Air TransatOn the obvious side, presented with an opportunity to see your father that you have not seen in person for 60 years, one would assume that the logical course of action is straight forward; hop on a plane, go and visit. If only it were that simple. There are a lot of issues and doubts that present themselves. It’s like your teenage daughter wants to go on her first date and wants your permission. Your heart says “yes”, your brain is screeming “Hell NO!” and your protective instincts blurt out “No”. It’s always safer to say “No”. You can always reverse  your stand and say Yes later. The opposite? Not so much.With respect to a father son reunion, issues and uncertainties kept hurling my way like a meteor shower.  Will he like me? Will I like him? Will he like Linda, Will Linda like him? What will we say to each other? If I do go; when to go? For how Long? Will my health be up to it? Will my “but” fit the seat. Can the “but” survive the arduous 10 hours of sitting. In reality, most of these obstacles are there to rationalize and justify a “No” decision.

After much internal deliberation the fundamental “go”, “no go” was not difficult. Of course we’ll go! But when and for how long? My fundamental philosophy of trip to anywhere for any reason is that 1 week is not long enough and two weeks is too much. This trip was no different. Given the circumstances I relented and settled for two weeks. I googled the internet diligently for flights that included search for non-stop; one stop, two stops; factoring in leg room, butt room, perks, assistance, and price. The fallacy of doing it yourself with the internet for the sake of pride and a few bucks is fool hardy. I yielded to the experts and sought the services of a pro. Cu does  to the experts.  We got club class row 1. If we were any closer to the front of the plane I would have needed a pilots license. Good leg room, and pillows, blankets, slippers. The drinks kept on flowing. I got chariot service from check in to gate and down the ramp.

The peculiar aspect of the outbound flight was that we took off at about 8:20 pm in daylight, flew about 4 hours or so in darkness and then it was daylight again for a total of 8 hours flight time. We got a full blown dinner with bone china and metal silverware. I saw the cart taking dinner to “steerage” section, {the 300 + passengers at the back with screaming infants, snoring seniors and roaring engines}. Their dinner was a choice of something between two slices of bread wrapped in cellophane;  with plastic cutlery. We flew over Quebec, Labrador Greenland, Scotland, Holland Germany, Slovakia and into Budapest, Hungary.

The entire trip across the pond, where solitude was not interrupted by food, drink or service announcements in 3 languages; English French and Hungarian, I contemplated. As it got dark and the lights dimmed and the air was filled with the drone of the engines I was fretting over the ensuing first meeting with my father after 60 years. What would I say? Would I say it in Canadian, or Hungarian? Would I cry or suck it up and be a “man”. How will he react. I also stressed about how Linda would react to all this. I knew that it was going to be tough on her as a lot of the communication for two weeks would largely be in Hungarian. The game plan was that once we landed, I would call my father on the cell to announce that we have landed and to meet at the luggage carousel. As we touched down after 60 year absence the sun was shining with a clear 25C temperature. Best laid plans didn’t materialize. I didn’t know how to make a local (Hungarian) call on a Canadian cell carrier. As I needed assistance we were the last off the plane. Most everyone exited the plane on the boarding ramp. We deplaned on the opposite side of the plane as cargo. It was almost an hour by the time we cleared customs and was wheeled to the baggage carousel.Milti-2

I was discharged from the wheelchair and was walking towards the luggage when Linda yelled at me and I turned and saw her with Dad and at long long last the reunion began.