The Liberty Gazette
March 5, 2013Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Linda: Funny, life is sometimes. Many years ago when one of my now grown children was a toddler she had some pretty extensive surgery and was in a body cast for two months. Nothing life-threatening, but crippling and definitely a challenge to deal with daily. Some of the ladies in our church got together and filled a basket with small wrapped gifts so that my precious little casted daughter could have something to look forward to, opening a new present every day she was immobilized. That was about 1985. I wasn’t flying then and didn’t really have any interest in airplanes. Being a mommy took all of my time and interest. I have some great friends like that who are devoted to their parental roles, for instance, a friend I’ll call Lisa (that's not her real name and I’ve changed all the names in this story for privacy).
We first met Lisa and her family when they brought their oldest child to a Young Eagles event, one in which Mike and I had joined with other pilots to take children for airplane rides. This happened to be a group of Boy Scouts and we all met at an airport south of Houston. Mike and I took turns taking kids up in our airplane while other pilots did likewise in theirs for this very popular and established program offered by the Experimental Aircraft Association.
While little Johnny was flying with Mike, Lisa and I struck up a conversation and have been friends ever since. She’s an attentive and creative, loving mother and I enjoy keeping up with her life through social networks. That’s how I learned her youngest child had taken a nasty fall. Her sweet little angel – I’ll just call her Angel – got out of their sight for only a moment while visiting grandpa in a hospital out of town. The flight from second to first floor was quick and it resulted in a broken leg. Apparently the doctors needed to set it in such a way that put her in a half body cast, from the waist fully down one leg and half way down the other.
I thought of my own experience with a toddler in a body cast and remembered the thoughtfulness of my sweet friends so many years ago. Several of Lisa’s friends quickly filled a basket with wrapped gifts so the little Angel would have something to open every day she’s in the cast, and supplemented that with a special gift bag for Mommy – one filled with encouraging verses, each rolled in a scroll – to help her take this one day at a time.
Back on the day of that Young Eagles event this little Angel wasn’t even a glint in her father’s eye, yet a connection was made through a great program that not only benefited all the kids who flew that day, but provided an opportunity to pass on a blessing. I hadn’t seen little Johnny since the day he and his Scout group came to fly with us. When we arrived at their house to deliver the gifts I asked him if he remembered flying in an airplane and when I explained it was my husband with whom he had flown, he gasped, the memory of that experience lit up his face as he recalled his first time to fly.
Funny, life is sometimes.