Yesterday, Mark, my son Nathan and I joined an expedition on sorts - a long-planned journey of most of the Koepke clan to Maui for a family reunion and vacation. The group consists of Mark's mother; his brother Tim, his wife Marie and their two daughters (the Koepkes); his sister Deb and her husband Neil and their daughter Sarah; his sister Rebecca and her husband Rick and their four children (the Arnolds); and his sister Sarah and her daughter. If you're counting, that's 19 people all together. It's going to be an interesting week logistically.
We flew from Salt Lake to Phoenix, where we joined the Arnolds and the Koepkes. This was the first time Nathan has flown (if you don't count the time when he was 14 months old and we flew to Seattle). He was nervous and excited, as could be expected, but he managed to land in Maui without having to use the barf bag.
Above, Nathan is posing for the inevitable Facebook/Instagram photo. He entertained himself by watching Family Guy episodes on the iPad he borrowed from his brother.
As to our experience on the six hour flight to Maui, it is best captured by the following passage from an email that Mark sent to a friend:
"I'm on an airplane headed to Hawaii ... Haven't started drinking yet but on the verge. We are about 3 rows up from a child that is probably about a year and a half and hasn't stopped screaming for the last 3 hours. If I was the owner of an airline I would make possible children-free flights. This is ridiculous. Literally non-stop screaming ... The other thing I would do is rethink the entire flight attendant thing. They have got to be the rudest people on the planet. My god you would think that they would understand that when they hire these people, they need to keep in mind that you have this large group of people that given the circumstances are pretty well behaved despite being cramped up like sardines and that they need to find people that are generally very very kind and helpful or at the very least properly medicated. Sheesh!"
As for me, I hibernated with the help of my iPod, my earbuds and my Kindle. I alternated between reading A Queer History of the United States and David Sedaris' new book Let's Talk Diabetes With Owls. With respect to the latter, reading Sedaris was like balm to my cramped and kid-screaming-shell shocked soul. I had to restrain myself from laughing too hard at certain places; why, I don't know - the people around me wouldn't have even heard me over the kid screaming.
My favorite passage was when he described his first exposure to the German language: "In the beginning, I was put off by the harshness of German. Someone would order a piece of cake, and it sounded as if it were an actual order, like 'Cut the cake and lie face down in that ditch between the cobbler and the little girl.'" He went on to explain, "I'm guessing is comes from having watched too many Second World War movies." I have to admit that I suppose one reason I found this passage so funny was because I was imagining the screaming kid as the little girl in the ditch. (Just kidding ... Sort of.)
Off to the beach!