I gaze at the the last plane my father ever built. Lonely, hanging from the ceiling of my office, going nowhere, slowly yawing in the artificial wind of the HVAC vent. Small, bright translucent yellow and sky blue. So like my dad, though not obvious to the casual visitor.
My dad was large, 6’4″, perhaps another inch in his prime, lean, and thin but not skinny. He bore the weight of war and the joy of family with few complaints and an ambition trimmed to meet those demands. The plane is small; bright only in places necessary to make it seen after landing in unexpected places. Pale blue as in calm. Trim, efficient, stable in the uncertainty of air high above becalmed grass and gravel. Beautiful to those who understand how to see a man and a plane doing what they need to do without pretense. Floating on the thermals of time.
“Of what use is the moon if you don’t have the night?
Of what use is a windmill with no Quixote left who’ll fight?”
——Carlos Varela, “Walls and Doors”
- The value of time
- The success of perseverance
- The pleasure of working
- The dignity of simplicity
- The worth of character
- The power of kindness
- The influence of example
- The obligation of duty
- The wisdom of economy
- The virtue of patience
- The improvement of talent
- The joy of originating
“The Trainer’s Daily Dozen”, from D. Wayne Lukas
“Whatever the calling, stumbling and falling
I got through it knowing there’s no other way
There’s no other way”
—-Mary Chapin Carpenter, “The Calling”
“He said, “Drifter can ya make folks cry when you play and sing?
Have you paid your dues, can you moan the blues?
Can you bend them, guitar strings?”
He said, “Boy can you make folks feel what you feel inside?”
—-David Allan Coe, “The Ride”
“And now I own
what I desire:
a nothing I can fill with anything.
But for a long
time I will leave
before I make it something
and diminish it. . . .”
—Andrew Hudgins, “After Muscling Through Sharp Greenery”
“It’s a semi-true story
Believe it or not
I made up a few things
And there’s some I forgot.
But the life and the tellin’
Are both real to me
And they run like the rain
All the way to the sea.”
— Jimmy Buffett, Semi-True Story