He was flying airplanes for the Air Force.
Ok. He wasn’t really a baby. But he started at 21 and I’m now at a point in my life, when 21 sure seems like a baby. Especially when we are talking about flying jets.
My Dad’s military career was a huge part of my childhood. But, it seems like this whole other life. As though that might be some other man climbing into that plane. But, it’s not. That’s my dad.
The parts of the military I remember are my Dad’s tidy uniform and his once sharp salute, softened by years of service. I went to work with him one day in the Fourth Grade for a “Bring Your Daughter To Work Day” and it was the longest day of my life. I sat in his office, watching meetings I didn’t understand, wishing I had brought more homework to do. I’m sure I’ve seen the glamorous side of his military career, the side with my dad flying sleek aircraft, but I don’t really remember it. I do remember attending his last flight before retirement. I stood on the runway, hot and sunny, trusting others that the plane overhead was being flown by my dad. I remember wishing I had a snow-cone to eat. A red one, specifically.
He never flies anymore. He probably could if he wanted to, but he doesn’t seem to want to. Puttering around the dirt roads of Vermont in his filthy car, raising his hand in a subtle wave at people driving by, seems to be more his style now. It would seem his hot-shot days are over. But I don’t think he sees it that way. I’d guess he feels more hot-shot now than ever. Living the sweet life. Slow and quiet. Retirement.
Life in the fast lane, er, open air space, ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, I guess.
Love you, Dad.