The Inspiration of Flying

Nothing compares to the pure pleasure and exhilaration of taking to the air!

When you learn to fly, you become a changed person!  You are no longer bound to  the bindings of Earth!  The planet maybe, but not the earth itself, for you have been released to explore the vastness of the sky!  A new dimension in your existence!  For a while, you turn your back on earthly things and look up and away!  It is a beautiful thing!

I think sometimes, as I travel in my little airplane, just how lucky I am to be able to exercise the privilege of airmanship.  To be able to pilot my own self in my own little airplane to new places and new horizons.  To travel like a bird over rivers and mountains and forests and roads and traffic and malls and cities and countryside wherever I go.  It is like a miracle which you cannot fully explain.  It is a feeling like no other.  It is exciting, exhilarating, adventuresome and sometime a little intimidating even!

The challenges of flying are endless.  Where you go, who and what you take with you become your own little universe during each mission.  You loose yourself in the moment as the whole world unfolds beneath your wings.  You are the master of the air.  You have worked long and hard to earn your wings and now you are finally able to take off on your own as a newly minted or old timer licensed pilot.  You may be brand new or you may have been flying for years, maybe most of your life, like me.  The excitement, the wonder, the amazement is always there every time you take off and leave the boundaries of earth.

If you don’t fly and you have always thought that you would like to learn, NOW is a good time!  Young or old, you can do it and you can enjoy the benefits that it brings to your life. Airplanes are exciting and there are many different kinds from small to large and slow to fast.  Expensive and not so expensive.  You pick and you choose.  Choose your mission and set about to fulfill that mission whatever it is.  It may take a little time and a little money but the rewards are out of this world!

If you need some help, give me a call at 404-514-4077, I mean it!  I can help you with a plan and may even have a little airplane for you that you would like for your own.  Renting from a flight school is usually the best and first way that you can get started, but, like in my case, I just bought a small airplane I liked and then hired me a flight instructor to teach me how to fly it.  Start anyway you want to, but get started somehow.  Remember that thousands have done it and YOU CAN TOO!

Happy Landings from Steve!IMG_20120512_115016

 

When Friends & Family Move Away

Whether it is far or near, there is always a great amount of angst and anxiety when friends and/or  family move away!  There is something that wants everything to stay the same and not change!  The status quo, I guess!

But, things do change for a hundred and one different reasons.  People’s lives are dynamic and fluid and there are often good reasons for a change.  It may be because of schools for a better education for our children or grand-children or it may be a bigger and better house for a brighter tomorrow.  It could relate to health and hospitals and the proximity thereof.  It might relate to state laws regarding taxation and retirement and or business needs.  Whatever it is, we who are left behind resist that change because it up-sets our “Apple Cart!”  Yes, it does!  And, I would be the first to admit it!

We do not always understand the motivations for moving to another location.  Sometimes it is just for the excitement of somewhere new and different.  The weather often affects one choice about where to live – either escaping to it or from it!   But, it seems there is good and bad weather everywhere.

Economic reasons are one of the most valid reasons for making a move.  If you don’t have a job, have just lost one, can’t find one, etc., then it may really behoove you to consider a new move.  After all, you have to have income, unless you have already achieved financial independence, won the lottery, inheritance or otherwise. So, money I guess can become a big motivation.  What if you had to move to New York?  Oweeeee

Actually New York is a beautiful place and there are many fine points about living there either in the City of New York or up somewhere in the state.  It has a lot to offer!  As a matter of fact, it would seem, that every state in the Union and even outside has much to offer in a great variety of ways!

A good friend of mine use to live in Hawaii and I would marvel with him about how great it must be to live in Hawaii.  He grew up just next door to me in Northwest Georgia on the adjoining farm.  My friend said, “You know, when I grew up, I discovered that I could live anywhere I wanted to live so I chose Hawaii and I love it!”  Okayyyyyyy

Wherever we live, we have to make it home!  For home is where the heart is always!  Friends and family may be separated by a short distance or a thousand miles but, the heart always draws us together across time and distance.   The only problem is when you need to borrow that butter, milk or sugar is it just a “path” to their house or is it a two day trip!?!

