Monday, August 30, 2010

He Gets it Off His Chest, 28 Years Later

So my friend Ron has been with PHI for 31 years, like me. We worked together at PHI's Lake Charles base back in '81 and '82. I left the Gulf of Mexico to fly in California in '82, and Ron left to work overseas and at Emergency Medical Services bases. Twenty-eight years would go by before I would see him again.

Ron decided to come back to flying in the Gulf of Mexico, so one day, we found ourselves paired as a crew. Naturally, we had lots of catching up to do.

I suppose it was around the third day we were flying together that Ron brought up something that, evidently, had been bothering him for twenty-eight years.

Ron asked, "Remember when we had that barbecue at Sid's place, and you invited Elaine?"

"Yeah."

Elaine was one of our communications specialists. She was working in Cameron that week, south of Lake Charles, and I got the okay for her to ride on one of our helicopters that repositioned from Cameron to Lake Charles every afternoon.

Ron continued. "You remember that you were helping Sid get the food together, and you asked me to call Elaine to remind her to call you when she got in?"

"Yeah."

"Well, I called her. Well, I thought I called her. But I didn't call her. No, my fingers dialed my house. My daughter answered. For some reason, I didn't recognize her voice.

"I said, 'Hi. Is Elaine there?'

"I heard, 'DAD?'

"I blurted out, 'SHELLY?'

"But before I could say anything else, my daughter called out, 'MOM, DAD'S ON THE PHONE, AND HE'S ASKING FOR SOME WOMAN NAMED ELAINE.'

"When I got home later, I started to explain things to my wife, but she held up her hand and said, 'Don't even bother.'

"I said, 'Honey, you can call Hal, and he'll explain it to you.'

"She said, 'Yeah, I'm sure you and Hal have your stories straight by now.'"

Ron paused, and I couldn't tell if he was smiling or grimacing.

"She never let me explain what happened that day." He looked at me pointedly. "I thought you should know."

Geez, what could I say to that? But, in a moment, I thought of something.

"You know what, Ron?"

"What?"

I said, "If you had offered to help Sid with the food, you could have skipped all that relationship trauma."

Ron said, "Gee, thanks for the thoughtful feedback."


5 comments:

quid said...

Funny story! I love the role his daughter played in it.

quid

Kelly said...

Yep... funny story!

So, are they still married??

Mary Paddock said...

Funny in a painful sort of way. I'm wondering the same thing Kelly is, though.

Debby said...

Ditto again. For Kelly's question.

I'm glad that you were there for him, Hal. Not every man would have been.

Bob said...

Yep, this is great.

I'm betting they're still together.