Buoyed by your kind comments on some of my nostalgic vacation posts, I decided to do a series of them to collect for my parents for Christmas. The following is one of them. Let me know if you'd like to see more, or if these are really the sort of thing that only a parent could love...
In preparation for a trip to the Smithsonian Institute one year my mother, like any good mother, told my sister and I about some of the things we'd see when we got there. In child development circles we call that 'scripting' but, like many of the things we feel the need to label and discuss as though they're lofty philosophical/psychological ideas, it's really just common sense.
As she mentioned some of the things we were likely to encounter, one thing stuck out boldly from the rest: The Spirit of St. Louis.
Now I wasn't sure who St. Louis was, but I wasn't all that concerned about it with the prospect of actually encountering his SPIRIT in my near future.
I asked all sorts of questions about this spirit with just enough ambiguity that my mother was able to believe we were on the same page.
"How did they get the Spirit of St. Louis in the museum in the first place?
"How in the world do they get it to stay there?"
"We'll be able to see the actual Spirit of St. Louis? Not just a picture?"
The morning we headed to the museum I was beside myself. I could hardly eat from the excitement.
My parents were, no doubt, pleased that I was so excited about visiting a museum. They were probably also a little perplexed by my sudden and passionate interest in aviation.
As we entered the Air and Space Museum I got my first twinge of nervousness. I was still excited, but suddenly my excitement was tempered with just a little bit of fear. This WAS a restless apparition we were talking about, here. What if it chose today to go rogue?
We entered a huge open room with old airplanes suspended from the high ceiling.
"There it is." my mom said, pointing to I sure as heck didn't know what.
"What? There what is?"
"The Spirit of St. Louis."
Holy buckets, had I missed it? Had it zoomed right past me without so much as sending a chill down my spine to alert me to it's presence?
"Where?" I asked rather desperately, eyes darting wildly around the room trying to pin down the poltergeist.
"There." she said, coming down to my level and helping me to focus on - an airplane?
Then I noticed the lettering on the side of the plane. 'The Spirit of St. Louis'. I realized my error immediately and three thoughts formed in quick succession:
"How could I have been so stupid?" was the first.
"I mustn't ever let them know what I was really thinking." was the second.
"Dang. I'm not gonna see a ghost." was the third, final, and most devastating of all.