Sometimes it hurts, but the extra room allows one to stretch into new horizons that otherwise may not be possible.  So, adjust, and be planning your next visit!  I do love Paris and Rome and Lucern and Nassau  and The Caymans and Key West and, and, and ………!

The Great Summer Solstice & The Strawberry Moon

Yesterday, June 20, 2016, was the day of the Great Summer Solstice and the “Strawberry Moon!”  It was a fine day that started early and ended late.  In fact, the longest day of the year!  And, to top it off, we had a very rare “Strawberry Moon” that had not occurred since 1967.   It was very reddish and I guess, hence the name.  Upon rising in the East the Moon first shared its brilliance through the stretching pine trees in the far horizon, and, slowly began to lift itself up until it was fully exposed in the Eastern sky!   Glorious and brilliant, a fitting tribute to a special day in the passing of time.

Why is the Summer Solstice such an important phenomenon?    I think because it reminds us that there is a great circle to life, once again, and that all things, good or bad, or indifferent, do not go on forever.  There is the longest day, the shortest day and two Equinox’s that give balance to the seasons and to live on the planet Earth.  It is a marvelous system that works with perfect harmony and balance.  What a miracle of design.  Not only do we go around in circles everyday but we do it once a year also.  So, it reminds me of a book written by James Burke, called “Circles.”  The details of the book, you will have to dig out for yourself, but it deals with many such concepts as I recall and puts the reader into a real head scratching, thought provoking state of mind.  Mr. Burke is one of my favorite authors, although he is British, and I do not hold that against him.  On one occasion I made my way to a local university, Kennesaw State University, just to hear him lecture and to personally meet him.   It was a highlight of my earlier search for answers about the Universe.  In fact he is also the author and producer, through BBC, of “The Day the Universe Changed!”

Like many ancient people, we observed the day, by first recognizing what day it was, what it meant in the scheme of things, and how we would respond to it.  We, our family, had a full, full, full day, being the longest day of the year, and then we closed the day with a swimming and pizza party by moonlight as the Strawberry Moon greeted us on the distant horizon.  It was beautiful and a poignant reminder of the events that make up our lives over time.  Fun and fellowship and personal fulfillment were the order of the day.  What more can you ask for!?!

So, our next big celestial event will be the Summer Equinox on September 21, 2016, and Autumn will begin the next day when the days become shorter until December and the Winter Solstice, the shortest day, and then it all starts over again until the Spring Equinox and so on, and so on……..

Live Eternal?  Maybe – maybe not – it may all depend on your perspective.  Like the classic ring, the symbol of love eternal,  it goes on un-ending.  With a slight twist, it becomes a “Mobius Surface” that never ends but turns back upon itself over and over and over.  Some, like Einstein, think that time and space is like this, and it turns back upon itself, the concept of “Space, time continuum.”  Perhaps it does.  I tend to agree, for the evidence is all around us!

Regardless, of the scientific nature of things, we mortals or possibly immortals of the future must wrestle with these thoughts in an effort to understand and to live in harmony

with the Universe and Ourselves!

Memorable Birthdays

Everybody has them!  Birthdays!  But, which ones, over the course of your life, have really been memorable?

Certain times make great “mile markers” for us as we proceed along this journey called living.  One of the best ways to get your life within your own perspective is to examine and try to remember which, if any, birthdays, were especially good and memorable.

I have a few that were very special to me!  Namely, 6 years old, 10 years old, 16 years old, I think 50 years old and 60 years old.  There were probably others but these are the ones that really come to mine over and over with more clarity.

6 Years Old – My mom and dad took me and a bunch of my little friends to the local Drive-In Theater in the back of our hay filled pick-up truck, and backed in, to see the Walt Disney Movie of ” The Legend of Davy Crockett.”  We had pop corn, candy, sandwiches, soft drinks and the works!  It was awesome and it introduced me to a great character building personality that I believe has followed me all the days of my life!

10 Years Old – My family was traveling on vacation in the Great Smokey Mountains of The Carolinas’ and it was my birthday, and we stopped at a roadside picnic shelter for lunch and to have my party.  The great present that I received that day was a pair of clip-on roller skates!  Wow! In the shelter we had a “cobble stone” floor, of all things for my first efforts in roller skating!  But, if was enough, and it got me started on a whole new activity that I avidly applied over the next decade or so! After cobble stone all other surfaces were really easy!

