Flying Journal - A special "Guest Flying Journal"

In honor of November and Veteran's Day, I'd like to use my space this month to present a guest journal by my friend and fellow pilot, Clyde "Chris" Chrisman. Besides its "timeless timeliness," his essay seems to relate to some of my essays about flying and transportation. For many years, Chris operated Chrisman Signs, the building still remaining on East Central street, now housing the masonry department of OTC. A few of you met Chris several years ago when he flew with us on a fly-out, to Mountain View as I recall. Chris flew B-24s toward the end of WWII and later owned his own Cessna 150. I'll let Chris speak for himself, but I will only add that Chris is an accomplished artist and painter and to get the full effect of his essay, you would have to read the original in his own pen-and-ink calligraphy.

Eighty Three . . .

I'M EIGHTY THREE? When did that happen!

Am I an 'old person' now? Our Earth is four billion years old and the scientists say it'll live another four billion-therefore it now must be just middle-aged.

Perhaps I too, am only middle-aged? Another eighty three to go? O.K. by me! Do I act eighty three? And if so-so what! Must I, as so many "older" people, guard against revealing my age? Shouldn't "old age" be the reward of having lived so long-not its penalty?

Surely we all see ourselves in the youth of today. Doesn't the expression: "Just a different bunch doing it" hold true here?

I felt an exuberance of spirit as a young man pulled his Kawasaki motorcycle up on a wheelie" on busy East Sunshine Street and held it, while passing myself and two other vehicles! In 1938 there was no way possible I could've pulled a wheelie with my 1936 "'Indian Scout."

But I could, and did, many times ride in the moonlight, with headlight turned off, standing in the seat, on Hi-way 13 south of the old Grand River Bridge north of Deepwater, MO.

Would I, if my machine would have been capable, have done the wheelie thing? Probably. Would I do it now, if I were capable? I like to think I would.

Isn't now then-and then now? I imagine the young cyclist feeling the same thrill as I, many years ago felt as I circled the ever present cumulus build-ups, with 60° banking turns-diving-soaring-hoping to not meet another student flying in the opposite direction in the old PT-19 Fairchild Trainer during flight training at USAAC Base in Uvalde, Texas!

Must we accept "being old" as near the ending? Need there be an ending? The "ending" could have happened many, many times in the past eighty three years. Why even consider it?

We have now the same moon-the same song-the emotions-the same Rembrandts and Picassos-the songbirds have not changed their tune-

I now find daydreaming more rewarding than ever-it seems much less taxing than chopping wood or washing the cars-so what if the dream has little to no chance of becoming reality? We still have had the dream!

A wise man (me) once said: "Life can be beautiful and yet simple, if you can manage to ignore reality." As Andy Rooney might put it: "I don't know about you, but for me, I'm GONNA" DREAM ON!"

However You Do it, Transport Yourselves and Your Dreams Safely! .

Earl

[Copyright 2001 - Earl Holmer]

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