In the last post, I opined that I had not heard the last of the mischief by our friends at Mountaindale, for whose cookout we showed up a day early. I was right; our arrival on the correct day and at the correct time was met with the usual hijinks. Ed was guiding me with hand signals to a place he had left empty for us to park, or so I thought. As we were following his directions, he suddenly motioned for us to bypass the parking place and proceed in the direction of the park exit. Nice, huh? During the waveoff, however, he relented and motioned us into the shady spot he had saved for us.
As Sandy and I exited the car, the cookout attendees burst into applause and cheering, obviously the kind of faux praise that would be given to an imbecile for having learned to tie his shoes. Needless to say, the theme for the rest of the afternoon was set: Get Mikie! For this sort of thing, they are professionals. They go for a person's soft underbelly like catfish to stink bait. It was okay, though; if it hadn't been my turn in the barrel, it would have been someone else's. Here is a photo of the group, in case any of them are wanted by law enforcement:
|From the left: Marilyn, Jesse (with the blue cup on his head), Eddie, Jan, Sandy, Janet, Ginger, Ed and Bob. (Good breeding keeps me from commenting on Marilyn's posture or what may be causing it.)|
On the way back, we drove a little out of the way on highways 9 and 24 to come into Colorado Springs from the west and see the "other" side of Pike's Peak. It was a beautiful drive, which we enjoyed a lot.
Our visit with Phyllis and Vicki included dinner at Kura, a Japanese hibachi restaurant in Colorado Springs that we agreed was the best of its genre we had ever patronized. It will go on our list of favorite restaurants.
|Phyllis, Vicki and Sandy at Kura|
The next day, we joined our Mountaindale friends again for lunch at the English Dockside seafood restaurant in Old Colorado City. Joining the group this time were two additional couples, Jim and Ellie and Rod and Debbie, nice folks whom we had not met before.
Still smarting from the ribbing I had previously taken at the cookout, I decided that it was time for a little payback. As Ed has a deserved reputation for choosing restaurants where everyone would meet, only to find them closed, I decided to arrive early and conspire with the restaurant staff to pull off a practical joke. This involved affixing to the restaurant door a sign reading, "Sorry, Closed For Private Luncheon." As our group of friends arrived (all of whom were well aware of Ed's problem with closed restaurants), I asked them to wait with Sandy and me outside the door, pointing at the sign when Ed and Marilyn arrived. Ed's reaction was sort of stunned befuddlement, hardly believing what he was seeing, as he knew that Ginger had made reservations for our group. As soon as it became obvious that he had swallowed the bait, we took down the sign and went inside to our table, much to Ed's relief.
We weren't quite finished with the harassment, however. We also conspired with the waitress to tell Ed, upon his ordering lunch, that his selection was not available and instead to recommend a "horn fish" entree that the chef was offering as a special. Ed's natural response was to inquire what a "horn fish" was, precipitating several other mentions of the term. Every time "horn fish" was mentioned, Sandy (who was more than willing to become a co-conspirator) would surreptitiously blow a bicycle horn hidden in her purse. Yes, it was all decidedly juvenile, but everyone laughed themselves silly. Ed was the best of sports through it all, but it will probably be time to pick on someone else next time. There will be plenty of targets, as there are many deserving mischief makers in this bunch.
|Ed and Marilyn. Ed was the target of today's mischief.|
It is an old saw among pilots that there are no “old, bold” pilots--meaning, of course, that
pilots who take unnecessary risks while flying may not be around to collect their Social
Security benefits. For humans to fly above the earth in a machine is an unnatural state of
being, and gravity will eventually win out over man’s best attempts to defy it: The
machine will return its occupants to the ground in one way or another.
This is the story of a man’s quest to fulfill a lifelong desire to become a pilot and, having
achieved that goal, a recounting of some of his exploits as a corporate jet pilot. It reveals
not only an impression of a corporate pilot’s career but the nature of the man who
understood the dichotomy of “old” and “bold” as they pertain to aviation safety.
Growing up in Missouri, Ed Dray was fortunate to be surrounded with the Midwest
values of God, country, family, honor and hard work, and he had in his DNA another
attribute essential to becoming an “old” pilot: Common sense. While he does not try to
thrill the reader with tales of daredevil stunts or narrow escapes from death, he discusses
the thoughtful yet methodical manner in which he molded his career and in which he
handled situations while airborne that, through his actions, never made the evening news.
At times funny, the story also reveals a great personal sadness shared by relatively few—
one that never goes away and never fully heals. His faith and the strength of his family is
tested, but these very things allow him and his devoted wife, Marilyn, to overcome the
"My Journey to the Clouds" is suitable for all ages and could be especially inspiring for young people in the final years of their education and making decisions about their careers.
By the way, all but two couples having lunch today are fulltimers. Jim and Ellie were fulltimers for eight years and are now part-timers, and Eddie and Jan are part-timers about to become fulltimers. I think the takeaway from this is that the fulltime RV lifestyle doesn't mean that people necessarily become more isolated. On the contrary, we have met and made friends with scores of like-minded people who have jettisoned the stress, bondage and expense of stick-and-brick house living for the freedom of the road. It's also easier to make friends if you are carefree and stress-free and have a common bond. And so it is for us.
We have one more day in Colorado Springs, then we're off to Santa Fe. Stay tuned!
Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it enough each day.