My Florida vacation was perfect: I had my family all to myself, including doggies Gus and Doak, and Ed the cat; the weather was sunny, warm and breezy.

Matt took a week’s vacation and Mattman was home—he’s in the process of getting his visa in preparation for his trip to Asia. Helen was at work during the day but home for dinner. We cooked together, watched football and the first game of the World Series and a couple of movies; but most of all we shared love, laughs, thoughts and plenty of “remember when” stories. Gus and Doak were with me from morning to night; after all, I am the Cookie Lady from the North!

My flight home was delayed a half hour but the captain promised us he’d make up the time (he did!). While waiting at the gate, I recalled a flight to Florida several years ago. It was Jan. 15, 2009, and we were airborne. I happened to look at the TV in front of me and saw a plane in the water and passengers on the wings. There was a collective “oh my God” from my fellow fliers as we discovered that US Airways Flight 1549 had landed in the Hudson River after multiple bird strikes killed the engines. We were at 38,000 feet: my heart was racing! The gentleman next to me calmly whispered:

Sign Up for E-News

“There’s not a helluva lot we can do up here but pray for them down there!”

We quickly learned that through the calm bravery and expertise of Captain Chesley Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, 155 passengers and crew members survived and were rescued.

As our flight moved away from the gate, the woman seated across the aisle from me began coughing and blowing her nose. She did this throughout the entire flight. Because it was a full flight, I couldn’t request a seat change—I was a “caged” audience. I did give her some dirty looks, as did my seat mate, but she didn’t/couldn’t stop.

Why am I telling you this story? Because today I awoke with a headache, scratchy throat and sniffles. This of course pales when I think of the “Miracle on the Hudson.” However, it is not the first time I’ve been on the receiving end of someone else’s cold. Picture a flight with little kids crying, coughing, sneezing and just being miserable. Outcome? I missed a Marlins game, a party and a visit with my friend in Sarasota.

And so, coughing lady and your fellow cold sufferers, may I suggest this? If it is humanly possible, please stay home and take care of your cold. No need to share with me or others!

Ruthann can be reached at