What can YOU say in six sentences?
We sat on the blanketed hood of his red Toyota Tercel in the early 90's at Moisant airport in New Orleans; me — weary and Ray Ban'd – following the direction of his forearm which was pointing skyward in a readied attempt to teach me everything about the metal-clad skies above us, while lifting his aviator sunglasses in an effort to engage his eye into the plastic cup of an old Minolta 35mm camera. We'd had quite a few of those point, shoot and identify picnic dates, until I jokingly informed him that we would not make it past first base if we spent all of our time watching airplanes.
He often told stories that would start at the tender age of two, when he frolicked on grassy runways while drinking in whatever information his fighter pilot grandfather would feed him, which graduated to flying lessons, and then led to a private pilot's license... acquired before his driving one.
I have watched him tirelessly teach, and ferry planes over the years, in hopes of landing the job that would pay him to be a proper pilot, and then given the chance, rise through the ranks as a young and over initiated first officer to be the youngest captain on record in the US of a Boeing 747-400 airplane.
For our children, his absence had become commonplace, instead of an event; then, for four years time stood still for us — beginning with the day he chose his family over money and opted to leave a prosperous job behind — as we all traveled towards a new life, and land, in hopes of having more time together.
Just days ago, I raised a glass and shed a tear as he regained the position of captain while quietly thanking his grandfather Ernie, because in life, my husband continues to embrace the dedication and passion of his greatest teacher… and with love and honor, we salute him.