Yesterday I got to spend a day flying with angels, committing only a minor act of metaphor misuse. I carried some, and some helped us on our way.

The family flew to Chicago yesterday for a day trip. The excuse was the temporary reunification of a recently married couple who, for work reasons, have to live apart for a while. The angels on board the plane were therefore my lovely wife, boy, and another wife (but not mine).

A regular reader may perk up at the above and ask … “lovely … boy? but don’t you usually complain?”. Yes, I usually do. I think I would still advise couples against kids, for the sake of their own sanity. But during yesterday’s trip, Eric behaved .. angelically. He was all smiles, all talk, all curious, and mostly asleep during the airborne portions. These five extra hours of sleep perhaps bore some relationship to his absolutely charming behavior yesterday.

The weather gods were as content as we get around here. Calm air, awesome visibility, friendly controllers, an airplane in good health, humming nicely for two and a half hours As usual, we got underway 30 minutes later than I had hoped, an angelic customs officer lady at Chicago Midway let us pass without more than a little frown. Attentive line crew and office folks at the Million Air FBO had a rental car ready, and off we went.

Traffic on the Saturday was light, except for a nearby train intersection with faulty lift-gates. We drove past the corpse of Meigs Field (thanks, “Richard M. Daley, mayor”), into the towering downtown. We met up the other half our reuniting couple, and after a few minutes, packed up for a walk by ourselves to leave them alone. This area was lively with a throng of people not unlike that by Toronto’s ferry docks. There were more black and spanish folks in the mix, which was nice to see.

After a few hours, we had to head back to the airport to return home. As in the morning, we got airborne significantly later than I planned, and suddenly it was in doubt whether we’d arrive in Toronto in time before the island airport’s nightly shutdown. Several american and canadian controllers let us shave minutes off the trip by zooming directly toward Hamilton. There, an amazingly quick customs turnaround was made possible by Canpass folks grudgingly issuing a clearance number by phone instead of a visit. Less then ten minutes after landing, we were back in the air, racing for home.

It turned out that the racing was absolutely necessary. We landed literally one minute before the tower controllers went home for the night (9:45 PM). Had any of the en-route controllers failed to be utmostly helpful in letting us cut corners, we would have had to land elsewhere in Toronto and hitch a ride home. But in every case, their ephemeral voices said “approved”, “cleared direct …”, “descent at your discretion” … “keep your speed up”, … “cleared to land”. We ran off the plane, packing it up only partly, to get onto the ferry and to drive home.

It was along day that could have been derailed at many points. Instead we made it, elated and exhausted.