The Friendly Skies

Jet‘Passenger Plane in the Sky’ by

When I was a young man, I began searching for the meaning of life. Along the way, I wrote a travel journal, a mix of prose and poetry, and labelled it Fool’s Odyssey.

I bought a ticket for midnight, April first, one way to London. Why London? I haven’t the foggiest. No pun intended. (OK, pun intended.) Seriously, I mean where else do you begin looking for yourself except for somewhere other than where you are?

Those old charter airline terminals were so godawful weird.

I don’t know what it was, quite, the pasty orange and yellow walls,

or the steward who looked like he shaved from the inside out,

and raised mushrooms for fun and profit, in his spare time, in his hair.

All I knew was that I wanted desperately to be anywhere but there.

After filling out the waiver that said I wouldn’t hold them responsible for anything that happened, I had the feeling a strange South American doctor would suddenly run up and want to perform surgery on me with a dull Swiss Army knife. “Anything”?

I just wanted to be free,

to be up in the air in a clean aluminum and vinyl jet

with big, strong, masculine Rolls-Royce engines.

Nevertheless, there was a kind of fellowship there,

a splendid, internal sort of aching, as we sat together,

all of us passengers,

staring at those ugly, mustard-colored walls,

sticking together like gluey little aphid babies.

Finally, we swarmed aboard. I’d already seen the movie and the earphones hurt. What was I doing there? The floor groaned. I held the plane together. Then suddenly we were up, up in the clean air, the friendly skies.

The stewardesses (stewardi?) were lovely but aloof,

like those little African deer.

We climbed swiftly.

The little deer bounded about,

checking seat belts in the marshy lowlands

and carefully removing complimentary drinks

from the paws of the great polyknit-bemaned lioni

who yawned and stretched in the first class,

grassy veldtland of the foremost northern plane.

This swiftly fleeting vestibule, this Herculean dart, was, for five hours, like an orange lobbed by a snotty, laughing, happy youth. And when it came down in Bangor, Maine, there was a good, drippy, succulent splat!

And we, like so many giggling, sticky aphid babies,

slid out with the seeds,

glinting in the punchy early-morning freeze-dried coffee sunrise.


In Maine.

Bangor, Maine?

What’s in a name?

Then back on the plane.

Pound-thrust, thrust-pound, rush-roar—

ain’t no big thing, we done this before.

See the sea?

Water, water, water, water—


To read the next episode, click here.

Fool's Odyssey (title art 2)

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Fool's Odyssey, Humor, Memoir, Poetry and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to The Friendly Skies

  1. Pingback: Not That I Was Looking for God… | Mitch Teemley

  2. The first time I flew across the Atlantic to London, I was surprised by all the water, water, water, water. Those were the days when airline commercials featured stewardi saying “Fly Me to London!”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. revruss1220 says:

    I can really relate to that moment in life when we are convinced that the surest way to “find” ourselves is to leave and go somewhere else. And the more exotic the “somewhere else,” the better. Can’t wait to read the next installment!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Gary Fultz says:

    And circle over Gatwick for an hour in the fog with 3 dozen other planes.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Gary Fultz says:

    Then you find out your pilot is reliving some ex-military experience when he says. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have an opening so in a few seconds we will go into a slight dive. We will be on the ground in a minute or two”. The rest of us then relive an amusement park ride.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: The Friendly Skies – No Obstacles

  7. c.f. leach says:

    “Fly the Friendly Skies” who from our generation doesn’t remember that line. I must give it to you braved many hours over the seas to get to yourself. Exotic but effective. Who knew? Blessings and Peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. So, will the meaning be found in the destination or the journey???

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pam Webb says:

    Water? Our route was over the polar ice cap. The sunrise was amazing!

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Pingback: Why? | Mitch Teemley

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