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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ferry Adventures--And the kindness of people

Travelling with kids brings on challenges of many sorts, one of which is how to help keep little ones entertained for hours on end. I am always amazed by the goodness of strangers, friends, acquaintances who come out of the woodworks to help and this trip was no exception.

The ferry ride home was a memorable one for two reasons--Stuey's airplane frenzy as well as our tour of the wheelhouse.

As of late, Stuey has learned how to fold and fly paper airplanes. Our friend Mark R. who visits frequently from California to hunt and dig with Patrick, gave stuey hours of instruction on his last trip. Since that time, Stueys airplane making skills have really "taken off"- no pun intended.

In Homer, Stuey created 12 or so airplanes, which he flew and insisted we pack for the ferry. When we got on the Kennicott mid morning, we sat in the kid section. There was one other family there with two kids as well as a childhood acquaintance, who was returning from living in Australia for a several month visit-Aaron.

It didn't take long before Stuey's airplanes started flying and and landing all over the place. Stuey got Aaron's attention, and before long, Aaron started helping modify the wings of Stuey's planes to help improve the flying dynamics. Aaron is a civil engineer and added things like flaps to the wings, and ensured that the wings were of equal width so the plane wouldn't steer to one side.

The whole scene became quite comical, as it turned into literally 5 hours of Stuey flying paper airplanes. There were several people who were repeatedly "hit" by Stuey's airplane, and they were so nice about it. Stuey would have to offer occasional "Sorry" to people, which he was ok with and people appreciated that Stuey cared enough to apologize. And Aaron was so nice about continuing to fix Stuey's airplane every time STuey asked him, "You fly airplanes with me?"...which was about 6 times an hour, at least!!
After several hours, Stuey's wrist became tired from flying airplanes and he would shake his wrist in a funny ritualistic manner after each throw, which brought some laughs out of us.

Towards the end of the trip, we pulled out a bag of unused balloons i had and all the kids ran around blowing up balloons. Stuey would blow his up 1/2 or 3/4 way, then let go of it and it would go whizzing around the room. Amazing how much joy a few balloons can bring kids!

I am so appreciative for the family that was near us as well as Aaron as we all worked so well keeping the little ones entertained. There was a lot of laughter and all of us adults had a good sense of humor about things. There is nothing better than travelling around other people who are understanding and empathic with kids. And everyone around sure seemed to be. It isn't an easy task at times.

In the cafeteria at dinner, Nora asked a gentleman who was in a ferry shirt if he was the captain of the boat. The gentleman, Matt, very casually said, "yeah, I am. Do you want to see the wheelhouse where we steer the boat?". I was surprised and thrilled at the prospect of seeing the wheelhouse, as this has always been a secret dream of mine. Matt asked us to meet him 1 hour later outside the cafeteria, which we did. He took us through secret passcode locked doors, up a red-lit stairwell and into the Kennicott wheelhouse. I was in awe. The view was amazing. It was much larger than I imagined.

There was a gentleman, Shane, who was steering the boat and both he and Matt were so nice and let the kids sit on the captain chair and steer the wheel. I was thinking that Matt was somehow directly involved with the navigation of the boat, but wasn't necessarily the captain, as the chances of him being the captain were just too coincidental!! As we prepared to leave the wheelhouse, I said, "Thank you captain, Shane!". Shane replied, "I'm first mate, Matt is the captain." I felt so silly and had to explain to Matt that I didn't think it could be that Matt really was the captain of the boat...I thought he was pulling Nora's leg by telling her he was the captain. Matt was so kind to the kids and it was great of him to offer the tour to us. I felt like a kid on the tour!!

It was a ferry trip with so many high points. And Nora didn't get sick, which she was elated about. She has a tendency towards sea sickness, so it was nice for her to not get sick on either ferry trip.


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