I knew this cutting edge boomerang was something incredible. I shared my scant aeronautic knowledge with my incredibly bright four-year old but I'm certain he thought I was blithering because Andrew probably couldn't see it and even if he did see it, he just too young to appreciate the rare bird's grandeur.
I have never seen another Flying Wing but if I ever get the craving, I now know a likely place to see one, the Atlantic City Airshow.
My father would have loved the air show. Back in the 1970's and 1980's, he and my mom would take friends and family to the Air Show in Rhinebeck New York.
I never joined my folks on their trips to Rhinebeck, (hey, I was a teenager with better things to do). But I do remember my first time up in an airplane?
|MY FIRST FLIGHT WAS A FAMILY TOUR IN THE SKIES ABOVE HERSHEY PENNSYLVANIA (SEPTEMBER 1963).|
It's possible that those home movies encouraged me to avoid high places and hampered me from being inspired to fly. I think it also dissuaded me from becoming a daredevil.
I was always uneasy looking down from high places and my self-preservation mode didn't allow me the luxury of going on roller-coasters till I was in college. So scaling tall ladders to get to the second story of my house was and still is...completely out of the question.
Remember the old, "ED SULLIVAN SHOW?" While I tolerated the musical acts, my two loves were the acrobats/specialty acts and the comedians. I didn't need to see death defying mayhem, I found it thrilling to see the guy spinning thirty-seven dinner plates to the accompaniment of Khachaturian's "SABRE DANCE."
A few weeks ago, all the memories I mentioned above rushed to mind when I ran into an old friend, (JP). During our conversation, JP (who's two year older than me), mentioned the finer details of taking a serious household fall. He said, "It happened right after Thanksgiving. And now ten months later, I'm finally 90% pain free". In our chat, he described his accident in the style of old comedian (and veteran of the Ed Sullivan Show), Jackie Vernon.
|JACKIE VERNON (1924-1987) WITH A GENTLE, LOW-KEY DELIVERY SPECIALIZED IN SELF-DEPRECATING HUMOR. HE WAS FREQUENTLY REFERRED TO AS, "THE KING OF DEAD-PAN" AS HE'D SAY, "TO LOOK AT ME NOW, IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE I WAS ONCE CONSIDERED A DULL GUY."|
JP croaked, "I'm too old to climb up on the roof," as he explained his accident while imitating one of Jackie Vernon's "vacation slide" routines.
Jackie Vernon's comic genius was proven as he used his drollness, to wrap jokes around his pantomiming the use of a non-existent slide projector. So JP had me laughing immediately when he pretended to press an invisible clicker and said, "Here I am in my garage."
(click) "Here I am loading the Christmas lights into boxes."
(click) "Here's my neighbor's cocker spaniel running through my yard."
(click) "Here I am half way up that rickety old ladder."
(click) "Here I am slipping on the dog crap I stepped in and falling off the ladder."
(click) "Here's the EMS driver scraping the shit off my sneaker with his finger and saying, 'Oops, I thought it was pudding.'"
Last week on Wednesday August 26th, I was thinking of JP and his concussion, the collar bone he broke, his messed-up shoulder, elbow, fingers and other injuries as I removed the leaves from my gutters, (the lowest ones I can get to with a five-foot ladder).
Due to the narrowness of the gutters, I had to use my hand to grab out the wet, disgusting leaves and other debris. I don't relish this filthy chore but after almost twenty years of practice, I'm secure in my abilities. The big difference this year was JP's words of wisdom, "I'm too old to climb up on the roof." So the whole time I was up there I kept repeating to myself, "I'm not gonna fall. I'm not gonna fall."
The job itself is fast and easy. Once you recall the best procedure and get into a rhythm, the whole shebang takes twenty minutes, (plus twenty more to wash the yuck off). While up there, I never stopped chanting my 'I'm not gonna fall,' mantra as I finished the first side and advanced to other. I was just about done with side two when I heard the unmistakable sizzling roar of three fighter jets, zipping across the skies above my neighborhood. Before I could connect their presence with the airshow (ten miles away), I forgot my Zen-like, "I'm not going to fall," pledge of positive karma.
Stupidly, I contorted my back, squinted into the sun to catch a patriotic glimpse and lost by balance. Luckily there would be no cliffhanger that day. Despite my split-second failure to be careful, I grabbed the gutter (after all these years I'm thrilled it supported my weight) and righted myself.
Trust me, even at the cost of missing out on seeing a Flying Wing...whether you're at the air show or not, nobody needs to see or be a part of a crash landing, (except maybe my friends from when I was ten).