Hardest Thing

“So Brooke.  What’s the hardest thing about flying with birds?”

“Well Jimmy, I’ll tell ya.  The hardest thing about flying with birds is NOT flying with birds!”

And it’s the truth.  Standing down due to unfavorable weather conditions day after day singing “Hurry Up and Wait” and “All Dressed Up and No Place to Go” songs gets very old, especially when sung by a crew that can’t carry a tune.  The Mormon Tabernacle Choir we ain’t.  Not that a down day after our last fly day wasn’t in some sense a blessing in disguise.  I mean, we’re just not as young as we used to be and either is our rolling stock. A voltage regulator rebels in protest here while a tire or two flattens in solidarity there.  It can be a juggling act to keep the whole show on the road, but it is also a different sort of juggling act to keep it off.

Imagine for a moment watching your favorite National Football League team take the field on game day, go through pregame warm-ups, stand on the side lines with hands over their hearts while some has been country and western singer struggles through the National Anthem sounding like a stray cat just dropped off at the shelter, then suddenly the picture goes to freeze-frame.  A painted ship on a painted sea.  No action, no butt slaps, chest bumps, victory dances, or concussion carry offs, no beer commercials, not even a Gatorade victory bath for the coach.  Nothing!  At least you have a remote to reach for.  We don’t…and it’s frustrating.

“Patience, Grasshopper.”

“Kung Fu you, pal!”

If the government understood just how little we fly, we would no doubt have had to get a special license NOT to fly. But such is the nature of migration. Truth is, we are down more than we are up and it is a luxury indeed when we fly more than two days in a row.  Not that we haven’t had some good runs through the years.  Liz looked it all up the other day and we were surprised to learn that twice since this all began we actually flew 7 days in a row. That’s more than some commercial airlines minus, of course, the peanuts.

It is a tribute to our hosts that we have not all migrated to the Nut House.  Their generous hospitality and unending good cheer nourishes and sustains us and elevates our spirits.  I must admit, however, I am having more and more difficulty seeing my toes when I look down…not that I really care that much since my toes aren’t that much fun to look at anyway, even when they curl.  But I do wonder when the time will come when my trike will refuse to provide enough lift to get my ever wider, weightier and less than wonderful butt off the ground.

“So Brooke.  What’s it really like to fly with birds?”

“Well Jimmy, to be perfectly honest with ya… I just can’t remember!”

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6 Comments

  1. Janice October 24, 2013 7:28 pm

    Put on weight? We can’t tell. The costume fits as it always did, so no worries for now!! Once again, another great story, thanks Brooke.

  2. Ellen October 24, 2013 4:33 pm

    Patience is for those who aren’t on a schedule! There’s nothing I can say to lessen the frustration you all are feeling, but if it helps, please know that we’re all out here rooting for the OM crew & cranes. Hopefully the frustration will give way to a whole bunch of good flying days ahead!

  3. Patti Hakanson October 24, 2013 2:15 pm

    Brooke, this just made my day! I know it can be so frustrating on these journeys. Things will and do go wrong. But it sounds as if you all are holding it and the babies together just fine(???) 🙂 We so admire you-your co crew and your dedication!!!! I DO hope to be able to thank you in FL in person this year! YOu WILL get here! Thanks you all, and I hope things get better so you can all FLY soon!!!

  4. John S. Perilloux October 24, 2013 10:55 am

    “Has-been country singer”? Who would that be?

  5. Becky October 24, 2013 10:50 am

    I admire your dedication! How do you all stay warm up there when you actually do get the chance to fly with the birds? 🙂

  6. Ruth Mitchell October 24, 2013 10:42 am

    Brooke you are ALWAYS one I can count on for a smile!!! Thank you so much for being you!!! And I also hope you will send that thanks along to everyone on the crew and all of the wonderful hosts who let you spend time with them on the route!!! And give our Chicks a punkin for me!!!