I’m so tired right now that if someone told me to stand in the corner, I’d fall asleep. It is 1:55 p.m. now in Dublin and 2:55 p.m. in Copenhagen where I left early today on a jet.
I think it many have been the lack of sleep that gave credence to the emotion I felt while on the way to Dublin. Challenges in the Copenhagen Airport should be part of this story, but, like I said, I’m tired and I don’t want to go there in my mind and spirit.
Flying above the fluffy white clouds and an occasional strip of blue peeking through made me nostalgic, and I actually felt like crying, but didn’t really have a reason. Several times while looking out of the window I saw rainbows in perfect circles.
I remembered that Don Watkins, owner of the Durango Air Service where I got my pilot’s license, called it a ‘pilot’s rainbow’, after I told him of seeing a shadow of the airplane situated right in the center of the circle rainbow.
That did it! With a lump in my throat I remembered those days when Arngrim patiently explained (over and over) what I needed to know to get that big machine in the air and down. He is a perfectionist, and that is exactly who you would want as a teacher, and exactly who you would want to pilot the plane you’re in. His attention to detail makes certain that everything goes as planned. Take for instance, yesterday: He mentioned to the head flight attendant that I was his friend and his former student, and it would be a treat for me to be invited into the new Airbus cockpit that would take me from the Faroe Islands to Copenhagen.
She did more than that, she got an invitation for me to sit in the cockpit during takeoffs and landings. A lottery win wouldn’t have surpassed that. Many, many thanks to the generosity of the pilots, Johan and Tommy, both born and raised in the Faroes. But a bigger thanks goes to Arngrim for making it possible.
Arngrim began his dream of flying while attending a church camp during the summer months in the Faroe Islands and the landing strip was within eyesight of the camp. “I liked to watch the airplanes land,” Arngrim remembered.
Per, Arngrim’s father, told me when Arngrim came home from camp, he put his fist down on the table and said, ‘that is what I want to do. I will be a pilot.’
His first attempt to get lessons at age seventeen ended in a scam before he even got started, and it was ten years later he began to search again for a school, and that led him to Durango, Colorado. Meeting him and all the other young pilots from all over the world-and when my husband Will was alive- will all go down in my memory as the best time of my life.
I’ll always remember the flying games at the airport and one of Arngrim’s perfect landings earned him the first place prize. Will was flying with Arngrim during the competition. The pilots were to see how close they could get to a wide chalk-marker on the landing strip. Some got close to the mark, some landed before, and some landed after the marker. Arngrim landed on the marker, with the chalk even showing up on the tires.
So that was on my mind this morning as we flew through the clouds. I also realized, while dreaming and watching the clouds, that looking back at the finish of my year, certain people will stand out. I know the Jacobsen family will be front and center.
That family taught me the importance of family support. “If anyone needs any help, someone in the family is always there,” Arngrim told me. It’s a special tradition in the culture of the Faroese people. And it extends to people not in the family, as well. That was evidenced many years ago when Per worked on the tunnels that are unique to the Island.
“He was going to be working and would be away from us for a long time, so we all moved in with another family until the job was finished,” said Arngrim. I met one of the women of the family, a little girl at the time, who hosted the Jacomsens. I met her at the rowing race Arngrim’s nephew, Per, rowed in and took first place.
But now, the journey has led me to the city of Dublin in Ireland, and I am in a hostel, where I am the oldest of about fifty teenagers who came in to stay for a few days.
“Just don’t dance on the table before 9 p.m.”
The photo is Arngrim Jacobsen reading my book, “Too Close to the Sun’ a Dutch boy becomes a man during WWII. He has fond memories of the time Will ( who the story is about), and I hosted young pilots from all over the world in Durango, Colorado.