Saturday, October 22, 2011

MY FIRST TIME: Episode Two: And the Grammy goes to...

Synopsis: While taking off to begin my first-ever cross-cultural short-term mission adventure, the plane decapitated a red-tailed hawk, necessitating a return to Indianapolis instead of a flight to Miami.

While we sat in the plane, which sat at the gate, which housed the ticket agent, who worked for the airline that Orville built, it became increasingly clear that the visual inspection for hawk damage was going to delay us to the point of missing our flight from Miami to Panama City. Beloved and I informed our misnamed flight attendant how important it was for us to get to Miami and asked if there was anything that could be done to help poor, poor pitiful us.

Amazingly, our request resulted in quick action. We were soon hustled onto a plane heading for Nashville, where we would catch a ride to Miami, in hopes of arriving in time to board our flight to Panama City, where we would meet the missionaries with whom we would be working at a church in a jungle on an isthmus that God built.

One happy note: it felt really cool to be carrying a guitar case through the Nashville airport...walking in the steps of Chet Atkins and Roy Clark and thousands of nameless hopefuls.

At this point in the story, the alert reader will have noticed that the alternative plan for getting to Miami was filled with hope, not certainty. The reality of how the plan played out is that we landed in Miami just in time to see our flight to Panama take off. So, we retrieved our luggage, got tickets for the next flight to Panama City (which was the next morning), were given vouchers for dinner and a room at the Miami Luck-shurrey Sweets, and hopped on a shuttle to get there...all while failing to hear our names being paged by the CIY representative who had stayed behind to take care of us.

Said representative joined us at our table while we were eating our Chicken Chord-off Blew...had we known the next ten days would be spent eating nothing but chicken and rice, methinks the choice would have been cheeseburgers.

After being informed of the brand-spanking-new plan for the morning, Beloved and I retired to our room and spent our first evening on the outside-your-comfort-zone mission field in an eighth-floor Miami hotel room, watching Eric Clapton sweep the top categories at the Grammy Awards.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

MY FIRST TIME: Episode One: This is your captain speaking...

Back in my days as a vocational youth pastor/minister/guy, it was positively trendy to take members of one's youth group on short-term, cross-cultural mission trips...get the little whiners out of their comfort zones and show them a piece of the world that doesn't have instant access to high fructose corn syrup.

I sincerely wanted to jump on the bandwagon, and felt like I should have a similar experience myself, so I could recruit student participation with a modicum of integrity. Therefore, Beloved and I signed up to participate in a Christ In Youth (CIY)-sponsored/organized trip to Panama.

The fund-raising was fairly easy. It seemed that everyone in the Southern-Indiana congregation in which I was employed was more than happy to see us go...though several were trying to limit the funds coming in to the price of a one-way ticket. Hmmm...

Funds acquired, bags packed, and prayers said, we boarded our plane in Indianapolis, with plans to fly to Miami where we would switch planes and continue on to Panama City.

About halfway through the plane's ascent, we all heard something - a definite ka-chunk of some sort. I would even go so far as to say that I felt something as well...and not just the warm puddle that formed in my lap, but a disturbance in the Force.

Nobody said anything, and I was cautiously looking in Beloved's direction to Make Sure She Wasn't Alarmed, but when a co-pilot-looking youngster quickly toddled from the front of the plane to the rear, jingling either some keys or prayer beads in his hand, my keen intellect told me that something just might possibly be amiss.

Immediately, the plane went through a series of turns and banks that would have made the great Waldo Pepper jealous. I was about to ask for my third cartoon-decorated air sickness bag (Vomit Envelope; Hurl Holder; Puke Pocket), when the plane's intercom crackled into life:

This is your captain speaking. We appear to have sucked a red-tailed hawk through one of our jet engines while taking off. The ground crew at Indianapolis International Airport report they have found MOST of the bird. There doesn't appear to be any damage to the plane or any negative effect to our controls, but we're going to turn around and land back at Indianapolis so we can make a visual inspection.

You may be surprised to hear this, but not one person out of the hundred or so of us on that plane stood up and said, "C'mon, ya sissy! What are you afraid of? Let's GO for it!"

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Drugz R Guhd

The spam filter at my place of employment, Big Brother, Inc., is usually pretty efficient. I've never received an offer of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the prince of Turfghanstibull or been warned that Oprah Winfrey is planning on changing the U.S. Constitution so she can be not only Queen of All Media, but also of North America.

But every once in a great while, something redonkulous slips through and lands in my inbox.

Case in point is the following bit of lilting literature:

Wellbutrin SR is not habits forming unlike hard drugs.
They changes number of serotonin in the mind, which make you odd for
the few weeks.

You can get discount for your order. Save 11% on your ENTIRE ORDER.
Promo code is expire on 10/4/11.

Strange that the promo code is the word "expire" and that it's only good on one day. But I was sad that I missed the opportunity to save 11% (not 10%...not 15%...but 11%) because I could really use something that would limit my state of being odd to just a few weeks.