16 Years Old – Nothing says 16 like a good party!!!  A whole bunch of good friends and family were invited over and we spent all afternoon swimming in the lake on the farm and after we were all worn out and exhausted, we had a nice big “Spaghetti Supper” under the double carport with all the trimmings!  It was my favorite meal, and still is, and the memory of that time, boosted with pictures, has stayed with me over the years with great fondness.  Best party for me ever!!!

50 Years Old – One of my favorite places in all the world is atop Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia near my home.  I had spent a lot of time there over the years re-enacting and studying the history of the battle and otherwise including some involvement with the Old General Locomotive of the Civil War.  That’s all another story!  On my birthday, this year, my family blindfolded me, put me in the car, and not telling me where we were going, proceeded down the old road to a secret destination for my birthday picnic!  When we arrived and the blind fold was removed. we were atop the mountain in the small parking lot under some shade trees!  And there, on top of that beautiful mountain, of great historical significance, we celebrated my birthday eating Southern Fried Chicken!!!   It was so special!!!  And such a good experience and memory for me!!! I just loved it!!!

60 Years Old – Now a little older and counting!   The family and kids all surprised me again by taking me and my wife to the Old 57th Fighter Group Restaurant at the famous Peachtree-DeKalk Airport, where you can listen to the tower on individual radio head sets and absorb the ambiance of the old Bunker Style of

World War II or I military history and later dancing!  We had a wonderful sit down dinner looking out the large windows at the very close by airplane traffic and of course as a pilot I was really in my element!  My big gift, that day, was a brand new RC (radio controlled) model Piper Cub Airplane!  It was SUPER!!! And, it led me and the kids into another brand new hobby of flying RC and all the great fun that if offers!  My son and son-in-law have really gotten to be experts and I am still at it pretty good, but not as good as they are!  It takes some practice and an abstract mind!  I think it is easier to fly a real airplane but it costs a lot more! LOL

All and all, my memories of birthdays, has been so amazing!  The good times are well remembered and I am sure that there were very many memorable birthdays in-between all of those that were very special.  But, you know, some always stand out against the test of time and these were some of mine.

Think of your own special “Birthdays” and how they have affected and influenced your own life.   They are profound memory points that hopefully will take you to the next level!  My next big one for me will be July 6, 2016, and I know whatever it is I will be 68 and it will be great, not too bad for an old country boy!!!  I hope it is nice and quiet!!!

A Bout With Gout

You don’t want it, EVER!  You would never think that your big toe, or your ankle, or your knee, could hurt so much from seemingly nothing!!!  Too much uric acid in your joints is the main culprit and it comes from who knows where!

There is much speculation about where it does actually come from, essentially nearly all kinds of foods, but, of course, some are the “real” bad guys, like too much shell fish, crab legs, red meat, too much barbecue pork, turnip greens, and some other foods that you would think would be perfectly healthy for you!

I think I ran afoul the other day on Memorial Day, when we had a whole hog roasting down on the farm.  It was awesome and we had some mighty good barbecue that day and I know, too much!!!  Everybody, mostly family, and extended family had all we could possibly eat and then some, and a fabulous time.  While the kids, and some adults, cooled off in the old swimming hole, we had plenty of time to talk and visit about old times and new times.  It was a wonderful day, that will be long remembered, at least until the next big BARBECUE!!!

Getting back to the gout thing, I , by necessity, had to devise me a method of relieving the extreme pressure on my knee whenever I lifted my right foot or had to bend my right knee in any way.  So, I thought, what I need is a personal, portable lift, that I can control myself whenever I want to and need it.  While pondering on this new invention, I happened to see a bright yellow dog leash, I guess it was, lying on the table cabinet, and I said to myself, “Hey, this might work!”  So, I made a loop in one end for my foot and I already had a loop for my right hand and it was just the perfect length.  And, whalla!!!  It worked like a charm!  They always say that necessity is the mother of invention and this just goes to prove that our resources are more available to us than we often think.  Use integrated thinking, and always relate the normally unrelated! Then many times you have or discover your solution to a most pressing problem.  A dog leash and gout?  No.  A leg lift and gout?  Yes!

