With my nephew's High School graduation so came my mother for a visit...which is a fine thing, since her living in the Pacific NW with my oldest sister means we only see each other every five years or so. Opinions on whether or not this is also a fine thing are mixed, depending on who's doing the opining.
At 73, she's still a woman of great energy and a bucketful of experiences. Immigrant, world traveller, single working mom...feast and famine seem to be shaped by her personality rather than the other way around. Her willingness to try new things to see if she likes them is always balanced by her certainty of the things she does not like.
As I've written before, my family is the definition of Meh when it comes to flying. My son is totally uninterested and my wife has been a grudging passenger just twice; it was no great sacrifice to decide to build a single seat aircraft!
Anyhow, I gave mom strict instructions the night before our scheduled flight - wear something comfortable and cool, be ready to go when I picked her up at the hotel* and DON'T EAT BREAKFAST. Weather was predicting a toss-up on Champ friendly conditions - windy in the afternoon with a chance of isolated thunderstorms later (summer Alabama standard forecast)....it could be silk early in the morning or could be what I call "variable hell" of 5-7 kts from all directions at once with strong thermals as the sun came up.
Naturally, I show up as she's sitting down to breakfast. Sigh. Eat the toast, pass on the bacon, please. "I don't get sick on airplanes, and I've been on bush planes in Alaska and in Africa." Yeah, right.
All sorted and off we go. Introduce the Champ, which in truth is a bit worn looking, smile as she pretty much leaps into the back seat, do the pre-flight, passenger briefing, and off we go.
A little burble but all's well as we make our way up the Coosa River at 500 ft AGL and a stately 60 MPH. Keeping it over one color of ground helped mitigate bumps and we thrilled at sun on the waves, cranes on the mud, and cows munching grass. Fifteen minutes out, fifteen minutes back, and we're all smiles as I enter the pattern (sounding very professional pilot-y on the radio to the UNICOM and nobody else).
Line up for final, make the call, and the usual Hello Bump of air. Unusually, my turn to final had put me dead center to the runway and I eased it down towards the numbers. Eyes to the end of the runway.
Don't muff it, don't muff it, don't muff it...flare and a single bump and settle into a three pointer (darn it, I wanted a greaser). Turn off, shut down, post-flight checks and pay the rental fee.
"Not bad, son, you're a very smooth pilot. Thank you for taking me up."
Praise don't come any higher. Some flights are definitely better than others.