After 27 months of mostly staying put, I finally got on an airplane once again. And, just as I did in March 2020, right before Covid shut down the world, I flew to Philadelphia to see our younger daughter. We had been planning this visit for months, hoping that neither of us would contract the virus last minute and have to scuttle the trip. Thank goodness, we both tested negative on Thursday night, the evening before my Friday morning flight.
And so, I found myself back in the stressful world of air travel, with its crowds and TSA checks and worries about whether my flight would actually be on time or late or, at worst, cancelled due to lack of available aircraft or staff. Thank goodness, the weather held, the flight was on time, and I survived feeling squished in a cramped, worn-out seat. And yes, I wore a mask from the moment the shared van picked me up at home until I stepped out into the warm June morning and found my daughter, waiting for me in her car.
And we had a great visit. Photos below include some of the highlights: a walk through the Magic Garden of mosaics in South Philly, my first in-person view of the Liberty Bell, an abortion rights rally outside the National Constitution Center—one day after the Roe decision came down from SCOTUS—with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (Democratic candidate in the crucial gubernatorial race this fall) and 1,500 citizens, a stroll down historic Elfreth’s Alley, and a brief but wonderful tour of Independence Hall and “the room where it happened”—debates over the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and what was to become the U.S. Constitution. Oh, and a lot of great meals.
Flying back on Sunday morning was a bit less smooth: my flight was delayed about 25 minutes because the co-pilot had to arrive from a separate flight, due to last minute staffing issues. Given all the SNAFUs that could have evolved from that one logistical issue, including a delayed arrival of the co-pilot leading to time-out issues for the rest of the crew (yes, this once happened to me), it was a relatively minor inconvenience. Overall, the trip was a home run.
How appropriate to visit Philadelphia at this critical inflection point in our nation’s history, how meaningful to be able to share it all with my younger daughter—and how great to feel like I can travel afar, relatively safely, once again.