Long Story Short: What happened next?

Time heals all wounds — even superficial ones.

Back in August when I went with a group of local media folks to New Brunswick, Canada, I just didn’t think it was the time to write about one particular incident that happened shortly after the trip began.

I needed time.

Now that a few months have passed, I think and hope I’m ready to tell the tale.

Certain background information is necessary for anyone to fully appreciate this story:

First, you should know that I like to be prepared. I’ve been blessed to travel a lot at different points in my life. I know how to prepare for a trip. I know what makes a trip generally work well. I know most of the mishaps that travel can introduce into life – and along the way, I’ve figured out ways to prevent many of the major problems.

Since the carry-on bureaucratic extravaganza, I check a bag. However, I still believe in carrying the necessities with me onto the plane. I don’t want to get stuck anywhere without my pillow, a toothbrush and a very few other basic supplies.

So in the wee morning hours before I left for New Brunswick, I gathered my bits and bags. I almost forgot my pillow and ran back inside to get it. Just to be careful, I stuck a few extra small items in my pillowcase – a great place to store things you want to keep nearby when you travel.

Then my husband dropped me off at the Albertson’s parking lot at Congress and Ambassador Caffery. About 12 members of the local media were going on the trip. While I didn’t know any of them personally, I knew of their work. We all jumped on a van and headed to the New Orleans airport. We stopped in Baton Rouge to pick up David D’Aquin, former reporter at KATC and now a reporter with NBC33 in Baton Rouge.

We made our way onto the plane with little fanfare. I was seated by Lucias Fontenot, a local photographer. Our seats were in the middle of the plane. The rest of the group was behind us.

Hoyt Harris, news anchor for KATC, was sitting directly behind me. His wife Bette was beside him. D’Aquin was sitting across the aisle from Hoyt Harris.

Once we reached cruising altitude, the pilot gave us permission to move around the cabin. I unbuckled my seat belt, quickly stood and grabbed my pillow from the overhead bin. I was exhausted and was ready for a nap before the meat of the trip. I knew there would be time and experiences to get to know the folks in the group, and I was looking forward to that, but for that moment, I just wanted to sleep.

With my favorite pillow tucked into the seat’s back, I closed my eyes. A few minutes passed. I was just beginning to relax. I could tell most of the people behind me knew each other and were enjoying conversing.

With my eyes closed, I heard the flight attendant begin to make her way down the aisle.

Then someone tapped my shoulder.

I turned toward the aisle and around to D’Aquin. He leaned toward me, sort of pointed toward the aisle and said in an awkward whisper, “You dropped something.”

And in that instant, I realized with horror what I was about to see when I looked down.

Stay tuned next week for what happened next. Jan Risher’s column appears Sundays. E-mail her atjan@janrisher.com.

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