The Smoothest Plane Ride Ever

I flew to Syracuse, NY yesterday morning to do my juggling presentation for the Upward program at North Syracuse Baptist Church. I woke up around 4:45am to catch my early flight, so I figured I could catch some zzzz’s on the plane to New York.

I boarded the second leg of my trip (Philadelphia to Syracuse) and was pretty tired. I sat down in my seat and prepared to doze off. The stewardess gave the “safety talk” and then the pilot taxied the plane to the runway. That’s about when I fell into my little cat-nap.

Now, when I cat-nap, I am still about 25% aware of my real-life surroundings. I heard the noise of the plane engine and I also heard the stewardess going down the aisle offering everyone something to drink (a mid-flight ritual). I remember looking at her in my cat-nap and politely declining the offer for some water, then going back to sleep.

My nap lasted about 30 minutes, and I specifically remember thinking the thought to myself, “Wow, this is a really smooth plane ride.” There was no turbulence – just peaceful, quiet, smooth sailing.

Then I heard some very loud engine noises and the plane increasing in speed. I woke from my dormant state and, you guessed it, we were speeding down the runway, not even in the air yet.

During my nap, we were waiting in a line of about 15 or so planes to take off. The stewardess was offering water during the wait time. I will still remember it as the smoothest flight I have ever experienced.

To Be a Joyner: for Cara


My brother, BJ, got married this past weekend to his sweetheart Cara. Cara is now a Joyner. Does she really know what that entails? She’s been gaining experience at it slowly and surely.

First of all, Joyners play Scrabble – lots of it. We play slow Scrabble, fast Scrabble, online Scrabble, underwater Scrabble, you name it. My parents are probably the heads of the underground-black-market-Scrabble-gambling operation and I do not even know about it. So far, Cara has adapted to the Scrabble thing.

Secondly, Joyners eat food – lots of it. We often like to get together and just “graze” around large islands full of M&M’s, hours-old eggs, Joe’s Market Chips and Salsa, and whatever else is pouring out the of refrigerator. And then we still eat a full meal, only to follow it with more grazing. I hope Cara likes to eat food as much as we do.

Third, not only do Joyners eat food, but they eat bread – lots of it. Mother Joyner (Maureen) keeps about 20 tons of grain in a large vat beneath the house and grinds it through a machine louder than the Apollo lift-offs all through the night. No wonder she has a cat with a tail that looks like a poofy cleaning product for window blinds found only on QVC for 3 easy payments of $19.95. Then Mother Joyner takes the freshly ground grain and bakes it into bread. She keeps about 8 dozen loaves on hand at any one time – just in case the FedEx guy can’t feed his children because of high gas prices. Either that or she is preparing some showy Sunday School lesson about the loaves and fishes. And these loaves are all kept in the freezer in the garage, so when you are the blessed recipient of her benevolence, you get to carry 4 or 5 frozen blocks of grain in a brown Ukrops bag back to your residence and wait about 5 days for them to thaw in your oven. I sure do hope Cara is ready to be such a recipient.

Lastly, Joyners do church events – lots of them. If there is a scheduled event put on by a church near you in the greater Richmond area, the Joyners are probably there – or they will send a delegation to pay their respects. I think the minimum requirement is at least one large church event and three small ones per day. The other requirement is that if there is music involved in the event, and at least one Joyner is present, then at least 50% of the time, a Joyner must be on the stage doing something. They can stand there and smile. They can play the keyboard. They can juggle flaming bowling balls. They can do whatever they want. As long as they are on the stage and visible to most of those in attendance, then the requirement is met. Since Cara is a dancer and good with crowds, I think she’ll be just fine on this one. Just don’t overcommit yourself Cara.

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