Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Get Ready, Folks!"

Sarah spends Saturdays in class, and I spend Saturdays trying to keep the gals busy and happy. This morning, on something like a whim, I took them to the (possibly last ever) N'awlins Air Show: I packed the papa purse,* loaded them in the car, stopped for cash and earplugs, crossed the mighty Mississippi, journeyed to the distant wilds of Belle Chase (I'd forgotten about that tunnel—how do they make tunnels in this silty river muck?), followed the waving orange batons, wove down a gravel road and across an open airfield, came to a stop on the runway-turned-parking-lot, gasped at a stunt plane tracing loops in the distance, trekked two hundred yards, stopped at a port-a-potty, trekked several hundred more yards, and took our place in the glacial line to enter.

We crept forward, watched a helicopter maneuver beyond the trees, caught snippets of the announcer: "the F/A-18... [garble, garble]... 650 miles per hour... [garble, garble]... get ready, folks!" It started as a speck and a faint rumble. Within seconds, it was large as life straight over our heads, and the sky exploded with noise. Louise covered her ears and trembled in wide-eyed silence. June covered her ears, buried her face in my chest, and burst into tears.

It roared skywards. "Is it coming back?" June asked. It faded, then returned, plummeting straight at us like missile, spiraling silently, and—at the last minute—pulling out with another massive roar, more deafening than the first. It turned and came back... and back. By the fourth or fifth run, the girls were wailing in unison: "I want to go! I want to go!"

We fell out of line and turned back (it was harder going this time—Louise was getting blisters), past the hundreds of new arrivals, caught a rickety old shuttle bus driven by a kid in fatigues blasting country music and chatting about the next plane up ("F-22 Raptor—best plane in the sky—hardly anybody's seen it before"), back to the car (at which point June told me, "I don't want to come here ever ever again"), back past the waving orange batons, back through the exurban sprawl, and back into the circuit of our normal lives.

I should have known: girls who hate thunder won't like Thunderbirds.

Really though, it was okay. An ambling semi-pointless trip, five minutes of awesome aerobatics, and a good Vietnamese lunch on the way back—that's good enough for me.**

* That's what the kids call my little Mister-Mom-satchel.

** Plus the weather today was magic.


  1. Anonymous10:20 AM

    Nightline did a story on the "man-purse" recently. There was some hilarious video--I don't know if it is still linked here--including a guy criticizing man-purses because "my wife carries my stuff".

    "Carlo Vogel" is my beloved cousin--how I got the link.

  2. Anonymous11:55 AM

    Oh my it bad of me to be laughing so hard at the expense of two little girls?