through winter, and birthday greeting to a friend
Today there's a cold and gusting north wind rattling the
palm fronds outside my window here on the Mississippi Gulf
Coast. The blizzard of 2011 that marched through the Midwest and
on up the eastern seaboard yesterday brought heavy rain and
thunderstorms to our area. That was followed by a crash dive by
the thermometer, a plunge from almost seventy in front of the
storm to today's high reading of thirty eight. Out my window I
see some neighboring denizens of the RV park, marching miserably
by our fifth wheel, dressed like Byrd at the South Pole. The
radio has been warning of freezing drizzle north of the coast
and I take comfort in the snugness of the RV and the fact that I
don't have to drive anywhere today.
nomadic winter is right on schedule this year. November and
December were spent in Austin, Texas, at the funky Pecan Grove
RV park on Barton Springs Road, right in the heart of the
restaurant/entertainment district. January and February have us
here in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, close to the casinos and the
beaches of Biloxi, and March and April are scheduled for South
Carolina in the Charleston area. May first and spring time
should bring me home to West Virginia in time for the good
weather and until the bare branches of November have me
following the geese again. I am truly able to be 'where the
weather suits my clothes', as someone once said in a song, and I
find that a real blessing. How wonderful that technology lets
those of us whose jobs will fit the gypsy life work from
I'm plugging away at my desk today,
catching up on the myriad of details that pile up when I'm busy.
I find that the South American market has remained strong,
fueled by their hardy economy, their strong currency against our
dollar and our bargains in an aircraft market battered by our
own bad economy. One of my customers from Brazil called a couple
of days ago with an AOG need for a hard to find part, and I've
spent several hours on the phone and the web trying to find it.
I finally locate one and get it sent on its way south.
task and returning of emails and phone calls occupy me for much
of the day, then I take the time to write a greeting for the
'Birthday Book' that a daughter is putting together for her
dad's sixtieth birthday. I won't be able to be there of course,
but I write a bit about the days that we worked together, I as a
Cessna rep and he as part owner of a Cessna dealership located
in New York. Since it isn't too personal and since I'm not
disclosing his name, (the statue of limitations are up anyway)
I'll include it for you to read, as a snapshot of an earlier
time in the aircraft business. I'm sure old Xxxx won't mind.
Hello Xxxx, happy sixtieth! Wow, you used to be so
much younger than I. It must have something to do with economy
of scale, don't you think?
I was thinking back on the
years we spent working together at Xxxxxx Aviation and I have to
say I was probably miscast as a mentor for the young birdman
that you were at that time. In retrospect I perhaps shouldn't
have taught you to roll the Cessna twins since I don't recall
many trips with you afterwards when the horizon didn't revolve
The fact is though, that you were an
apt pupil in all the misbegotten aeronautical deeds that I
taught you. Take buzzing for example. You learned quickly all
the important details, don't hit the ground, don't go back for a
second pass and so forth. I think one of my proudest moments was
when I heard that a state cop had given you a ticket for low
flying up at the island.
You quickly picked up my
method of preflight planning too, and I recall ferrying a no
radio 421 back from Wichita with you. Someone (not me) had left
the charts in the wing locker and no one (not you) would get out
and retrieve them during the taxi to the runway. We wandered all
over the eastern US before finally landing at Binghamton at dark
with the low level fuel lights winking at us.
should mention those many and memorable evenings at the Red Lion
Inn in Endicott? I forget, did we get banned or just kicked out
when you ordered a pizza delivered to us there that night? I
don't think I've ever seen an Innkeeper so mad.
my friend, all of that was a while ago and I hate to say it, but
the time will go even faster for you now. My best wishes are
with you for many happy returns of this day and I look forward
to seeing you soon.