There were two of us "souls" on this twin-engine Beechcraft Baron, the pilot and me. The pilot was my dear friend Steve--an excellent pilot by the way; thank God. We had just taken off from Boise, Idaho, headed for Portland, Oregon. The air-traffic controller comes on the radio and says something like, "I'll be losing radio contact with you for awhile, give me your vital information." So Steve says, "There are two souls on board." and gives our names, the phone numbers of our next-of-kin, etc.
We're over the Rockies, presumably, the clouds are so thick you can't see tomorrow. Then Steve says, "That's not good!"
Two people you never want to hear that from: your pilot and your doctor.
The crisis involved the plane's wings and props beginning to ice up. Long story; happy ending. After all, I'm sitting here typing this on a lovely Saturday morning with a good cup of coffee.
There are those moments for us "men of a certain age" when we wonder what kind of mark we're leaving. Not to sound morbid (and for the record, I'm feeling great), but one of these days, when your funeral is over and family and friends are back at the church eating fried chicken, potato salad and German chocolate cake. What will they talk about?
He was funny. He talked a good game. He was rather arrogant and self-obsessed; after all who writes a blog 'all ABOUT me' other than the Pioneer Woman and young, hipster women who post pictures of their cats and their food?
Worse yet, what if the only thing they talk about is how good the chicken is?
So, what would I want people to say? I've given that some thought. It's a work in progress, but so far I have this: He was funny. He loved his family and they knew it. He spoiled his grand-girls so rotten they now all have blogs with huge followings, where they post a lot of selfies. And, he was a trail-blazer.
My inspiration for this new vision is this line from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Let me say right now, I love the sentiment in this, but I have a few issues with Ralph's rhetoric. More on that in the next post.