I have always loved the day-before Thanksgiving. I remember the drives to Grandmother's house up Highway 99 in the fog, my sisters and I in the backseat that had become a makeshift futon. Amazing how resourceful our father was with plywood back then. Years later as a television news reporter, I coveted the night-before-Thanksgiving requisite live shot from the Palm Street overpass. Beneath me, a bumper-to-bumper carpet of headlights and tailights. The travel, or coverage of it, always signaled the beauty of Thanksgiving and eagerness to be with the ones we love. Unfortunately, not everyone's trip to the table Thursday will be wrapped in warm experiences. An estimated 23 million people are expected to take to the sky within the next ten days, still making it the busiest travel day of the year. It will also be among the most uncivil. If that includes you, make sure to pack plenty of patience. Longtime friend and former Bakersfield resident Kathy Eddy, who now lives in Fairhope, Alabama with her husband, former KC District Attorney's office investigator Howard Eddy and their two boys, shared some useful advice recently which she had gleaned from interviews with airline officials, travel agents and seasoned parents when she worked at Meadows Field about flying with children. "One mom said Benedryl is a 'must.' Taking something to make your child sleep is proactive and a relief to other passengers. If you do not take something to make your child sleep, do not schedule a flight during the child's normal nap time because they will not sleep on a plane. Ok, maybe they will, but not without a lot of fussing first," Kathy wrote.
She added that toys, snacks, a favorite blanket, bottles and pacifiers are all appropriate as well. The sucking works the way chewing gum does for adults.
"One mom told me that during her business career (pre-kids) she hated flying with children who screamed. She went prepared for her first flight with her daughter. She visited the pediatrician and got sleeping drops. At her stop-over, she bought herself a glass of wine and gave the baby the sleeping drops. When she arrived at her mother's house on the other side of the country, she pulled out the sleeping drops and said, 'We'd never have made it without these'. Only then did she notice she had accidentally packed the baby's vitamins rather than the sleeping drops. Morale of the story - sometimes it is the uptight parent who projects frustration onto the child."
I've chimmed in on air travel before, tomorrow and in the coming weeks it is especially important to remember that it still is a mode of PUBLIC transportation where we all have to share and respect each other's space. EVERYONE is in a rush. Extend a little courtesy - like surrendering the arm rest or the extra space in the overhead compartment, or grabbing the overweight bag from the luggage belt for the elderly traveler. Let the words 'thank you' roll off your tongue frequently like bags coming down the chute. Be thankful for the blessings of health, family and the ability to travel, and in turn, be thoughtful and courteous with your fellow passengers. Afterall, it really DOES 'Manner A lot'.