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January 10, 1999

SURVIVING A DE-ICING

Visions of the Air Florida jet lying in the Potomac filled my head as I watched the person perched in the de-icing truck doing their thing.I was in northern Indiana for a job interview and the weather was not cooperating. Already I had been detained one day because of a snowstorm. Now it was the bitter cold that posed a new threat but obviously one that the pilot was willing to take.

I do not have a great fear of flying but rather a healthy respect. My main problem is that I have an over active imagination that tends to remember news clips of every tragic thing that has happened in my life's history.

I will not follow behind a truck hauling gasoline ever since the day when a train hit such a truck and everyone six rows deep on either side of the railroad tracks was instantly incinerated one sunny day in South Florida about six years ago. I now choose to avoid such trucks like the occasion of sin.

Obviously I survived the deicing, although crammed into the small commuter jet I thought of the surviving band members of Lynryd Skynryd talking about the feeling of going down in just such a plane. Trying to put aside such thoughts I returned to a book that I was reading on St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless cases adding to my reading my own petitions to the saint.

It was interesting being in snow again. I grew up in New Hampshire and have miserable memories of walking to school on winter mornings. Usually the trip was miserable because school had not been canceled. But as a small child the snow seemed to tower above my head and the wind seemed to blow its ice crystals right smack into my face.

Now I tower above the snow banks and ride in a car with heat blowing out in my face. It changes one's perception of the whole enterprise.

Everything seemed so white in Indiana. Someone asked me what the area was like and I had a hard time describing it even though my hosts were gracious in showing me the area my memories were all captured by the Christmas card-ish sights. The snow covered houses and roads took me back to my childhood.

It is easy living in the south to forget about the warmth that a house provides when you come out of the cold. It is also noteworthy I think that a visitor coming into a home means so much more when you are locked up because of the weather in the warmth of that home.

It seems that people living in the south (those that grew up in the north) try to recapture that feeling but it is just never the same.

There is something about paradise on earth that robs human life of some of its meaning, I think.

I once left the cold of the northeast in search of a paradise where warmth would greet me even in the middle of the winter and then felt robbed when I found such a place. I think I know why now, although it might be that I haven't thawed out yet.

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