Though today most of us view commercial flights as an absolute chore, some of my best memories as a kid were in the air, flying Pan Am from New York to Miami. Me, my sister, and my cousins would all get stuck in coach, anxiously waiting for grandma’s hand to peek out from the first-class curtain, beckoning us forward to let us know that dessert was being served. Anyone too young to have experienced early air travel would find the scene upfront to be completely surreal; a man with an ice cream cart served hot fudge sundaes while everyone laughed and drank in a haze of cigarette smoke. We’d shamelessly wolf down the contents of our bowls before being shooed back to coach, but I’ll always remember the image of my grandfather, scotch in one hand, cigarette in the other, tapping his ashes into that little metal tray.
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