You never know when a family outing will become a lasting memory


Last summer, I believe it was late June, we surprised out son with a scenic flight of the Bath/Brunswick area. His 10th birthday was coming up, and he had spoken before about wanting to fly in a plane, and maybe get his pilot’s someday.

My wife Jen, who often finds out great deals for things at online discount sights found 3 tickets at a great rate, and she scheduled the flight. Keeping it a surprise, we told him we had some errands to run, that could only be done in Brunswick, nearly 100 miles away . We also teased him a bit about it.

He was relieved when he found out what the real plan was, and he talked, and joked about it, but as we waited to meet the pilot, and board the plane, he seemed bored.

When the flight was over, we were shocked that he had just taken it all in stride, and that it seemed like it had been just another busy day to him.

Later, after summer time fun was over, and school began, we discovered just how wrong we were! He had been given a writing assignment in his 5th grade class, and when I found it in his back pack I was impressed!

Here in its entirety is the essay by my son simply titled


“UGH! What’s next, Ocean State Job Lot?” , I groaned. I was a grouchy Nine=Year-Old who hated EVERYTHING.
“It’s a surprise!”, said Mom.
“The navy base.”, Dad answered. What I didn’t know was, that my parents had scheduled a flight over the Brunswick/Bath area.
I was very shocked to hear this, and I gasped feeling like a fish out of water.
A few hours later, we arrived. my thoughts raced, and I had a full bladder.
I had thought to myself, “HOLY (BEEP)!”.
A few seconds later, Dad was helping me find the bathroom, and I started shaking.
Soon our pilot met us.
“Hi, I’m Bob!”, He said.
“Uh, h-hi! I-I’m Will,” I replied.
Soon, we had liftoff. I was so excited, I was in horror as we got in the air.
But then, all the fear was smashed by a quick jolt of wonder. This was what it was like? To fly? The view was like something out of a fantasy book! So many sights… A heart shaped lake, a great view of the city, and HORRIBLE VENTILATION.
But soon it was over.
“Thanks guys!”, I told my family as we walked to the van.

That ride home was fun.
We stopped for pizza, and I ordered anchovies. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a normal human being too! Maybe. Anyway, I wanted to try them, aaaaaaaaand I LOVE THEM!
All I could think about was how the hot summer air was cold when we got out of the plane.
That was the moment I realized that being high up isn’t so bad at all.


We try to keep our son busy, and we try to help him experience as many things as we can.  He has been to New York City, Boston, and Washington D.C.  He has visited some of D.C. greatest museums, as well as the museum at Harvard, and the museum of Science in Boston.  He has visited zoo’s in all three cities, and traveled on their subway systems.

Of all the activities we have done, and trips we have taken, it was a 20 minute scenic flight he seems to remember best.

So get out there with your kids!  Make some memories!  You never know which ones will be the most important to them!


My little man before his first plane ride.


Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.