Aviation for Women

JUL-AUG 2018

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

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44 AviationforWomen J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 8 The Power of the Small P A T R I C I A L U E B K E O ne life lesson that I am still learning is how powerful a small gesture can be. I still make them—a kind word to a friend, helping a stranger in some small way, or lending an ear to someone going through a hard time. I do it, but I am often unaware of the powerful impact these small actions have. Last week, two of my friends were having a rough go of it—one whose ageing parents were declining medically and another who was facing some family issues. I was reading through my Twitter feed and found a joke, and without giving it much thought, I cut and pasted it and emailed it individually to both friends with the subject line "Silly Joke to End the Day." Here's the joke: Sad ghost floats straight through the wall, the sofa, the table, the TV. Me: Why so glum, ghost? Ghost: I'm just going through some stuff. Both friends replied instantly. Do you know when you can feel the emotion in an email or text? This wasn't the typical "Thanks LOL" re- sponse, but each woman wrote the equivalent of, "Thanks, I needed that." When my best friend's sister was dying, she asked me if I would write her niece Amy a letter of encouragement as Amy was the go-to action fig- ure to support and help her mother. I dashed off a letter in which I said that whenever I hear her mother has taken a turn for the worse, I am com- forted when I hear that she is on the scene han- dling things. I told her she was a good daughter, and she is. Sadly, Amy's mother died this past July, and I really forgot about the letter. Almost a year later, when talking to my best friend, she asked me if I remembered the note I had written Amy. Yes, I did, and my friend told me that Amy kept my let- ter and takes it out from time to time to read it as she finds it comforting. Such a small thing. I wish I'd written her more. I've been on the receiving end of small blessings as well. Last week, I had lunch with a friend from kindergarten days who was also my bunkmate at Girl Scouts Camp Blue Bay. Whenever we are to- gether, we always spend at least a few minutes longingly reminiscing about being Girl Scouts to- gether at Blue Bay and wishing for a time machine to take us back to those carefree days. She was here from Vermont, and when we met for lunch she handed me a gift that instant- ly brought a smile to my face. It was a box of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. It was a very thought- ful gift, and I had the box on my desk just looking at it until I snapped out of my reverie. I told my- self that I'd only eat one or two, but you know how that goes. I'm still learning the lesson of not lying to myself, especially when it comes to Thin Mints. When I was in college, my roommate (the best friend noted above) and I had a habit of sharing the best thing that happened to us that day, and it's a question I continue to ask myself as I'm going to sleep. I am still surprised by what I select since it's typically a small thing—a kind word, a helping hand, a good laugh. We need to foster more small graces like this in our lives as they expand out like ripples in a pond. I try to remember the saying that if we knew everybody's back story, we would treat people more gently, and I'm trying. On a sad note, I have lost a friend: general avi- ation icon Richard Collins passed away in late April. I knew him as a coworker when I worked at Flying magazine, and he was a colleague and friend for 40 years, and our friendship frequent- ly made me forget his icon status. Once, during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, he and I were walking to our table for dinner in a local restaurant and I became aware that people were whispering and nodding in our direction. It made me uncomfort- able, until I heard someone say, "That's Richard Collins," and I felt like a celebrity. For those of us in aviation, EA A AirVenture Osh kosh is a place where many of our wonder- ful memories are made, and this summer you have the opportunity to create new ones by tak- ing part in EAA's WomenVenture. It's now in its 11th year—our second decade! —which speaks to the fun we all have in Oshkosh. This year, we'll don pink T-shirts for the traditional group photo. WAI's annual Connect Breakfast is Wednesday, July 25, with the group photo to follow later that morning. Go to www.WAI.org for all the breakfast details. Of course, there are other Women Venture activities during the week detailed at www.EAA. org. You'll never regret a trip to Oshkosh and Women Venture makes it all the more enjoyable. ✈ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Patricia Luebke, WAI 1954, is a New York City-based freelance writer, editor, and marketing consultant. I try to remember the saying that if we knew everybody's back story, we would treat people more gently, and I'm trying. P E R S O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T

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