Dear God, please don’t let me puke

GRIN # 33

I thought of something else I don’t do well with: scary stuff.

The carousel at Tweetsie Railroad makes me sick. Criminal Minds gives me bad dreams.

And yet I pitched a story, called “Will fly for pig” about a barbeque restaurant in Carthage, N.C., the Pik N Pig,  that’s located on an actual airstrip. My friend Denny Mercer, an 80-year-old man who’s been flying since he was 16, agreed to fly me there in his single-engine plane from Apex, just a 15 minute flight. And that sounded like a great idea, for some reason.

Denny was a great pilot, and he explained why we had the turbulence we did. I can’t really remember what he said, something about hot air meeting cold. I wasn’t listening because, frankly, I wasn’t feeling so hot. When we got there, I made peace with my stomach with a plate of pig, a big Diet Coke and a piece of chocolate pie.

When it was time to go, I steeled myself for the ride back. I could do this. Denny was telling me all about the make and model of the plane, an acrobatic plane, meaning it could do flips and such. Right in the middle of his speech, Denny flipped that damn plane, and I came face to face with the grass and trees of North Carolina.

It’s hard to describe the sound that came from me–something between a belch and a screech. My stomach took up residence in the back of my throat and threatened to come out and introduce itself. I prayed harder than I had in a long time. Please, please, God, don’t let me throw up on this nice 80-year-old man in this tiny plane. Please, please, please. I found the air vent and popped it wide open, hanging my face in front of it, panting like a dog in labor.

“You don’t look so good,” Denny said. “Are you sick?”

“Pretty much,” I said.

“Are you going to be sick?” he asked.

“I hope not,” I said, praying some more. Please, God.

And I wasn’t. Not until I got home. Then I was sick for a good long time. My husband laughed. The bastard.

But I didn’t put any of that in the story. Puking does not a happy ending make.

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10 Responses to “Dear God, please don’t let me puke”

  1. Sounds like sweet, old Denny pulled a fast one on you! I can’t believe you didn’t puke right then and there after eating all that stuff! Talk about mind over matter!

    When I used to have to go to Alaska I had to ride to the villages in a plane similar to that one – along with the mail.

    • Stacey, I remember you telling me that. I really admire you b/c that is one thing I can’t do again. You must be brave and have an iron stomach:)

  2. Don’t let me off the hook that easily, Chrissy. There were absolutely no flips involved in those mail flights!

    For some reason I feel much less motion sickness on the little planes than on the big jets.

  3. Oh Chrissy
    I would have been puking all over that sweet little old mans plane. And, in my opinion, after the flip, he would have deserved it.

  4. I’m the ‘baby brother’ of the sweet old man, and I’m 66, so I guess baby is all in how you define it. Denny loved flying, and he loved to make others love it too. So, I would imagine somewhere in that ‘flip’ he was trying to get you to catch a moment of flying fever. Flying fever is when there is just a shred more delight than fear, and that shred grows until you are hooked forever. Believe me, my big brother Denny has hooked dozens of people in this way, turning the apathetic into the rabid. I trust that happens to you. But, if it doesn’t, I can assure you, “There was never a spiteful bone in his body when he did that dastardly deed, just a love of flying, and the desire to have others exhilarate in it, too.”

    Philip Mercer

    • Ah, Philip, thank you for writing! I loved your big brother almost as much as my own. Denny was a great man, and we still miss him. I think you’re exactly right about him wanting his love of flying to be infectious; I could see it in his eyes. But of course I had to write a story about it:) At Denny’s service, I was amazed at how many in the congregation had flown with Denny. He surely gave many a love of flying:))

  5. Bonnie Mercer Quattleba Says:

    I am Denny’s oldest daughter. He did that to all of us. Me, not so much. He knew I was not comfortable and he would always warn me. His passion, not only for flying, but also for life is what we all remember and take with us every day. There will never be another like him. Thank you for the memory, so absolutely typical of my Dad.

    • Bonnie, I am so sorry for your loss. Jerry and I just thought the world of your dad. You’re right: he had a passion for living that we can all emulate–and a great sense of humor to boot:))

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