Monday, June 1, 2009

A Night at the (Air) Museum

Mr. and Mrs. Hall were just finishing up their lunch at Doc’s when Mr. Doc himself came over and slid into the booth with them. “Thanks again for the bread pudding- the pudding was great and I think I got drunk on the sauce!” “Well, then; mission accomplished!” said Mr. Hall. Doc had been bragging about his homemade bread pudding at the restaurant and Mrs. Hall had brought in some of her own for comparison. “I plan on making another batch next week,” said Doc, “but I’m going to wait for a copy of your recipe before I go shopping!” Slipping a tip on the table, the Halls waved and hopped into the big black car. “All packed and ready? Then, it’s off to Connecticut!”
Pilots are a chummy bunch, Mr. Hall explained to Mrs. Hall over the drone of the engine, and distance is no deterent when it comes to getting them together. When Mr. H. received his invitation to Ken Kuhrt's (former fellow pilot at United Technologies) retirement party, it was the work of a minute to file his flight plan and head east. The Gentle Reader might assume that after a long day's work at the hanger, the last thing any of Mr. Hall's cronies would like to do is stand around and watch hydraulic fluid drip out of an F-14 into pans of kitty litter- but that's exactly what old pilots crave. Ken's retirement party took place at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT; and true to the code of these airmen, the drinks flowed easily and the air was thick with exaggeration and hyperbole. The exhibits were compelling all by themselves, but everyone knows that nothing says fun like grown men stuffed into tiny race car simulators, and that was just what the party provided.
Almost as much fun as seeing the old guard, was talking to the up and coming new turks; fresh faced and green and blithely unaware of what flying used to be like- ("Back when I was flying, we had it so rough, half the dials in our cockpit were just painted on..") As usual, it was the group from Syracuse that stayed the latest, ushered eventually to the door by the yawning catering staff. Full of good food and great memories, Mr. Hall sighed contently, as Mrs. Hall steered him back to the hotel room and off to bed.

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