Yesterday I was on a plane. A tiny plane. The kind where you have to walk out onto the windy tarmac and up the steps past the cockpit to the back of the plane, where the seat choices range between “the one on the right” and “the one on the left.” The seats in the very back row run together, a set of three, like a bus or a minivan. I was tempted to head for them and sit in the “cool seats.”
Boarding this plane in Missouri, I couldn’t help but think of Laura. The plane she’d ridden in as a senior citizen, with Rose, probably wasn’t much smaller than this plane. I explored my own trepidation at the plane’s tiny size and wondered what her attitude had been. Had she been terrified? Had she been filled with excitement? Had Rose pushed her into it?
And this, of course, makes me think of the “other” Laura Ingalls — the one all of us have accidentally run across while googling — the famous aviator who broke all kinds of records, including her own, and died the same year as Rose Wilder Lane.
On the previous flight, before I boarded the miniscule plane to take me to my final destination, my seatmate was a lovely older woman born and raised in New York City. An artist, a poet, and a writer, married to a sculptor. I listened to tales of her long and wonderful life as a New Yorker. She thoroughly delighted me, and I in turn delighted her, telling her about Laura and, more specifically, Rose. There’s always a new member of the audience when it comes to Laura. There’s simply so much to tell.