Sunday, May 10, 2009

Near Misses

In the same vein as "& Degrees of Separation", we have near misses.

In the last couple of weeks I've had a couple of conversations that led to connections previously missed.

"Eagle Pass" was wearing a Texas A&M ball cap and said that his kids were bugging him to attend A&M. I asked where he was from, he replied, "Eagle Pass but I live in San Antonio."

"Really, where'bouts?"

"A little town North of San Antonio. On I35 between San Antonio and Austin."


"Yeah. Know it?"

"Sure. Where in Selma?"

"1604 and I35."

"Just South of the horse track?"


"Behind Ruben's?"

"That's it!"

"Ya know the big house on top of that hill?"


"Yup. That's my Brother's house!"

I met "Sling-Blade". (Not his call sign just a tag I've hung on him.) The course of getting acquainted usually leads to the question, "So, where all have you been in your career?"

That led to an unmentionable repair station in San Antonio, TX...

"No kiddin'? When?"


"What line? DC-9's, 73's and 75's."

"No shit?! Me too."

"Yeah, I was there when that kid got killed in the T/R (Thrust Reverser)."

"I knew him. In passing."

"I was on the same crew."

"So was I, for a while."

Later in the week I met Lewis/Clarke...

"We were sitting in the club at NAS2 (Sigonella, Sicily) when we heard gun fire. A LOT of it!"

"OH, YEAH! Little car?"

"Yeah, blue!"

"Station wagon!"

"With bullet holes about this F*%&ng Big!"


"Lot's of 'em!!!"

These moments make me wonder: How many connections have I missed? How many more will follow? Where will they lead? Where might they have led?

"Where are we going and why am I in this hand basket?"

Saturday, May 2, 2009

How many degrees?

They say there are seven degrees of separation between all of us.
(Something like that.)

Not in this business!

A couple of weeks ago I met a pilot in Mississippi. I'll call him Goldwater. I ran into him the other night in Texas.

Goldwater introduced me to another pilot friend of his that had come to town to visit Goldwater and a mutual friend of theirs.
(With me so far?)

So, as is customary, the three of us were drinking beer, doing shots and telling lies.

Visiting friend says, "blah blah yadda yadda Mombasa..."

"Mombasa? When were you in Mombasa?"


"Hmm, really."

"Why? Were you there? When?"

"Yeah, '92. 'Provide Comfort'."

"What were you doing?"

"Maintenance on Priority Air Transport."

"No shit. Then you know pilots D and B."

"Hell, yes. I was sitting right seat when D blew the engine of off the R/H wing!"

"Sonofabitch! That was you?"

"That was me!"

"Bill's here in town. He's the guy we were telling you about. I've got his number."

Next thing I know he hands me the phone. I hear B, "Hello?"

Now, I haven't talked to B in 17 years. What the hell am I gonna say? He doesn't know that he's being featured on a bar room version of this is your life. He has no idea who is on the other end of the phone...

"B, just which Tom Clancy novel were you reading when D blew up the engine?"

"DAVID!!!!!!!!! Where the hell are you?"

I had lunch today with one of three people on the planet that were 'There' that day.

"There we were. 18,000 feet over the plains of Africa..."