The best of times, the worst of times — in little more than 30 minutes time.
That's the rough gap between hearing our Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig had been released and that Comair commuter plane had crashed. Enough of a gap, I suspect, that some of those passengers possibly might have even heard the good news about Steve and Olaf.
Some might have even talked about it as they boarded that flight, if they talked much at all. After all, it was early, before six in the morning.
I'm sure for many on this flight, getting to Atlanta was more important than getting to the bottom of hostage negotiations.
Still, I wonder how one would have weighed the odds of two men getting out of captivity versus 49 people in a non-descript commuter plane not getting out of Kentucky.
I suspect Jon Hooker and his wife Scarlett Parsley didn't bother with such calculations. They were married just the day before and on their way to a California honeymoon.
Ditto for Pat Smith, on his way back to Gulfport, Miss., on a Kentucky Habitat for Humanity project to build homes for people displaced last year by Hurricane Katrina.
I wonder if in the days prior they fretted over or discussed Steve and Olaf. Little would they have imagined that Steve and Olaf would be all right, but they'd be dead.
Again, I'm not saying anything profound here, just that there must be something precious and fleeting about our time here.
Nothing's guaranteed. Nothing's a given.
I suspect my colleagues Steve and Olaf already know that. I suspect families now planning funerals this day know that too.
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