From what my family says, my Dad was always a handful. He ran away from home a lot as a kid and probably didn’t like authority. He learned to fly when he was 13 years old from his Uncle Buck. He never looked back!
Dad spent his whole life flying planes. My parents met while they both worked at Eastern Air Lines in Miami. Mom was a secretary to then-owner of Eastern, Eddie Rickenbacker. Dad worked as a mechanic for Eastern, then became a Flight Engineer. Part navigator with a mechanic’s brain, his job was to know the plane from its nose to the tail.
Through his life, Dad’s flying career would take him around the world. After the Flight Engineer’s strike at Eastern in 1960, Dad went overseas to fly for Royal Jordanian Air Lines. Remaining in the Middle East, he went to fly for Saudi Arabian Air Lines (now Saudia) training their crews. It was in Jeddah that my sister and I got to visit him. Then he went to Beirut to be at Middle East Air Lines. The mid-70s were dangerous times for Americans living in Arab nations. Dad was getting older and couldn’t go back to the States to fly. Still, this took a lot of guts to do: to be in a place where at every turn, you could be shot, kidnapped or blown up.
It takes guts to go places where you’ve never been before. I bet there isn’t a country that Dad didn’t set foot in. When he ‘retired,’ which was just about impossible for him to do, he continued flying. He signed up with crews which went to far off lands to rescue some of aviation’s finest airliners: DC3’s, and Constellations (Connies). He cut his teeth on these at Eastern. Many a flight was delayed due to squabbles between Dad and the plane’s owner. If Dad said the aircraft wasn’t fit to fly, that was it!
My Dad and I never really got along. I suspect it’s because we are so much alike. You could put us in a room and within 2 hours, we’d be at each other’s throats. My step-mom Bee once told me that she never knew anybody who could make Dad as mad as I could!
We’re both stubborn as hell. If we get a bee in our bonnet, watch out; it’s steamroller time! Don’t get near us when we’re mad – we won’t listen and we won’t stop! We act first – think later! Our tempers will often get the better of us, but at the same time we’ll do anything for anyone.
Guts: That’s what my Dad had. He travelled the world never knowing from one day to the next what the next stop would bring. Sadly, I never got to hear all his stories.
Guts: That’s what I have when it comes to speaking up about our food, our rights as American citizens and our rights to eat the food we want to eat! Since WHEN does the government have the right to tell us WHAT TO EAT? They sure are trying these days, aren’t they?
Guts: That’s what we all need to have more of these days. Standing up for the less fortunate, standing up for ourselves, for what’s right and true, that’s what we need to do every day when it presents itself in our lives.
Guts: I guess I inherited this from my Dad – to speak up when I think something is wrong…, and to try and make it right.
The world needs more guts! The world needs more Dads like mine. I miss him.