Winter Surprises

Working for the airlines had its ups and downs as Bernie used to say. One winter night, when he was returning to JFK from a Pan Am flight, the bus dropped off the pilots and cabin crew to the terminal’s snow-covered crew parking lot. Yikes! Tracings of cars peeped out from under the high drifts, daring to be recognized. Expletives didn’t help, but there was Bernie to calm down the gals. He helped several stewardess’s shovel out their cars and made sure they were good to go.  On another snowy night, he rescued one gal’s Volkswagen, but she found to her chagrin that it was deader than a doornail. Bernie’s jumper cables didn’t do the trick, so he drove her home to Queens.  

Another surprise with a happier ending occurred on Christmas day when Bernie was supposed to be away on a Pan Am trip. Lisa, Paul, and I were celebrating Christmas at my sister’s house as we had planned to do. The five little cousins were entertaining themselves in front of the Christmas tree, when Lisa began jumping up and down, and with glorious expectation, shouted, “He’s here, Daddy’s here.” The kids ran to the window to see for themselves. Yes, there was Uncle Bernard, waving to us as he approached the house. The kids bubbled up and so did I. 

Germaine threw open the door: “Bernard! You’re supposed to be on your way to Rome!”  

Bernie walked in, put down his Pan Am gift bag and smiled to his adoring audience. “Trip cancelled folks!” 

After the hug fest was over, Santa Clause opened his pack and the kids gathered ‘round, while he handed out little candy filled plastic airplanes to the squiggly kids. “Merry Christmas, kids.” For the rest of us, he pulled out a bottle of champagne, several tins of escargot, and a loaf of French bread baked that morning. One of the best things about Pan Am in those days was their well-stocked commissary at the terminal. 

And one of the best things about being married to my pilot was when winter became warmer when he was around. 

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