When Chris came and pitched it to me I thought he was nuts. Not that I ever accepted living in the home – heavens, no. There was nothing there for me but suffering and indignity. But to fly again? At my age?
Chris explained that although I had been put out to pasture, that didn’t mean I could not be brought back into harness. Were I willing, that is. And he said my wings would not have to be a hundred new jets, just one small prop job as old as he is – almost as old as I am myself. Together we would fly again. It would be like taking me back to my youth.
Well of course not in the literal sense. I am almost eighty years old and nothing is going to change that. Heavens, Chris himself is almost seventy. We are both near the pot of gold in the arc of life. But Chris has been one of my people for forty-odd years and so I listened.
I listened and maybe he is nuts but I am going along; I have signed up and I am not sorry. I am flying again!
Oh, I suppose those of you who haven’t flown might not understand. You probably think I’m crazy too. But, my goodness, how wonderful it has been! Our country slipping by under my wings again! And not high up above all the clouds, many miles up, but down in the clouds and between layers, rarely more than a mile above the ground.
I remember flying like this, back with my first wings, my lovely Lockheed 10A’s. And I remember my first big adventure, flying across our country from St. Hubert to Vancouver in 1937 with Father on board. We had to prove it could be done. He had to see it with his own eyes. We did it in one day, I don’t know how. I still remember him urging us on, my pilots and I, through weather I probably should have been sitting out on the ground. But we made it and he was satisfied. He could make me into an airline. And he did.
Now Chris says we are going to do it again. Not the proving flight in 1937, but the revenue transcontinental in 1939. He says we are going to respect our age and not do it in one day or anything like it. And he promises he will not push weather like Father made us do.
I confess I am worried. Not about the weather or the adventures we are going to have, but about my new paint. You see, this is what I look like today. A little sparrow, a drab female, in modest feathers.
But Chris talks about the old colours. How I looked flashy and aluminum and new in those days. He says we have to at least bring those days to mind. So we are planning, and I go into the paint shop soon. When I get out I am not going to recognize myself. So flashy! Almost male!
But it is going to happen. I wouldn’t want to stop the show now. I’m having too much fun!