What Do I Know ... I’m From South Texas!
Kathleene Runnels is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
It had been my first trip to California. And it was awesome. But now, it was time to leave. The plane was sitting on the tarmac, awaiting departure. It was a bright, sunny morning, which is a very good thing when flying out of LAX, because so often of a morning there is so much fog and cloud cover you can’t see the ocean. And you do want to see the ocean. But I hadn’t discovered that yet.
You see, I had made my first trip into LAX several days prior, landing at midnight. So I didn’t get it that the airfield sat right smack against the Pacific Ocean. Of course I knew LA did, but, well, I didn’t have a feel of the layout. My friends and I had traversed all up and down the “One” (Hwy 1), so I had seen many vistas of breathtaking ocean scenes: from atop the cliff at Las Brisas, enjoying the sights of their hill-side rose gardens, the waves breaking along the inlet, and Catalina Island in the distance; from an ocean-side table, dining at Fisherman’s in San Clemente; from the famous Shake Shack, sipping on a banana shake on the cliffs at Crystal Cove; from the beach at Dana Point, leisurely walking along the shoreline.
But as I left all that behind, readying myself for takeoff to return to San Antonio, I looked out the window from my middle seat and saw, well, nothing. Just blankness. No trees. No tall buildings. Just space. Flying was not new to me, but any other city I had flown from or into had been within the city; you know, sky scrappers and trees and office buildings all around. So I couldn’t help noticing when as far as I could see, there was nothing to see.
So I said, “There’s nothing out there. Just space.” The lady sitting by me, and even though this was in 1993, I can truly describe her, especially her haughty look, as she slowly turned her head towards me, but made no reply. She just looked at me, incredulously. I wondered about that. And yes, I felt a little foolish, but not nearly as foolish as I would later feel....
Everyone who has flown out of California with the destination somewhere East knows that the plane flies due west for some time before banking, turning, and straightening out to head back to the mainland. With my heart in my throat, I discovered that. The views of the ocean were breathtaking. The waves could be seen all up and down the coastline, breaking with rhythm and beauty. Not a fishing vessel; not a barge; not a transport ship ... nothing to mar the beauty (like we have on our Texas coasts); only an occasional sail boat, seemingly motionless in the vast, blue waters. And an eternity of ocean!
I caught my breath. The snooty lady beside me patted me on the leg and said, condescendingly, “That’s the Pacific Ocean.” “Yeah, I figured that,” I thought. But after all, what do I know; I’m just a country girl from South Texas.