Lauran and Del Tally
keys. And Mrs. Kurt’s store, where you
paid a dime, reached in, and pulled
a glass bottle of Pepsi out of the cold
water. We revel in the memories.
When you revel in the memories it
means you had a good time growing
up, like Ozzie and I did. So one pretty
day, I flew to the local airport where he
lives in Grants Pass, Oregon, and took
Ozzie for an airplane ride. He was once
a student pilot, so I let him take the
stick. He flew over his town and his
house. I saw his bulldozer in the yard.
Some people have airplanes; some people have bulldozers. We landed and
I thought how special it is to share
flight with old friends, especially in an
airplane built by my own hands. It was
so fun that I’m going to do it again
next summer. Except this time his wife,
Lisa, wants to go, too. And there’s the
fact that he now owes me a ride on his
bulldozer. You know that’ll be fun!
There have been other special, random rides given, too. I took Kirk, a
U.S. Marine with two tours in Iraq flying the CH- 46, for a ride. I wanted to
share with him—firsthand—a piece of
the freedom he fights for. And I took
Dan, a businessman, who didn’t know
experimental aviation from an ion. He
really got a kick out of the ride, and
now he knows flight from the perspective of joy. I took Gilbert, a Navy pilot
in World War II, for a ride. For him I
did an overhead traffic pattern with a
pitchout. Afterward he said, “Wow! I
haven’t done one of those in 60 years.
That was fun!”
I’ve taken two of my neighbors for
rides, both of whom still work and, I
think, sometimes wonder what I do
with my time. I showed them: I go to
my hangar and push my airplane out
and fly. And I explain to them, “This
is a pilot’s life. It’s joy.” One of them
took a video with his phone/camera
during a loop (he wanted to do one),
and he was laughing the whole time.
He shows it to anyone who will watch.
He gets it!
There are lots more special rides to
give. I’m looking forward to them.
I want to take Willie for a ride this
summer. Willie and I graduated from
high school together in 1962 and were
marching partners during the graduation ceremony. There were 35 kids in
our graduating class, and there weren’t
enough girls to make all boy-girl pairs.
So Willie and I, being the short guys,
brought up the rear of the procession.
Willie and I were two of the last in our
class to get married, too. I still have the
same bride; Willie got married a couple
more times, for whatever reasons. But
here’s what Willie does: he calls Kay
and I on our anniversary and has done
so every year for the last 40 years.
That’s what you call a lifelong friend.
And here’s something else you need to
know about Willie: he’s a third-gener-
ation resident of Scott Valley, where I
grew up. His grandfather was a logger,
his father was a logger, and Willie is a
logger. Salt-of-the-earth and honest as
the day is long. Laughs a lot and you
love to hear him do so.
So here’s what I’m going to do next
summer. I’m going to fly to Scott Valley
Airport (A30) in Fort Jones, California,
and then fly Willie around his beloved
Scott Valley. I’ve flown my whole life;
Willie has logged his whole life. I want
to fly him above the mountains he
knows so well. His perspective on life is
solid. I just want to fly him to put the
frosting on it. One more graduation
march, one lifelong friend to another,
one more special ride.