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Embarrassing Dad at Airport

Here is a photo story from the other week. Johannes loves anything that’s got to do with airplanes and airports. Knowing that, I have suggested a few times that we go to Arlanda airport, north of Stockholm, just to stroll around and maybe take some photos. (I also knew he needed some time away from home, so he could train more on his injured foot.) He loved that idea. So, one late afternoon we finally went ahead with our plans.

It was a strange weather day. When we drove to the airport, something of a snow storm was brewing up. It got worse and worse. I told Johannes that it would be best not to expect to much (of the visibility). Although I knew he most of all wanted to see the take-offs and landings, he tried to keep a straight face. “Well, at least we can see the inside of the airport as we walk around,” he said. Bless his heart, I thought, but please God, give him a fun experience. He really needs it.

Ten minutes later we arrived at Arlanda. And I tell you, it was the strangest weather phenomena I ever laid my eyes on. All of a sudden the snow stopped. And the clouds dispersed. Well, not completely. Only around the airport. Facing us was Arlanda in a fish bowl; dark clouds were together creating a huge circle around the airport, leaving an open top of clear, blue skies. It was being in the eye of the storm; calm on the inside, but raging weather on the outside. Our jaws just dropped, and we both said simultaneously: “Cool!” And I just smiled. Thank you, God.

We walked around for about an hour in all the terminals. Johannes knows I am a frequent flyer, so he throws all these questions my way: “Have you flown that plane? Did you ever feel unsafe? Which is the best airline? Why do they spray orange stuff on the wings?” And I put on my teacher’s mantle and say: “Glad you should ask… let me tell you, son…”

After a while he gets tired in his bad leg. We stop and take this photo. Then we look at some planes coming up and down the runway (behind Johannes in the photo). However, we notice it’s getting darker. But it’s also clearing up outside the airport. So we decide to try to find the road that take us to the end of the runway, so we can get a better view of the take-offs.

After about ten minutes of driving we actually find it. This is the place. Now we just have to wait for a plane.

Here come the first one.

And the second one. We are standing right underneath them as they come. “This is soooo cool!” Johannes yells over the engine noise. “Yes, but also soooo cold!” I reply. I’d forgotten to bring my jacket. Not a smart thing with temperatures at freezing point.

“I have a great idea!” Johannes said. “Why don’t you take the blanket from trunk of the car to cover yourself with.” Good idea, I thought. So for the next twenty minutes, this is how I looked. (Don’t laugh… at least I was warm.)

We took a lot more photos. Some good. Some not so good. But it wasn’t the photos. It was just being together. And seeing Johannes laughing again and enjoying himself, that was worth more than anything.

But those sugary, dandy feelings were abruptly changed as a security car stopped by the side of the road, just behind ours. It struck me that perhaps we were trespassing or something, so shamefully I stroll to the officer’s car. He rolls down the window and explains that we are aloud to take photos, but not park on the side of the road. “Okay, sorry,” I reply. “We’ll make sure it won’t happen again.” Content he drove off.

Johannes said: “Dad, that’s so embarrassing. They’re gonna kick us out!” I responded: “No, it’s okay. Besides, it’s time to leave anyway.” Then we got in the car and drove toward home. But on the way, this particular road passed near the place where the planes landed – the opposite side of the runway. I asked Johannes if he wanted to see it. He gladly approved so I took him there, and stopped again by the side of the road.


Then we see this plane coming right at us. “Oooo, I’ve gotta hurry and get this shot!” I said, jumping out of the car. “But you’re not allowed to stop here!” said Johannes. “What if that security car comes again?” Having my shot ready in my viewer (see above) I casually reply: “Oh, he’s probably miles away by now. Besides I’m done now. We can leave.” Just as I utter that last word, who comes pulling up behind our car? You guessed it: the security guy. This time I feel really ashamed, like a naughty school boy in front of an angry teacher.

Ready to receive my punishment I walk up to him again. The first thing that comes out of my mouth was: “Wow, you’re really fast! Ha, ha.” He didn’t think that was funny. You know how you sometimes wish you could read other people’s minds. Well, this time I sure as heck didn’t want to. Besides, I didn’t have to. It was written all over his face: What an idiot!

I said my apologies – again – and jumped in the car and drove off. Johannes wasn’t late to comment: “I can’t believe you did that!” Starting to laugh I said: “Yeah, I know… pretty stupid, huh?” Then I added: “Still… at least I got my shot.” Once more he mumbled something about his embarrassing dad, and what he was going to tell mom, etc, etc. That set me off laughing even more – and soon he joined me. “But you have to admit,” I said, “that was a fun adventure we had?” “Yeah, dad… that was fun. Really fun.”

Once in a while, maybe embarrassing fathers aren’t so bad after all.

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