Monday, March 19, 2012

SOmething for you from a couple winters ago

I posted a poll a while back asking you guys if I ought to get a snap brim cap, a fifty mission ‘crush’ or a leather helmet and goggles for driving the Miata in.

Actually, I’ll probably drive it bareheaded, but I have an invite to go for a ride in a Stearman when the weather breaks and I’ll be damned if I’m going for a once in a lifetime flight in anything but a helmet and goggles.

So I put on my flight jacket and drove out to Ohio to buy me a leather helmet and goggles. The place was having a special. Buy both and they throw in a scarf. Cool.

It was as cold as a witch’s tit in a brass bra when I left the store, so I left the regalia on and hopped into my pickup and headed home. I left the stuff on and promptly forgot about it as I drove along the Ohio Turnpike. After a while, I wanted a cup of Joe, so I pulled into a rest stop. I was almost into the restaurant area when I realized that I was still wearing a silk scarf, helmet and goggles, but it was so cold I said ‘The hell with it’ and walked in.

I was in the McDuck line when a trio, obviously three generations by the family resemblance fell in behind me.

The teenaged boy, about sixteen or so, asked his dad "What’s with him," looking at my outfit. I couldn’t help myself. I turned and introduced myself.

"Crash Murphy," I said. "I’m one of the last of the Old School stick and rudder men. Headed to New York City to guard the Empire State Building. That idiot Robert Denhart the third pulled another one of them oversized apes offa Skull Island and he’s gonna show it. They pulled me out of retirement to keep the Empire State Building safe. Best piece of flying I ever did was back in ’33 the first time a gorilla busted loose."

"They don’t have screamers like Faye Wray anymore, either," I added. "I had a radial engine roaring and 4 thirty caliber machine guns going off and I could STILL hear her above it all."

The father smirked, but the look the grandfather gave me was truly devilish. The kid didn’t know what to think. He wasn’t scared, nor really too uncomfortable. Still, he decided to pass me off to someone else.

"My grandfather flew fighters during WW2," said the kid.

"What was his name?" I asked.

"George Bailey," said the kid.

"I taught a George Bailey to fly back in ’43," I replied.

"It was ’42," interrupted the old man. "Crash, is that really you? I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!" He looked at his grandson. "He’s the guy that taught me to fly during the war," he explained.

The look on the kid’s face was priceless. His eyes were as round as saucers and his lower jaw was resting on his waist. At least until he saw the look on the faces of his grandfather and I. Then he turned real red. He had just been had by a couple of pros and knew it. He turned beet red.

The father chuckled, Gramps and I smirked. The father had actually stepped aside. He was enjoying the show.

One look at George Bailey and I knew he was probably something like a very successful used car salesman. He was clear eyed and as sharp as a tack.

"You look good, George," I said. "Last time I saw you, you were as skinny as this youngster is. You’ve grown downright handsome in your middle age."

"You, too, Crash. How did you do it?"

"I used to tell you young guys not to drink that cheap whiskey," I said. "But you never listened to me. I told you to drink good whiskey off of the top shelf, and plenty of it."

"I remember," said George Bailey. He turned to his son. "Do we still have any of that good Bourbon left that Jimmy gave you last Christmas?"

"Sure," answered the son.

"Good. I’m going to have me a drink of that when we get home," said George Bailey.

"But dad," said the son.

"Heck, I might have two."

"But, dad…"

"I might even have six or eight if you don’t stop telling me what to do, Son. I’m still your father!"

The clerk called "Next!" so I went up and ordered my coffee and bid them a hasty adios.

As I was leaving, I heard the kid ask his father and grandfather who the hell I was. I heard George Bailey tell him "A friend."

Then George Bailey turned to his son. "I really am going to have that drink," he said.

I laughed all the way to my pickup
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