By lex, on October 23rd, 2009
Heading out in an hour or so with Son Number One on that long drive to Pensacola, Florida – the cradle of naval aviation. No intention to post over the next few days, so you’re welcome to talk among yourselves. Here or over on the other side.* Which, by the way – and I know that an “off the air notice” is a bad time to rattle the cup – but what with the server spikes we’ve been enduring the tip jar has been drained, and it’s out of pocket, I am, keeping this place humming. If anyone felt inclined to throw a fin in the jar, that’d be taken as a kindness.
It should be an interesting trip. I’m heading back to where it all began, and my son to whatever it will be will all begin. When you’re at the end of a path looking back, it’s easy to see how all the holes in the Swiss Cheese lined up just right, from that first make-or-break flight physical at the Naval Aero Medical Institute, to standing on a podium at the end of a 20-year flying career passing command of your strike fighter squadron over to another man who will take your people to war. Everything in between – the first solo check ride, basic and advanced jets, instrument checks, NATOPS checks, first CQ, first night CQ, first mission in combat, first friend you lose to the deceleration sickness – all of those things lay behind me, and before him. From the bottom looking up, it’s less a sun-dappled path overhung by willows than a climb up a rocky mountain whose lower approaches are obscured by fog. Now he’s the man in the arena and I’m the cheering section.
I’m OK with that. He’s a good man.
The bags are packed, both physically and psychologically. The latter are weighed down by the burden of a son who follows his father. The father hopes that it will be as good for his young man as it was for him, that the Navy may not have changed too much, that he may bloom where he is planted. That he’ll be safe. What burden the son carries from following a father whose career was marked here or there by some modest measures of success I do not know.
But hopefully, by Sunday evening, I will have relieved him of whatever is in his bag. It’s not about me anymore.
Hasn’t been for a while.
Update: Stage 1 complete at Las Cruces. Tomorrow, Houston! And thanks awfully for the generosity, the bandwidth fund should be good to go for months. Private thangas forthcoming.
Update 2: Las Cruces to Houston is a hard pull. There is a very great deal of Texas.
Got in late last night, ate decent barbecue at a place y-clept Beaver’s in the Sixth Ward. Got a lovely eight strait at the Alden ** in town. Letting SNO sleep in. Eight hours and a bit to Pensacola, a mere hop, skip and a jump from here. Oh, and for those concerned, it’s flying back I am. After a day of recuperation, hopefully on the golf course at NAS Pensacola.
Update 3: Mission accomplished.
* 09-19-2018 Link Gone; no replacements found – Ed.
** 09-19-2018 Alden Hotel now called the Sam Houston – Ed.