Monday, May 17, 2010

Geez, What a Month (or Two)

We cruise through life so much of the time, propped up by routine. But sometimes the road gets rocky.

My friend Jeff lost his wife in early April. She'd had kidney problems, but had been released to go home, and died suddenly after getting back. Jeff seldom referred to her as "my wife." Instead, she was nearly always "Cathy." It's sometimes striking how much you can read from one word. When Jeff said the word "Cathy," what I heard was, "I love her so much." Cathy was only in her fifties. It makes me sad to think that they've been denied the time to grow old together.

My coworker Shaun is one of those guys who seems in rapture over being a dad. He's mentioned the incredible feeling of having his infant son fall asleep on his chest, and of watching the little guy discover life and the world. Now his wife wants a divorce, and Shaun lives away from his son.

My coworker Tim flew regularly to the Deepwater Horizon. He knew several of the folks who worked on the rig personally. It was "his rig" so to speak; he was most often tasked for the crew change flights in and out of there. I haven't asked him if he knew any of the eleven workers presumed killed in the explosion. But, I know that it must weigh on him, knowing that he's been responsible for their safety in the past, while they were passengers on his helicopter. At around the same time as the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Tim learned that he had some major blockage of coronary arteries, and underwent the stent procedure. He'll be grounded for a minimum of six months. Tim was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross while serving as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. I hope we'll see him back in the cockpit in a few months, and I hope that when he retires, it's on his terms.

Bob wrote about cars in a recent blog post. He mentioned how he's always loved driving and working on them. I've never been a big auto enthusiast, and my tastes have tended toward the practical (cheap). But, back in my Army days, I drove a fellow pilot's Corvette around when he'd had a bit too much of the happy sauce. Geez, the older Corvettes were fun to drive, and really comfortable for tall guys.
One day, when I lived in Austin in the early eighties, I found myself at a dealership haggling over the price of a new Corvette. It would have been quite a transition: Toyota Tercel to Corvette. The the price got down to something really attractive, because the dealer wanted to unload his remaining 'Vettes in the old body style to make room for the new, more European-looking model. I was really close to signing on the dotted line. But, I got cold feet at the end, for a reason probably best explained in an old joke. Surely you've heard it.
Q: What's the difference between a Corvette and a porcupine?
A: With a porcupine, the prick is on the outside.


Kelly said...

Love the joke. I think it has a lot of truth to it.

Pam said...

LOL!!!! Great joke! And, I agree with Kelly.

Really sorry to hear the somber news of your friends.

It's been a somewhat sad year so far. I hope the advent of summer brings with it more joy than sorrow.

Debby said...

Here's another one: what's the difference between a Harley and a Hoover? The Harley holds two dirtbags.

Sorry for your friends. Gees. There is a lot of unhappiness in the world. It just hurts your heart to hear things like this.

Algernon said...

Thank you for being a good friend to them.

Bob said...

Glad to see you back, Hal. You've been missed.

Sorry for all the heartache.

Karen said...

Hal, sorry to hear about your friends. ( And I just love the latest story on your other blog about your friend's girl. Very heart-warming).

Annie said...

Hal, I am sorry to hear so much sad news. You are a good friend.

Years ago, I was invited to join a fellow for dinner after a trade show. He was very cute and smart, and I was really very happy he asked me out. As we walked out to the parking garage, he pointed to a bright yellow Corvette and asked what I though of the car. I responded that I thought it was a silly thing to spend so much money on when you didn't even really get a trunk.
Guess whose car it was?