Finally, after a week end away with my wife and daughter and her husband, at the lake, where I battled the gout the entire time, my wife took me on the way home to the urgent care.  There I got good attention, a better and confirmed analysis, a shot, and some new medicine.  The doctor was impressed with my “leg lift” and said I probably had a million dollar invention!    He also said that there was generally a preponderance of gout trouble always appearing after or around a big holiday period, where there was a lot of extra eating and big BARBECUES!!!  Ouchhhh!   The truth hurt and it hurt real bad there for quiet a while!

Today, I am doing much better, and I am on my way to recovery.  I can even walk across the room now, without my “Leg Lift!”  I will be more careful in the future about what I eat and how much, especially around holidays.  And you should too, unless you want to have to invent something like a “Leg Lift!”  Good luck and watch out for a bout of gout!  You really don’t want it!  Believe me!!!2010-08-31 14.31.53

 

Just Missed It By One State

Things have been pretty busy around here for the last few weeks!  Traveling and going all over the place with family and friends literally around the world and back!

My personal adventure started by heading out to the Regional Fly In Convention of the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.)  My destination was Beaufort, South Carolina, an area that I loved and adored, because it is the “big area” where many of my ancestors lived.  So first, I headed out to Savannah, Georgia, home of the first nuclear ship to sail the seas, the USS Savannah.  You need to check the history out on this magnificent project and see what you can learn.  It is  really a marvelous story!  The ship is now decommissioned and in harbor somewhere, I believe, in Maryland?

After Savannah, I made my way on up I-95 toward Beaufort and I thought, great, I am almost there and I will stop at this rest stop and get some final directions.  It was all under construction and quiet a mess, but, I was able to manuever the obstacles and found my way inside.  To my dismay, no one knew anything about the Fly-In and was totally unfamiliar with the goings on!!!  The nice lady said, “Let me call out to the airport and check with them.”  So she did and got someone named Jessie on the phone, who said, “No, there’s nothing going on out here.  It’s all quiet around here today!  Hold on a minute and let me check with Joe.”  In a few minutes, he came back and said, “Hey, we believe you want Beaufort, North Carolina, that’s where the AOPA Fly-In is!   You just missed it by one state!!!”  After getting over my astonishment and amazement I thanked him and hung up!  Ummmuppp!  Boy, did I mess up!!!

So, I went back outside, found me a picnic table in the shade and dug out some goodies for lunch.  Cold spaghetti and doughnuts!  Now, what was I going to do?   I had been driving all day!  400 miles up the road was my real destination! It was a  long ways!

Being the trooper, that I am, I decided that, well, I had just missed my turn and had a ways further to go.  My mission would not be complete until I made it to Beaufort, North Carolina, and the AOPA Regional Fly  In Convention and met Mr. Mark Baker, our current President!  I really should have been in an airplane, instead of driving a car, but, the ceiling from Georgia and all over the Southeast was terrible for several days, so that precluded flying for many.

Finally, I arrived at the convention at 3:00 PM.   Believe it or not, it closed at 4:00 PM.  But, I did make it on the wind down, and I did meet Mr. Mark Baker, the President.  It was “AWESOME,” in miniature,”awesome!” My mission was fulfilled and the rest of the visit was wonderful with free ice cream and all.  Next time I will go early and to the right state!

On the way back, I took my time and took in some of the local sights along the way.  Sights like the USS North Carolina Battleship at Wilmington, NC, one of the greatest battleships ever to be built.  I took my time, and toured the entire ship!  Loved it!

Also, there was a Biker Rally at Myrtle Beach, a Boat Show and Car Show at Morehead and a bunch of other stuff going on.  It was a busy week end!

On the last leg home, I got to visit the boyhood home of Joel Chandler Harris, in Eatenton, Georgia.  Spent time at the Old Uncle Remus Cabin in Eatonton at the Museum and actually found and visited the Old Turnwold Plantation where he first heard the old stories from Uncle Remus about Bre’ Rabbit and Bre’ Bear and the Tar Baby and all the critters around the old cotton plantation.  I have some connections here, and I want to share them in another story with you later and I will!

All and all, I had a very good trip of about 1,300 miles in four days and still did a lot!  Who says, you can’t do a lot in four days, even if you do miss your destination by one whole state!  Just do a re do!!!