THE MIDNIGHT SKULKER 7
San Diego, California
February 28, 1974
12:49 p.m. Pacific Standard Time
Over the loud speaker: “Ladies and gentlemen,” The co-pilot announced. “We’ll be making our final approach to Lindberg Field within the next few minutes so kindly observe the ‘no smoking and fasten your seat belt’ sign. The temperature in San Diego stands at a balmy seventy-four degrees with intermittent cloudiness. As a reminder, remember to set your watches back two hours as Pacific Standard Time is now twelve-forty-nine. On behalf of the Captain and crew, we wish you an enjoyable stay in San Diego and thank you for flying ‘United’.”
Pulling the stem and running his watch two hours in reverse, “Did he say ‘seventy-four degrees’?”
“Shhh,” her eyes closed again, “I don’t want to talk now.”
Coming out of the clouds, descending…
And purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plains.
Always thinking the words from the song, ‘America the Beautiful’ meant the mountains of America at twilight.
Living all of their lives in comparatively flat areas, other than movies, Marsha and Mitchell having never actually seen true mountainous terrain, “Oh, my God, Marcie!” Looking through the window, “This is incredible!”
“Marcie, come on, you’ve got to see this!”
“Really? I’ve really got to!”
“Yeah! Come on, take a look!”
Opening her eyes, leaning across her husband…
The plane banking, for as far as the eye could see, hills and some mountainsides were…”
“Oh my, God, Mitchie.”
November and December of 1977 and the first two months of 1978 being particularly rainy months for Southern California, inestimable millions of ice plants were in full bloom giving new meaning to...
And purple mountains majesty…
Lavender! The hills and lower mountains were bathed in lavender.
Leveling off now, approaching the narrow ribbon of concrete, the lavender bathed hills and mountains gave way to a profusion of colors as the flowers and flowering plants lining the streets running adjacent Lindberg Field hit the eyes of the winter weary passengers appearing as an eruption of glowing floral color.
Feeling as though stopping in mid-air – her nails digging in, Marsha’s suddenly wet hand painfully clasped Mitchell’s forearm as – feeling as though stopping in mid-air, the under-flaps dropped slowing the aircraft as the plane cruised… Lower… lower…
Closer to the ground now.
Now realizing just how fast they were moving…
Faster… Faster… Faster… faster. Faster until, ten yards, five yards, a yard… feet… The wheels feet off the ground the patched cracks in the runway and the grass alongside the concrete strip no longer a blur. Bumping once, and again, a blast of reverse air slowing the rushing plane…
Slower… slower… slowing…
“Ladies and Gentleman, this is Captain James Avery speaking. On behalf of United Airlines, the crew and myself, I wish to thank you for flying ‘Untied’ and look forward to serving you again. “
A feminine voice now, the stewardess standing forward: “Please do not forget any of your property stored in the overhead compartments.”
The forward hatch opening and a rolling staircase pushed to and fastened onto the plane. “Please,” the stewardess said, “disembark from the forward hatch.”
The aisle jammed with people retrieving their overhead stowed belongings, “Mitchie,” Marsha asked, “the real-estate guy, how’ll we know him… or her?”
Taking her purse from the overhead locker, “Alice said he’ll have a sign.”
Shuffling forward, finally reaching the hatch, “Thank you,” he said to the stewardess as, hand in hand Marsha and Mitchell Lipensky stepped from the plane onto the staircase platform into the…
“Oh, my God!”
February 28, 1974
8:45 a.m. Central Standard Time
Breath coming in thick plumes of vapor, walking as quickly as possible from the O’Hare Air-Field parking lot. Their jackets, zipped and buttoned from hem to throat, willowed in the howling wind.
Thank God! Pushing through the revolving door from the outside world of bone chilling, face numbing, squalling wind to the comparatively quiet warmth of the United Airlines Terminal.
San Diego, California
February 28, 1974
12:58 p.m. Pacific Standard Time
Marsha and Mitchell Lipensky stepped from the plane onto the staircase platform into the…
”Oh, my God!”
Lavender covered mountains in the background; towering palm trees, flower covered grounds and the Jasmine scented balmy breeze that, in its totality, seemed too beautiful to be real instantly reminding Mitchell of the Disney movie, ‘Song of The South’, and all that was needed was Uncle Remus singing, “Zip-itedy-do-da, Zip-itedy-aye, my-oh-my what a wonderful day!”
Stepping from the plane into the jasmine scented air of San Diego; in its totality, the beauty of what Marsha and Mitchell felt and what they saw seemed as illusory as a Disney animation cell.
Possibly the beauty of what they saw and what they felt intensified due to the frigid and winter filthy conditions of where and what they’d come from, however…
“Mitchie,” walking down the staircase, “it’s so warm and so beautiful! Prettier than I even imagined. Are we really going to live here?”
Breathing deeply of the sweet scented air, “My, God, baby! Five hours ago we were freezing our asses off, and now… I can’t believe it either. Now we’re in ‘Zip-itedy-do-da’ land.”
Hands still clasped, continuing down the staircase into, ’United Arrivals’ the first person they spotted was a well-dressed, middle-aged man holding a handmade sign that read…
“Welcome to San Diego
Mitchell & Marsha!!”
“Guess that’s our guy.”
“Yeah, I guess.” Walking towards the moderetly good looking man, “Hi, I’m Mitch Lipensky,” shaking hands, “and this is my wife, Marsha.”
“Marsha,” nodding his head, “Mitchell… Pleased to meet you. I’m Lennie Goodman of ‘Forrest Olson Real Estate’, and again, Welcome to San Diego.”
©September 25, 2011 / Mark M. Lichterman