could.
As we flew I took my disk camera out and shot picture after picture, quickly using up the 15 shots available and replacing them with a new disk. My heart was racing, and my breathing becoming labored, but I didn't care, we were creating memories that would last a life time.
Before I knew it our 15 minute ride had come to an end and we were hovering over the orange cones, preparing for landing. I watched my brother go from a tiny dot into a normal size 12 year old boy as he waited on the edge of the field.
Once we landed, I ran to him, “Oh my, it was awesome! You have to try it.”
“Oh no,” Dad said, “don't force him, if he doesn't want to, then he doesn't have to.”
“I do, Dad,” Dan responded, “I want a turn now.”
It was too late though, they were doing a drawing and that would be the last ride of the day. “And the winner is ...” the pilot shouted the numbers to the small crowd that had gathered.
“That's me!” Kate screamed as she ran toward the pilot to show him her numbers.
“And we have a winner!” he yelled to the disappointed onlookers.
Dan's indifference quickly became a smile as he, Dad, and I ran to meet the pilot and Kate for another round of flying over Sharltesville, Pennsylvania.
I didn't care that I was out of disks for my camera, I just wanted to share the joy of flying with my older, timid brother.
As we ascended into the sky I watched the onlookers trudging back to their campers at Mountain Springs Campground, there was nothing more for them to see, they were grounded by the drawing that didn't call their number.