Patio Talk: 4

Patio Talk: 4

Pat’s step-dad passed away and she was going back to El Dorado, Kansas to help with the arrangements and attend the funeral. It was a busy time at work so I decided to stay home. Our firefighter son, Doug, said he could work it out with his job and he would be glad to go. Fortunately they could book a flight for the next day. It was September, so they were both dressed in casual warm weather clothing. Pat was wearing tight jeans and high heels and Doug was wearing shorts and a tank top. As was the current fashion on both the east and west coasts, Doug was wearing a fanny-pack containing his billfold, sun glasses and other necessary items.

The flight went without a hitch and they soon landed in Wichita. They rented a car and drove to El Dorado where they spent the night in a motel. The next morning, they went to a restaurant for a good breakfast to start a busy day. Entering the restaurant, they found it busy and noisy. They soon found out what was causing the commotion.

The table next to them was occupied by a bunch of guys having a good time. They all looked to be in their 60’s, deeply tanned and wearing bib overalls and John Deere ball caps. They were busy laughing and razzing each other. Obviously, they were good friends and Pat heard one of them say that this was a weekly get together. They had probably all done a half-day’s work before coming in for breakfast. They carried on, telling their stories and entertained each other and everyone else in the place. Pat noticed that a couple of the guys were watching her and Doug and whispering back and forth. She was aware that she and Doug looked different than the locals. She also realized that they may appear to be an older woman and her boy-toy companion. Doug could certainly play that part. He is good looking (like all our kids) and heavily muscled from years of weight lifting.

The rest of the men kept talking and laughing and were telling wild stories, probably to see what reaction they would get from Pat, Doug, and the rest of the crowd. For example, one guy says “I baled and stacked hay yesterday and I’m sure stiff and sore this morning. Guess I’m getting old.” “I know what you mean,” the guy next to him said, “I’m only having sex with the wife 3 or 4 times a week now. Old age is hell!”

Pat and Doug finished their breakfast, got up, paid the check, and were leaving. Suddenly, the loudest guy at the neighboring table jumped up. “Hey,he yells, “That guy forgot his purse!” Mortified and red-faced, Doug retrieved his fanny-pack and headed for the door. Apparently, a fashion statement on the west coast can be misunderstood in the Midwest.

Dave and Pat Thomas
October 28, 2017

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Patio Talk: 3

Pat reminded me of this story. She told me about it when it happened and as one of the participants remembers it better than I do.

It was probably 1997 or 1998 and we were on vacation. It was Pat and I and our grand-daughter, Michelle. Michelle would have been 11 or 12 at the time.

Pat’s friend Charlotte and her family had a beach house in Galveston that they graciously let us enjoy for a week. We had flown into Houston, rented a car, and driven on down. We were looking forward to a few days of just hanging out on the beach and vegetating. When we went into town, we tried to see and do things that Michelle would enjoy like Moody’s Gardens, Joe’s Crab Shack, and the seawall. Our days at the beach house were relaxing and fun and we re-charged our batteries while there.

We drove back to Houston and caught a flight to Wichita. We planned to visit Pat’s aunt and cousins and drive on to Augusta and visit friends. Our flight to Wichita would be in a commuter plane, one of those 10 or 12 seat puddle-jumpers. We climbed aboard and got on our way. When we got close to the Wichita area, the pilot’s voice came over the intercom telling us that an electrical storm was passing through Wichita and we would have to circle for a while before we were allowed to land.

Pat says that after we had been in the holding pattern and making circles for quite a while, Michelle leaned over and whispered “I have to go to the bathroom.Pat pointed out the restroom which was up forward, just behind the pilots. Michelle went forward but immediately came back. “What’s the matter?” asked Pat. “There’s a big window right beside the toilet and anybody can see inwhispers Michelle. Pat whispers back Who do you think is going to be looking in?” “Oh” says Michelle as her face turns red and she heads back to the restroom.

Dave and Pat Thomas
October 16, 2017

 

Patio Talk: 2

We were talking about the latest Geico Insurance commercial. It’s about a guy playing a triangle solo while dancing around and gyrating like a rock star. It’s a hilarious performance. I commented to Pat that I remembered the kindergarten music class try-outs. Everyone wanted to play the triangle because it was the only thing that had a musical sound. I guess I was a total loser because when I finished my try-out with the triangle, the teacher took it away from me and gave me a wood block. Pat confessed that she was a loser too. The teacher took the triangle from her and told her she would be playing the sticks. We can’t help wondering how different our lives might have been if we could only have played the triangle.

Dave and Pat Thomas
October 13, 2017

Patio Talk

During the summer months Pat and Izzie and I like to sit on the patio after supper until sundown. Isabella (Izzie), being an indoor cat wears a harness with a five-foot leash attached. We also have a reel for pets that is about fifteen feet long. We snap the reel onto the leash and Izzie has about twenty feet that she can move around in. While Izzie looks for lizards and wishes she could get to the two hummingbird feeders, Pat and I are sitting in the swing. We swing and hold hands and talk and keep an eye on Izzie. (I think there are about 10 stories about Izzie that you can find under the “Cats” category on the blog.)

