With a long way to go and a lot to see and do, we departed L.A. a few days early for Thanksgiving this year. Though BC has been to Ohio several times before, his most recent journey was almost a year ago and before he could walk and talk. So we had no idea what was in store for this 4+ hour flight with the Little Dude, but hoped for the best.
A lot of people suggested we use Benadryl or some other sedative to help make it through the flight. But the thing I didn’t understand was if we tried one of those and it worked, who would watch BC for the duration of the flight? We decided to just hope for the best. And bring a lot of candy.
We left the house early and arrived at LAX 90 minutes before our flight. We checked our bags and headed to security. With a slew of lines, we were quickly pointed in one direction by the lead TSA agent. After not moving for a few minutes, I looked ahead to see what the problem was. It was then that I noticed that we’d been profiled by security. As parents. We’d been directed into some sort of “family line”, which I guess is intended for people who’ve never been to an airport before and don’t understand how metal detectors work. After we made it through the line, one of our bags was flagged by the x-ray machine and had to be searched. The Little Dude’s Elmo sippy cup appeared threatening to the TSA agents. Fortunately the water inside was non-lethal, which isn’t always guaranteed in Los Angeles.
For several months, the Little Dude has been obsessed with airplanes. Any time we see one, whether in the sky, on TV, or even in a book he feels compelled to point it out. So taking him to the airport was like leaving Kirstie Alley unattended at The Cheesecake Factory. He went nuts. Roughly every 7 seconds we heard exclamations of “Airplane! Airplane!”. I tried to explain to him that we were actually going on to be on an airplane shortly, but the excitement continued even after we boarded. Good thing the flight was only supposed to be 4 hours.
Once we found our row it was a thrill to notice that there was a 3-month old sitting right behind us and a 6-month old 2 rows in front of us. For a change we could be the dirty look givers, not receivers.
BC had a good time once he was reunited with an old friend: Elmo on the portable DVD player. Like a lot of parents, I don’t think using TV as a babysitter is a great idea. More like fantastic! We got to watch several episodes of Elmo’s World and afterward I figured we were almost to our destination. I checked my watch and it had only been 2 hours, with 2 more to go. Where’s that Benadryl…
We played games, colored, ate and it was only another half an hour. What to do next? I volunteered for every traveler’s favorite activity: walking the kid up and down the aisle. Either people are much larger than they used to be or those aisles are more narrow, for even the Little Dude had a hard time wedging through some of the herd who opted to clog up the passageway.
We finally arrived in sunny (I mean grey and cloudy) Cleveland. Since BC had been cooped up for quite a while, we wanted him to get some exercise. Fortunately, the fine folks at Continental Airlines helped us out by taking 40 minutes to spit our bags onto the conveyor belt. After a shuttle bus ride that would have reminded me of Space Mountain if it had been a little more smooth, we arrived at the car rental station. Again, we had great cooperation from the Budget agent who unsuccessfully tried all kinds of shenanigans to get me to “upgrade” and overpay for an unimpressive Dodge SUV, so BC got another 45 minutes to run around the rental area. He got so much exercise that if he ran any more, people might have confused him with Forrest Gump.
All in all, it was quite a day. BC behaved very well and we all survived the journey. Even better was right after leaving the car rental place, I had the foresight to order my favorite hometown food to be delivered to our destination and the driver arrived about 5 minutes after we did. Check out this pic of the world’s best fried chicken from Rizzi’s in Copley, Ohio. If you’ve never had it, you are missing out. And probably much thinner than me. I’m not a big turkey fan, so now I can honestly say that I ate a terrific bird while on this trip. Let’s just hope the next few days go as smoothly as getting here.
Happy Thanksgiving! What are you Thankful for this year?
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--JJ aka The Dude of the House