I remember the times Dad would sell cattle. He would call Wilson Baker to take them to Indy. We would cram the cattle into stalls in the barn awaiting his arrival. The truck would roar into the barnyard, clang down the chute and then we would prod and push the cattle up into the truck.
The chute was unfamiliar to them so they would slip and slide and stumble. Once inside they were crammed together with strangers and forced to smell each other and rub against each other. The truck would then lurch down the road over the hill around corners as the cattle felt like detainees in the drunk tank on Saturday night. A few more stops, more strangers, tighter quarters and more road miles. After a long ride to Indy the chute clanged down again and they were driven, sometimes with cattle prods, out of the truck down the slippery chute into a huge stockyard where they were humiliated by uncertainty, judged and then sold to a packing house. You know the rest of the story. After flying to Vienna I know how they felt.
In a perfect world flying to Vienna, Austria, should take about 12 hours in real time. Not counting the changes in time zones. It is a one hour flight to Chicago, eight hours to London and then about three to Vienna. That did not happen with us. We flew out of Indy at 12:35 p.m. on Thursday and landed in Chicago at 12:45 --10 minutes later. However, the time changes at the state line. Then we had a layover until 5:15. But there was a problem with our tickets. We were taken to the check in booth and put in front of the line and issued new tickets. Needless to say there were many Europeans who had been waiting days to go home because of the volcano. They were not happy that we were placed ahead of them. They vociferated and postulated adamantly. If looks could kill we would have been dead on the spot.
After an interminable and excruciating wait we finally boarded one of those bloated behemoth 747 giants that really can't fly. I am still convinced that we only taxied to London as they ran movies in the windows to dupe us into thinking we were flying. I was jam-packed into a compartment with a dozen or more rows of seats -- 10 across. I felt like a wiener in an eight pack. "Sardines in a can" is outdated. Have you ever had to sit in a thimble and eat a meal? That is how I felt.
O'Hare and Heathrow are similar. They are huge sprawling complexes that are more difficult to understand than Charles Manson's brain. We were crammed, crowded, shuttled, escalated and de-escalated, walked, run, checked, pushed, shouted at, required to rub against and breathe air that others had just exhaled. I felt like mooing in defeat. Just make hamburger out of me.
After an excruciating wait and delay caused by schedules and the volcano we flew into Vienna arriving at 8:30 and then traveled by van to Haus Edelweiss arriving at 9:30 p.m. on Friday. I felt like I had been shot out of cannon through an orchard and hit every tree. I like to go places but I hate to travel.
Larry grew up north of Calvertville on a farm and graduated from Worthington High School. He lives in Plainfield and can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or (317) 839-7656. Write him at Larry Vandeventer 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168.