I’m 81 now and Pat will be 80 next month. If you are wondering what old people talk about, its kids, grand-kids, great grand-kids, and “stuff”. I’ll give you some examples of the “stuff”.

We listen to the airplane noises. We are just a couple of miles west of the Miramar Marine Corps Air Facility. It’s a training base so some days are a constant stream of after-burners. When the Blue Angels are here for the annual air show we get blasted out of our seats and it scares the devil out of Izzie. We have no complaints though. This is where the world’s best pilots are trained and was the setting for the movie, Top Gun.

Besides the jets from Miramar, we sometimes hear small private planes coming out of Montgomery Field which is only 3 or 4 miles away. There is one small plane we hear every night about 6:15 as it climbs out and heads up the coast. We are guessing that it is either a flying lesson underway or a sight-seeing tour. We get a lot of helicopters, too. We live in what is called “The Golden Triangle”, an area that is bounded by freeways on 3 sides. Naturally, the freeways are patrolled by the traffic choppers from the TV news programs and by the police and the sheriff. All together, we hear a lot of aircraft noise when we are on the patio. The funny thing is, that it is not that bothersome but adds to the flavor of the patio experience.

I talked about my first ride in a small plane. It took place one Saturday morning in 1954 or 1955. I was driving back from Wichita. Normally, I worked at the garage on Saturdays from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM so I have no idea why I had been to Wichita. Anyhow, I was just leaving town, heading east on Kellogg, when I spotted a kid who was hitch-hiking. Back then, we frequently picked up hitch-hikers and this kid looked clean and intelligent and I was bigger than he was. I stopped and picked him up and as we headed for Augusta, he told me his story.

He said he was 23, was in the Air Force, and was stationed at McConnell AFB in Wichita. He went on to say that before joining the Air Force, he had earned a pilot’s license and he had just recently saved enough money to by an old airplane. The plane was an old single engine Taylorcraft and looked really beat up. However, he bought it for $700.00 and that made it look a lot better. He had parked his plane at the Augusta Airport because it was small and cheap and close enough for him to get to it easily. Also, Al Guy, the airport manager had promised to help him put a new skin on his airplane. This Taylorcraft was old enough that it had a canvas skin rather than a more modern skin of aluminum. The kid (I can’t remember his name) and Al Guy had re-skinned the plane and it looked good and was ready to fly.

At that time, the Augusta Airport was on the north end of town. It was at least a half section of land stretching from Ohio Street eastward to Custer Lane and north to the county road. The southwest corner of the property in later years became the site of Augusta’s first Wal-Mart. The interesting thing about it was that it was a multi-use property. Besides being the airport, it was the golf course and country club, the skeet shooting range, and the archery range.

I’m tired of saying “he” so I’ll call this kid “Joe”. I helped Joe push his plane out and he performed a pre-flight inspection of it. We climbed aboard, taxied out and took off. We flew around for an hour or so and Joe taught me how the controls worked and let me fly for a while. Joe told me that when we went in for a landing we would have to be careful as there might be golfers on the landing strip. The landing field was a wide grassy strip right down the middle of the golf course. Sure enough, as we came in, there were golfers crossing the fairway. Joe gunned

the engine to let them know we were coming and took the plane around for another try. The golfers cleared out and we touched down easily and rolled out across the grass. I enjoyed the ride and the experience and was happy that I had stopped to give the hitch-hiker a ride.

Pat said she had a story about her first ride in a small plane. She had just moved to El Dorado from Eureka and since she was 13 years old, that would make it about 1950. She was looking through the El Dorado Times and saw a notice that one of the local organizations was holding a fund raiser in just a couple of weeks. They would be giving rides in an airplane and charging just a penny a pound. Pat got all excited! The ride would cost just over a dollar and she had that much in her piggy bank. Of course, with the event being 2 weeks away she nearly drove her Mother crazy.

Pat and I had to take time to discuss the fare. A penny a pound isn’t much money. Pat pointed out that regular gasoline was selling for only 13 cents a gallon so a penny a pound would surely be a profitable venture. The price of gasoline really put things in perspective.

The big day finally arrived and Pat couldn’t have been more excited. The temporary air strip was a pasture on the outskirts of town. Pat’s Mom drove her out there and since there was no seating, stayed in the car to watch. She would be happy to experience the thrill of flight from ground level.

There were 2 planes giving rides that day and it was a good thing. When Pat got in line there were at least 40 people ahead of her. All of them were excited and a little nervous so they were all laughing and jabbering. The time passed quickly and Pat was soon climbing into a Piper Cub and anticipating the flight. The pilot gunned it and Pat was amazed at the speed with which they rolled across the bumpy pasture. Then, suddenly, they lifted off and left the bumps behind. She was elated as they gained altitude and she could see farther and farther. The cars and people below began to look like miniatures. It was a magic ride but it didn’t last long enough. They were soon back on the ground and everything looked normal again. Pat has retained her fascination with the elevated view. When we fly, she gets the window seat so she can look out.

Dave and Pat Thomas
October 11, 2017