Going Home by Plane

“Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.” Theodore Vail

The old four-engine prop plane was overloaded when we took off from the Rio de Janeiro Galeao airport. Looking back it was fortunate the International Airport was fairly new and had long runways that extended out over the water of Guanabara Bay. I may be exaggerating but that old clunker almost needed a push to get it airborne on the first leg of our trip back to Canada.

You may recall that Guanabara Bay is surrounded by mountains on which is built much of the city of Rio. It was those mountains that gave us the first firm clue the plane was severely overloaded. You see, this Columbian plane circled again and again to get enough height to get over those rocky peaks to head for its home airport. We might easily have concluded the plane carried too much weight by the baggage that crowded the aisle and between the seats. I assume many of the passengers were from Columbia and were taking advantage of reasonable prices in Brazil.

On that flight we had our children Monica and Vernon as well a friend Yoshikazo Takiya. We were helping him to find his way to a seminary in Kentucky. The flight for all of us was noisy with those old prop engines working hard—I wonder now if they were hard put to keep the plane flying. It was a long trip in comparison to what it would now be on a jet plane. In any case we landed at Medellin Columbia; reloaded and headed for Miami.

On that leg of the flight the airline stewardesses were handing out free drinks—lots of them. So the noise level from the passengers almost equalled that of the engines. Finally the pilot called for everyone to take their seats and put on their seat belts. That was not because of turbulence in the air. The turbulence was inside the plane itself. In any case we landed safely at Miami There as we were loading into a taxi I embarrassed myself by just speaking Portuguese. After our term in the interior with no English speaking people around, Portuguese had become the default language for everyone of our family.

This little story of our flight takes on tremendous importance for us since the newspapers carried bad news a week later. That the same flight crashed killing everyone. I cannot say that it was the same plane but my guess is that the airline operated with a minimum of oversight for all of their planes. In any case I’m judging from the overloading we saw at the takeoff in Rio.

So why would we choose this relatively unknown airline instead of one with an international name? A simple answer—the price of the plane fares. I am sure we could have chosen something better but with the mission we had been with, we were used to pinching pennies and cutting corners. In this case I believe that the Eternal Father had some of his angels take care of us on that flight. My assumption is that when we have made poor decisions angels give guidance around the detours we’ve arranged. In this case those angels put in a lot of overtime.

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