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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

In Memory of Matt-Man and his Great-Granddaddy

Yes, I'm back and it's not even Christmas yet. Did I manage to learn Hootsuite? Um, well, no. Did I look at it? Yes. Did I feel a little overwhelmed by it? So far, yes. Am I going to give up on it? No.

On another note, with more holidays literally around the corner, I found myself reflecting on the great fun we had this past Thanksgiving. You see my cousin and her husband threw the greatest Thanksgiving bash and we got a chance to attend it along with a number of other family members. My brother was there with his kids, we got a chance to spend time with one of our daughters and her boyfriend, and then there were the magical flight logs. I don't recall laying eyes on those since very early days of my childhood. Those and the flight jacket - the one that my dad used to wear everyday during the winter when I was little. I barely remember getting into trouble one time when I was rather small and just wanted to look through those pages. It became rather apparent that those were very special "books" and we kids were not to touch them. Four books made of black leather filled with the amazing story of flight time that my dad spent, first as a civilian,  then came the entry, May, 1942 - Army, and then what appeared to be some kind of dare-devil training. What were some of the words he used? Stalls. Dives. Then came the entry, July, 1942 - Army again, and then a seemingly endless list of airplanes - different manufacturers, models, engines, flights across the United States, flights overseas. You know the movies about time travel? For a few magical moments I could recall my dad in his flight jacket. How he loved that jacket. As I remember, my mother had to make a big deal out of giving him something else to wear one Christmas in order to try to get him out of that old brown leather jacket. I was grown and raising my own children before I realized the stories behind that jacket. For that matter, I think my dad had already passed away before I knew why my parents had lived in Sweetwater and Brady, Texas. My dad had been one of the training pilots during WWII. He was 20 years old in May, 1942 when that first entry for the Army was made.  He trained some of the WASP'S (Women's Army Air Corps pilots) at Avenger's Field and he was attached to the Army Air Corps. Later, in '43, he trained some of the male pilots at Curtis Field. Even later, there were flights overseas until 1945. I think the thing that really soaked in this Thanksgiving evening was just how many different planes he flew and how very many hours he flew. As a kid, I remember him talking about flying by instruments only, and watching the lightening dance up and down the wings of the airplanes. I remember him talking about Greenland and Iceland and the Bermuda Triangle. He even had an entry in his flight logs for Casablanca. It's funny how much more meaning history begins to take on as you get older yourself, and you wish that you could help the younger generations understand, and you wish that maybe you could understand, yourself.

And so, it is good to know that although all of our individual lives have their ups and downs, at least for now our country and many others like it enjoy relative peace this Christmas Season.

So, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone. Merry Christmas, Matt-Man. Give baby Jesus a kiss on your first Christmas, and enjoy the endless stars with your great-grandaddy! I know that he will enjoy the adventures with you.

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