The Beautiful American

During training on the 737, Skip, our instructor, entertained us daily with stories from his travels as a Boeing flight instructor. A family that he had met in Russia eventually immigrated to the States. While in Russia, Skip had noted the woman’s homely face: “But then they all walk around with a sour look,” he said in his deep, scratchy voice. “And if you’re ugly, it sure makes it worse.” A few years later Skip saw the family and the same woman after making the U.S. their home. He noticed that the woman was now attractive, a real head-turner. He asked her about the transformation and she said, “You Americans taught us how to smile.”


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Night Flight

The cities below us were alien constellations. The amber lights outlined roads or clustered around downtown buildings. One city evoked the microscopic world; another the mythic realm, where the profile of an Egyptian could be seen kneeling before the darkness of the surrounding countryside. Some towns resembled crushed fireflies; others were jewels flung upon a dark lawn.


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