Catching Airplanes

I recall one day, shortly after we moved to Queens in 2004, I was in our Jewel Avenue apartment speaking to my father on the phone. An airplane flew overhead, so I was forced to pause the conversation for a few seconds.

“Are you outside?” asked my father, sitting in his home in Skokie, IL.
“No, I’m in my apartment.”

Welcome to Queens, where we live in the flight path of LaGuardia Airport. Pausing phone conversations until a plane passes by overhead is a regular occurrence. It reminds me of a line I once heard of someone looking into renting an apartment in Chicago near the elevated train tracks:

“How often does the train go by?”

“So often you don’t even notice.”

Of course, the plus side of this is that kids are typically fascinated with many things, including planes.

Earlier this week, Tzipah and I were sitting outside with our youngest son Shmuel (sporting his new haircut!). Shmuel was bouncing up and down on a mini trampoline when an airplane flew overhead.

“Jump up and catch that plane!” said Tzipah to Shmuel.

Without hesitating, he jumped as high as he could, reaching his arm up in the air while making a grabbing motion with his hand.

“I got it!” he declared triumphantly, grinning from ear to ear.

A day later, I decided to interview Shmuel about his airplane-catching experience.

“Shmuel, did you catch the airplane for real or for pretend?”

His response was emphatic: “Catch dem!”

As adults, we know that we’re not going to catch airplanes while jumping on a mini trampoline.

Nevertheless, if we set our sights high, we will accomplish tremendous things.

What we perceive to be within our reach is a composite of many factors.  Just because something appears out of reach doesn’t mean that is actually the case.

Set your sights high enough, and who knows, maybe you’ll end up catching an airplane.