A close encounter of the airliner kind with Cindy Crawford, whose assistant had no TV


On yesterday’s flight to Los Angeles, my seatmate in Business Class was a young woman—I’ll call her Jennifer—who said she was Cindy Crawford’s assistant. Miss Crawford, Jennifer said, was just ahead in the First Class cabin. Jennifer works for her Crawdaddy Productions, dealing with agents and all those who want the 51-year-old supermodel’s endorsement.

They were returning from Italy via Munich, having been at Fashion Week, in Milan. The Mirror reported that Miss Crawford had also made a promotional appearance in Venice. Even after complaining of jet lag, she “looked an absolute vision in a black thigh-split dress that showed off her long, toned legs.”

One difference between Business and First is the pajamas those passengers were issued. Our amenities kits only provided socks.

While First was tony, Jennifer and I had problems with our screens. No big deal for me–I can go 11 hours and 30 minutes without watching Beauty and the Beast–but she expressed her frustration to the cabin attendant, a lightly bearded fellow named Van Rijken.

He averred that measures would be taken.

As long as we were interacting, I took the opportunity to ask Jennifer a question.

“Of all the show business people you’ve met—”

“Everybody,” she said.

“—who’s the nicest?”

“James Corden.”

“James Gordon?”

“Corden. He’s a late-night talk-show host.”

“Oh, him!” Friends and I had just gone last month to his famous crosswalk outside CBS studios. We practically knew the guy.

Now another attendant–a stout guy, Russian-nesting-doll bald–showed up. He tapped the screens and tried the remotes without making headway. Jennifer asked if he might have another seat for her in business class. In fact, yes, he did. With her move established, she scooped up all her stuff.

Looking into my eyes, she said, “Sorry to leave you.”

I looked into her poignant brown ones and said, “Sorry it had to end this way.”


Seat 5K was a place of desolation during mealtime. I consumed the shrimp appetizer followed by pesto linguini and wondered what Miss Crawford had ordered. Maybe the air-fried free-range micro-shaved poulet on a bed of lamb’s lettuce?

As Van Rijken cleared away my remnants, an idea struck. Why endure the long journey alone when space was available?

“You could tell Cindy Crawford there’s an open seat beside me. I’d welcome her company.”

Why wasn’t it feasible? Her first husband, Richard Gere, is six years older than me. And although the crossover is seldom attempted, it is little-known that pajamas are welcome in Business.

Van Rijken, who had crossed from Bavaria to SoCal a hundred times, said, “I believe she’s asleep.”

“Wake her up. Once she understands it’s me, she won’t mind. She’ll be quite entertained.”

Fully in on it, he implied a “wink-wink” and said he would let her know as soon as she woke up.

I opened up my satchel and scribbled all of the above on a tablet.

The flight went on like three baseball games back to back. I did some reading, slept as much as possible, and did not watch a movie.

About 90 minutes before landing, Van Rijken returned with a light meal of minestrone soup and Caesar salad, and I made my complaint.

“Cindy never showed up.”

“She’s still sleeping.”

Really? On 11 hours’ sleep, she would spin like a wound-up top when she got back to Malibu.


Miss Crawford, here’s what you missed.

It rarely fails that 10 minutes pass before I tell any new acquaintance about my growing up in Omaha when no one had yet heard of Warren Buffet but everybody had heard of Marlin Perkins and Jim. In those days, local bowling shows were important features of weekend television. The sportscaster-hosts gabbed for an hour while competitors, having qualified through their regular league play, rolled pressure-packed games of mixed scotch doubles.

I seem to remember a set of snow tires as the prize.

We also went to stock car races at local tracks and got spattered by mud while bugs swarmed under the flood lamps.

And I have stories about our pastor, a former Marine chaplain, who blustered and cussed and swore in the pulpit like a tropical storm. 

Google says you’re from DeKalb, Illinois, as in the eponymous company that markets corn seeds. We could have gabbed about kernels, cobs, and tassels.

Aw, shucks! Miss Crawford, as I said, you would have forgotten the need to sleep.








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