2010.03.17 Picture traveling with David Green

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

David and I were headed for New York City by plane earlier this month for the Picturing America conference and also the Celebration of Teaching and Learning conference.

Almost as soon as we were out of the gate—literally, I started taking notes. Column material. That’s what David and I refer to any observations that potentially could end up being used in a column.

I had been selected to attend the Picturing America conference after filling out an application and writing an essay. It included free registration for both conferences, a $500 travel stipend, and four nights stay at the Hilton on 6th Ave.

Seventy people from around the country were chosen and I was thrilled to be among them. I figured I won some sort of lottery. The Picturing America posters are in more than 56,000 schools and libraries across the country. I figured many of those librarians—school and public—would apply for the amazing opportunity to learn how people from all over the country are using the posters.

Imagine our surprise when the 70 of us showed up for the conference, all thinking there’d be lots of other people attending. But, we were it—each representing our state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, several Indian reservations and maybe a couple other Guam-like places.

When I made the plane reservations, it was slim pickings in the seat department. My goal when choosing airplane seats is to find a row closest to the front of the plane, a window seat for David and an aisle for me. If they happen to be in the same row, that’s great. If not, we don’t mind sitting apart. I always hope that nobody will choose the middle seat, but it’s no big deal if it’s occupied.

And, on this flight, it was. The Man in the Middle was a friendly guy from Mexico who spoke broken English and smiled a lot. When he realized I was with David, he offered me his seat so I could be next to David. I declined, of course. As far as I’m concerned there is nothing worse than a middle seat—especially when your aisle seatmate falls asleep and you have to go to the bathroom. Now. I’ve gone to great gymnastic heights getting out of a middle seat without disturbing the aisle person, but I’m not as agile as I used to be.

It was getting close to take-off time when I noticed the seat in front of me, the bulkhead seat with lots of leg room, was empty. I asked the stewardess if I could move there if the passenger didn’t show up. She said yes, and a few minutes later gave me the signal that I could move.

First, I asked Man in the Middle if he would like to sit there. I figured sitting with David trumped the leg-room tradeoff and I’d have more room to spread. But, Man in the Middle didn’t want it. Just as I was getting ready to move, the guy in the window seat in the row ahead of me moved into the aisle seat.

I figured, Oh well, you snooze, you lose. But then I noticed the bulkhead row across the aisle was completely empty. Some family must have missed their flight. By now, the plane was beginning to pull away from the gate, so I quickly gathered my things and scooted over to the bulkhead aisle seat. I figured David would follow...but he looked at me as if I were nuts.

I gestured for him to join me, but he wouldn’t budge. It didn’t make sense to me. If he moved up to the row I was in, we could sit together, he could have his window seat and we’d both have lots of leg room. But I could tell he didn’t want to call attention to himself.

“Why wouldn’t you move up?” I asked him when we got off the plane.

“We were in our assigned seats. Why would I move?”

I attributed this reaction to his Midwest roots. Follow the rules. Be humble and happy with what you have. Don’t make waves. Don’t be a spectacle. But then I laughed out loud when I remembered the Mexican Man in the Middle. He didn’t even move into the aisle seat when I moved up. With the aisle seat empty, he flew the whole way right next to David. Now that’s an image fit for Picturing America.

  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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