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Early Years

I'm switching the rest of the story to the Flexible Flyer banner.  I have always thought that would be a good title for my memoirs.  My ...

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Good Santa

So, I'm staying at Weber's house in Mogadore Ohio and flying an old Aztec a little for him.  It was great to be doing at least some flying. It was therapeutic for me.  Jim was asking me why I wanted to get back into airline flying, after it had bitten me so hard a couple times.  I don't know if I had a convincing answer for him at the time, but on reflection, I guess it was just because I didn't want to admit defeat and was going to give it one more try.

Back in the days when I was flying with him, Twirly and BS, I came in with this big talk about going to work for the airlines.  Although these guys never came right out and said so, I got the impression they thought it was a pipe dream for me and never even worth the effort to try with the airlines for any of us.  Then Dan came to work there and because his dad already worked for Allegheny Airlines, which became USAir, he was talking about eventually "burning oil", jet fuel, kerosene, instead of aviation gas. Getting an airline job.  It helped me focus on doing the same myself.  It had always been my goal, from my very first lesson in a Cessna 150 and I was not ready to give it up.  Corporate flying jobs were just as risky as airline jobs had become.  Any kind of change in top management in a company could mean that the airplane would be sold and the pilots are on the street.  Badda boom, badda bing.  It's all a risky proposition.

I wasn't hearing from anyone else, so I was really pinning lots of hope on the UPS situation.  That girl was getting prettier and prettier, kind of like they do at 2 AM in a bar.

I would call Doreen at Grandma Ann's as much as we could afford and she would tell me what cool stuff I was missing with the kids.  They were at great ages, Caitlin was 6 and Mike was 4.  I remembered some of the cool stuff that had happened when I was home.

Mike had gotten a toy that was supposed to be an ice cream stand.  I asked him what kind of ice cream he had.  He told me all the regular stuff, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry.  He said he had invented a new flavor.  I asked him what he called it.  He gave me this little Mikey smile and said, "Ogee gogee."  We had a good laugh about that one.  You had to be there.

Caitlin was a good big sister.  Mike had a friend across the street from the house we sold, Jeffrey, who was a little bigger and kind of pushy sometimes.  Caitlin had stepped in and straightened this kid out many times and come to Mike's defense.  "That will be enough of that, Jeffrey."  One time, at Grandma Ann's, Doreen had picked up Jeffrey and brought him over to play.  They were playing with some kind of zip line deal in the back yard and Jeff wouldn't let Mike use it.  Mike had finally had enough of that shit and he whacked Jeff a good one.  They all three took off running around the house and by the time they got to the front, they were all pals again, as if nothing had happened. 

All three of the kids were on a soccer team.  I always liked watching their games.  They looked like a bee swarm as all the kids ran together after the ball.  Jeffrey lost interest and was just standing in the middle of the field looking at a dandelion flower as the swarm buzzed all over the field.  When he reached his hand inside his shorts and started manipulating his unit, his mom noticed and shouted for all to hear, "Jeffrey, stop that.  Chase the ball."

Our entire family was in a little nearby pizza shop once and there was a juke box.  Doreen was putting quarters in it and suddenly Mike jumped out of our booth and started dancing in the aisle.  Caitlin was so embarrassed, she tried to crawl under the table.  It was a dance no one had ever seen before and we called it the Pizza Charlie.

Once Caitlin, Mike and I were driving back home from someplace in my Ford F-150 and I suggested stopping at a little lake to see an alligator that was supposed to be living there.  As I pulled into the parking area, Caitlin got scared and started crying and Mike picked up on that and started crying also.  I had to get back on the road.  Kids kind of influence each other that way.

On one call to Doreen from Ohio, she told me she had taken the kids to see Santa at the mall.  After the kids returned to her, Santa beckoned Doreen.  He said, "Is your husband looking for a job?"  She said I was and asked why he wanted to know.  He told her some mall was looking for a Santa and that Mike had asked him for a job for his dad for Christmas.  It still tugs on my heart strings to think that a 4 year old would be that aware and do that.

It wasn't long after that, that I got a call at Weber's from George, a guy who had taken over running the ground school at Florida Express after I got it set up and then went on to UPS in a similar capacity.  He asked me if I had a pair of brown shoes and told me I had a class date at UPS in Louisville on December 27, 1989, about 3 months after I learned Braniff was going bankrupt.  The next year, I asked Mike if he would ask Santa for his dad to win $50 million in the lottery.

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