Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.
The last post about creeping cowardice was going to have some of this as a part of it, but became too lengthy so I saved it with the thought I’ve got a while to live yet and might still work it in somewhere.
I believe one of the ways a person might attain valid perspectives about himself and his life events is through hindsight. Might be the only way. If a person can look back and seriously say to himself, “I should have done it,” probably he should have done it.
I can’t say that about those two mine shafts because I know even now I’d have done them if I could, and I recognize for whatever reason, I couldn’t. No ‘should have done it’ hidden in there.
But around 2002, 2003, there’s a should have done it I still occasionally experience a flash of regret about. Just until my insistence about not to regret anything in my life kicks in to trump it.
There’s an airstrip, or was an airstrip parallel to the old highway running between Belen, Los Lunas, and Isleta Pueblo I used to always swing into when I was in the area. A number of old airplanes to walk around and look at, wonder about, kick the tires of. The airstrip was gradually becoming inactive.
But at one end there was an old Cessna 140 tied down. I’d always go over and walk around, check it out. Sometimes sit inside it. Watch the tires gradually lose their air and grass get taller around it.
I asked the guys running a motorcycle shop that used to be an airplane related business about it. The 140 belonged to a man who lived in the neighborhood adjacent to the air park. He’d been experiencing advancing dementia … quit flying the plane a couple of years back. One of them heard he was in a nursing home, and that his wife had died. The house and plane were in an ambiguous ownership state as a result of complicated family matters.
When I heard that I began to realize that old plane needed to be taken around the patch a few times before it rotted to the ground. Or before it found its way into Trade-A-Plane and got sold to someone in Alabama to fly off or be hauled off.
I did a lot of planning about that plane. The battery was going to be dead, and maybe the fuel would have gone bad, but probably not. Avgas tends to last a long time in a tied down airplane. But there’s probably water condensed inside the tank if it wasn’t left full. Water under the gas that would be drained off before the engine started.
I borrowed an air bottle and brought the tire pressure up on one of the trips, checked the oil, got inside and tested the controls. Everything hunky dory. Just needed to draw the water off the fuel tanks. Fuel guages showed one full, one 3/4 tank. The 3/4 tank would be the one most likely to have water in the fuel tank.
I never made a conscious decision not to take that old bird around the patch, do a few touch and goes. My bud in Belen, Deano, died and other matters kept me from going into that area without a special trip. I suppose it just slipped my mind.
Which didn’t keep it from creeping back into my consciousness for years afterward, including now. I can tell you today, I should have done it. The way I know I should have is that I can’t think of a single reason why I shouldn’t have.
I’d be remembering that as my last pilot in command this lifetime, if I’d done it. And instead of a sense of loss when it sneaks into my head, I’d be remembering those touch and goes in a Cessna 140.