Caussey's Corner

Lay’s Potato Chips, Sara, Dr Pepper, and Me: A Texas Teacher’s Plane Trip

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I wanted to stuff the kid through the window. But she didn’t wait for an answer when she charged again.

“Is she still in school or away at college?”

“Well…”

“Do you have a dog? I have a dog and he had puppies. Do you know where puppies come from?”

The guy sitting in front of me turned around and said, “Buddy, I wouldn’t answer any more questions.”

By now, I was beginning to wonder if I could jump out of the plane.

Then by magic, the attendants appeared, pushing their carts, and asked if I would like something to drink or would I rather continue my conversation with Sara.

“Quick, I would like a Dr Pepper,” I said. “Make it a double,” I added.

After I had been served my Dr Pepper and Sara her potato chips, she suddenly announced she had to go to the restroom. I could hear her moving down the aisle talking to people. Sara’s mother, who was sitting with her other daughter directly behind us, moved into the seat next to me where Sara was sitting.

“Sir, thank you for being so nice to Sara. The last month has been hard on her. Her Dad took her brother and moved out of the house and up to Chicago last month. Sara misses him so terribly. Then her Grandpa died and she seems lost. She whispered to me as she was going to the restroom that she had a new friend, that she liked you very much.”

“Did you like my mom?” said Sara. “I saw her talking to you. She has been real sad since my dad went up to Chicago for a vacation. I don’t think he is coming back. With Grandpa gone and dad on vacation, you are my best friend now, Mr. Durhl.”

I looked across the aisle. The two ladies sitting there had tears in their eyes. A man came down the aisle; blew his nose into his handkerchief and just shook his head.

chip fi

Photo: Pixabay

As the big plane raced toward home, I again tried to rest, but Sara would have nothing of it. She decided to write me a letter to remember her by.

“To my friend Mr. Durhl,” it started out. “When you get back to your house, you can read this letter and remember me. I will be the girl you met on the plane. I want to be a teacher just like you someday. And tell the boys and girls stuff and make them my friend.”

Then she drew and colored a picture of a man wearing a cap, holding the hand of a little girl with long black hair. Underneath the picture she wrote in bright red crayon, “My Best Friend.”

There was a man seated across the aisle just in front of the two ladies. He turned and asked Sara if he could see the picture. She smiled and gave it to him and then gave him my letter.

Turning to me she said, “You don’t mind, do you Mr. Durhl? Sometimes I draw a butterfly on my friend’s hand and paint it pretty colors,” Sara said as she picked up my hand and began to draw. “I’m going to use my special colors and make it bright.”