Turbulence

Budding birch trees near Earthquake Park in Anchorage, Alaska

Talkeetna, Alaska – May 4th – My wise 76 year-old Father and I are about to take the flight of our life to Mount Denali. We and two older women from New Jersey are listening closely to the important safety directions before we can step onto the wing and into the small aircraft.

Our pilot Will explains… “Now, be aware if there’s turbulence…” and I forget the rest of his sentence because my Dad let’s out a noise all my family has heard many times over the years. (Rrrrriiiip!)

I can’t believe it… or can I? I look at my Dad and he has a twinkle in his eye. Did the others hear it? I softly punched his shoulder and whispered “Dad!” as he proceeded to do it again, this time louder and longer. I look at the other passengers and pilot… they act like nothing has happened and Will continues with his instructions. We silently and continuously laugh. I have a difficult time focusing.

The plane ride over the Alaskan Range was absolutely breathtaking, as seen in the photos below. I didn’t hear anymore “turbulence”, but it became an inside joke between my Dad and I for the rest of the trip, including our flights back home to Michigan.

So, was this natural biological response immature? Rude? Disgusting? Well, all I know is laughter is really important. I remember from his Dad, my Grampa, so many one-liners that cracked us all up. This was the same guy who installed Christmas lights and a horn on his wheelchair into his 90’s. I hope to make my grandkids laugh as hard as we did.

I’m so happy to have had this special trip with my Dad. He is a wise fool and I love him. Besides, a little turbulence is a sign of good health… and a life well-laughed.

Mt. Foraker at 17,402 feet
Mt. Denali at 20,308 feet
A miles-wide slow-moving glacier
Trees deposited in a riverbed, soon-to-be picked up again when the snow melts

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