My introduction to flight was through a client that invited me to take a jaunt in her plane. I really didn’t know her that well, but to me the invitation was quite an honor. I was greatly impressed that this individual had an airplane, as her business resembled one that could go into the “dumper” at any moment. If the total truth be known, I was downright flabbergasted.
She said, “Meet me at XXX airport, next Friday at 2:00PM and we will discover what the skies look like up close.”
Upon returning home I informed my wife that next Friday “I had to meet Joy at XXX for a joy-ride.” After she gave me the most disgusting and inquisitive expressions she has ever given me, I proceeded to both explain and prepare to dodge the onslaught of pots and pans I knew was coming.
Joy was a regular customer who had showered me with her business, but other than that there was no feeling for each one another, other than friendship. But, my wife didn’t know that. Any attraction or magnetic appeal between Joy and me was, strictly speaking, out of the question. Besides that, she probably refers to me as “that scrawny kid with hives and whatever else is highly infectious.”
Also, I wanted to discover the location of XXX airport, for believe it or not, that is its real name. This is highly confusing when a girl receives a love letter from her boyfriend that ends with meet you at XXX. She doesn’t know whether the X’s represent kisses and he forgot to mention their meeting place or vice-versa. I surely did not want to be late for this “excursion into the sky,” so I made the adequate preparations and it’s always been my philosophy, the person into whose hands you place your life, you never want the least bit upset at you.
The next Friday approached, and at 2:00PM I was where I was supposed to be. For some reason, Joy was not there. I cogitated about what had caused her delay. As there are many cars traveling the highways on Friday, they can aggregately create traffic congestion. So I concluded, that Joy must have gotten “tied up” in Friday’s rush hour.
A question I have always had that perhaps you can answer, why do they call it rush hour when the cars only move at 5-10MPH speeds? As that question was slightly off the subject, we will return to the story, and my brief respite.
This pause gave me the opportunity to survey the planes that were lined up along the side of the tarmac. There were Lear Jets, Meyers, Piper J-3’s and PA-11’s and helicopters, all individually owned and all in great condition except this one little red airplane. This little plane resembled military aircraft. It gave you the distinct impression that it had been in all theaters of war during WWII and was the recipient of several purple hearts.
The little red plane was banged and dented almost beyond imagination and recognition.
My curiosity got the best of me and I began to more closely run a visual inspection of that little plane. I shortly discovered that in addition to the bangs and dents this little red plane was held together with baling wire.
I began to ask the Lord to not only forgive me for my many sins, but also, that this little, dilapidated plane didn’t belong to Joy.
Then a bolt of inspiration hit me. Joy had not seen me, so I could always tell her that I got sick or that my grandmother died.
Which leads to another story about an employee telling me his grandmother died, only she died three times! And for some reason, this moribund event always occurred on Friday, right after the employee was paid. End of employee, and back to the story about the little red plane.
I began to feel my legs gravitate toward my car. At that precise moment I felt a polite “tap” on my shoulder combined with “I am sorry I’m late, but I got tied up in Friday afternoon’s traffic and have the ticket to prove it.” Right then and there, I began to worry about Joy’s coordination.
We began our walk by all those stellar airplanes. At this time I didn’t know which airplane was Joy’s, so our walk closely resembled “the last mile.”
Could it be this nice Piper. -no--SLUSH-SLOP!! I don’t know whether I mentioned it, but it had rained the day before and the ground was quite damp.
Then, could it be this nice Lear Jet --no--SLUSH-SLOP!! What about it being this equally nice Meyers--no--SLUSH-SLOP!!
Joy finally said “well we are home.” And you guessed correctly, if you said, “And there I stood, face to face with the little red plane.”
We both got in and fastened our seat belts ( me-as tight as it would go!) and proceeded to taxi and take-off.
We climbed to an altitude of 12000 feet, with a view of the mountains and sea that you wouldn’t believe (during which time, I was offering the Lord my rosary beads in case the baling wire didn’t hold).
The view from 12000 feet is awe-inspiring, but to me everything else was frightening. I am a seasoned ladder user, and am afraid of heights, in fact,I am such an experienced ladder person that I have painted my house one time. During my house painting experience, I felt the view from 24 feet was too high so you can imagine what the view from 12000 feet did to me.
Unfortunately, I had failed to take my fear of heights into consideration when I accepted the aviation ride with Joy.
Then came the time that Joy had to prove to somebody she was an accomplished pilot.
She proceeded to enter a nose dive that would take us to 9000 feet and I proceeded to enter the sanctum commonly referred to as “losing your lunch.” The “lunch” did not wind up on the floor, as I found a convenient regurgitation bag.
All this time Joy was talking to somebody on her radio with them talking back in a secret code. ( At least that is what it appeared to be to the lay person - me!!)
Being in the dive only one word would come to mind, parachute. I also speculated, that if somehow I ended up falling in space, the two balloons I had in my pocket might prove to be a very worthwhile purchase.
Brother, at that time, I was petrified!!
Joy was successful in her nose dive to 9000 feet, although a part of me will always remain at 12000 feet.
We then descended and landed the little red plane, without incident. Was I ever elated about the “without incident” part.
Applauding her once-questioned coordination and thanking her for her time and the ride in the little plane, I went merrily on my way back to the house with an experience that was now past ( whew!! ) and part of my legacy which I have no intent of passing onto the next generation.