Recent trip does not go as planned

Published 10:05 pm Monday, October 20, 2003

By Staff
A month or so ago I got a call from a couple of friends who happen to own their own private jet. Friends who also happen to be Georgia Tech fans. They called to ask if I wanted to fly down with them and some friends to Tallahassee to see the Georgia Tech/Florida State game. They said that the flight would take maybe an hour, we'd all see the game, and then be back in Georgia a little after midnight.
They also told me that I could invite a friend along as well.
Needless to say, I jumped at the chance. I told my friends that I'd love to go, and then immediately got on the phone to talk with Brother Foskey (one-third of The Brotherhood, the most exclusive organization in the world) in order to solicit his participation. Hugh was on it like a shark on a hamburger. We were going.
In the days preceding the game, Hugh and I talked several times about our good fortune. We talked about how unreal it would be to be in Georgia one hour, then Florida the next. We both wanted to see Doak Walker Stadium, as it's one of the largest in America. And then, out of the blue, Hugh says, "E, only thing is, I'm not looking forward to being in a small plane. The wind kicks 'em around pretty good, and I like being on solid ground."
Well, the Williams in me came to the fore, and instead of being understanding and kind, I gave Hugh a brisk ribbing about his fear. I told him that he was acting like some blue-haired old biddie, and then told him that once we were in the air that I'd start humming some Buddy Holly tunes. Hugh laughed, but said that he still had a case of the skitters. So I did the only thing that I could do -- I ribbed him just a little bit more.
Saturday soon arrived, and Hugh and I sat in the lobby at Lowe's Aviation, waiting to board the plane. Sure enough, a little after 5 p.m., a small jet landed and pulled up right next to our building.
Once we began climbing skyward, a very odd thing happened. Hugh appeared serene, and was handling the initial part of the flight just fine. I myself was a tad more nervous. I figured I'd calm myself by looking out the front windows, right out of the very same ones the pilots were using to see out of. This worked well for me for about ten minutes, right up until I saw this big, angry looking dark cloud coming right towards us.
I won't lie -- I flinched before we even entered it. Hugh, on the other hand, was quite calm and composed. Suddenly, it got very dark, and I saw streaks of water just streaming off the windshield. I swear it felt like we were going at least a thousand miles an hour. I was so flinched up that I felt like I'd practically sucked up the seat I was sitting in, and then it got even worse. The plane suddenly vibrated and dropped -- it probably was only a few feet, but it felt like fifty, and I sucked up enough air to fill up a whale's lungs. Then, when I'd steadied myself just a tad, we hit another dose of turbulence that caused the plane to shift from side to side, and then it took another big drop. This one practically caused me to expel every single bodily fluid that I have, and then, as quickly as it came, the dark cloud vanished and the skies were clear again.
I looked over at Hugh. He was poised and relaxed, none the worse for wear. As for me, I wished that I'd brought along an extra pair of underwear. Hugh then leaned back in his seat, smiled, and asked, "Ed, can you show me how to suck up all the air in this cabin in one second again?" I didn't even answer, I just patted him on the back, and then gave serious thought as to when I might allow myself to exhale.