September 14, 1984
Liz and I were in the front seats, with Karen Jarrett and her infant twins in the back seat. We were retrieving them from Knoxville, Tennessee back to Middletown, Ohio. Two hours into the flight, we were approaching a line of cumulus clouds with tops around 16,000 feet. Our Cessna 172 could not top out the clouds. I either had to go down several thousand feet to go under them, or fly through them. The short ride through the clouds would be bumpy, but it was nothing I could not handle. I turned around and told Karen to be sure her seatbelt was fastened and to make sure that the babies were secure in their car seats.
She just stared back at me, then tightened all the seatbelts. With a straight face, as serious as she could be, she pleaded, "Give it to me straight. Are we going to live or die?"
At first I thought she was kidding, but she really meant it. I assured her I would never knowingly fly into a life-threatening situation. That put her somewhat at ease, but she still did not care for the bumpy ride through the clouds.