Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Bill was a transition guy. The one you get involved with after a break up. The one that never really has a chance. I had two keepers "that got away", and Bill was one.

He was the divorced father with a great 8 year old, Mark. Bill was a fireman, great looking, wonderful dad, and super nice. Sound good so far? Well he was all that. Throw in kind, intelligent and very funny. Now you see why he shouldn't have gotten away. Sometimes we are not too bright but I was still stuck on "Mr. Dumper."

Bill had sole custody of Mark so most of our dates were threesomes. We often went water skiing or fishing in his 16 foot boat. I am only a passable skier(seldom spilled but never comfortable) but Bill was really good. When you can ski bare foot , I consider that good. Even Mark,at only 8 years old, was better than me but that was no matter. I just love the water and driving the boat was just as much fun for me.

We hadn't been dating long when Bill bought part interest in a small Piper Cub aircraft. He joined a club that had "fly ins" every couple of weeks. We would fly to different tourist attractions around Florida and make a day of it with barbecues, playing tourist, etc.

Stock photo of similar plane

Now Bill's plane was a no frills addition. We had only the basic instruments and no radio. That's right, no radio. We used mostly small grass strips to land as that was one of the beauties of the Piper. We also had the slowest plane so while we started the rally first, we always came in last. We would wave as plane after plane passed us. No matter, the flying was wonderful. Everything looked so tiny on the ground.

Now all this flies in the face of what I have previously said. That I fear heights. Some how, if I am not connected to the earth, I am fine. It is only when I am on something attached to the earth that I come unglued mentally.

Next, I have stated I have a fear of flying. I often say that if I won the lottery and had to fly commercial airlines to get the money, I'd have to pass. Not a lot of logic here but somehow I feel perfectly safe in a private plane, even one with no radio. I am a woman, I don't have to be logical.

Bill started to teach me to fly. It was odd in that I was uncomfortable on take off but landed with total calm. Go figure. I was really getting comfortable flying and did a lot of it with his help. The plane was a former trainer plane that had dual controls and side by side seats which would later be a life saver. With out instruments, we mainly followed roads and shore lines, kind of like the drug traffickers do today.

We had spent the day at Weeki Wachee Springs. It had been a fun day and Mark had really enjoyed it. Bill was exhausted having come off a rough 24 at the station so on the return trip, he let me take over. By now we were again last in the sky and had seen the tails of the last plane disappear in the distance.

Bill was trying to stay awake but was nodding off. Last he said was "Follow the shore line till we get to Sarasota, then wake me." Mark had also fallen asleep in his cubby hole behind Bill's seat. It was just me and the skies. Our only gage besides engine speed, oil and temp, was an altimeter. I ignored it as I reveled in the feeling of being alone in the sky with my sleeping passengers. My eyes focused on the horizon and the dying day.

Suddenly I heard the most god awful cursing. Bill did not curse around me and I figured he just didn't. However what came out of his mouth made me realize he had probably cursed a lot before as he was quite creative. He took the controls and yelled at me to "let go."

While I had been mesmerized watching the horizon, I had done what pilots call, "flying into the horizon" which puts you on a slow angle into the ocean. Bill later said he could have hung on to the wing and water skied that we were so close to the water. Pretty sure that was an exaggeration but I was totally shaken by the fact that I had almost killed us all. Needless to say, Bill was no longer sleepy.

That was not the end to Bill and I. He continued to teach me to fly though I never went for a license. He just never let me take the controls with his son in the plane and him asleep anymore. What did end us was the reappearance in my life of the guy who had dumped me before and I let Bill get away. Too bad some of us don't think with our heads.


  1. Patti, You have had such an interesting life... My one goal in life when I was younger was to learn to fly an airplane. I never did it!!!! (Maybe in another life I will)

    My brother at one time owned a Piper Cub --and he took me up in it a few times. I loved it. Jimmy (brother) got cancer and died in 1985--so I never got to go up in that Piper Cub again.

    I wish you had have gotten your license --because you could have literally jumped in your plane and come to see us!!!!!!! Oh Well!!!

    Do you know where Bill is now????

  2. I'm with you about not flying. I won't get into an airplane, but I have fantasized about flying a small plane myself. I know I won't ever do it, but there's something about being in control of the plane myself that appeals to me.

  3. Wow....I'm so impressed. I have only flown twice in my life and I was terrified both times. I am also afraid of heights whether I'm touching the ground or not.

  4. What an interesting story Patti! Thanks for being such a great storyteller!

  5. Betsy,

    Wern't those Pipers fun? They were like the VW bugs of planes. I am so sorry you lost your brother but glad you have good memories.
    Yep, if I had stuck with it, I could flit all over the place

    Never too late to give it a try. Then you and Roger could fly around looking for that perfect property.

    Thanks for dropping in. Fear of heights(attached or unattached) would make flying an unpleasant experience. Guess you are land locked too.

    Glad you liked it, it was fun living it. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Very happy Bill woke up in time!! How wonderful you got to experience flying an airplane! Have you ever been up in an air balloon? It is on my bucket list. : )

    Very glad Mighty is recovering nicely! I hope therapy goes well tomorrow.

  7. Jewels,
    For some reason hot air balloon scares me though I hear it is wonderful. My brother did it and loved it. I think it might be that you don't have very good control that puts me off.
    If you go, take pictures.

  8. Golly, I wish I'd had that chance! I'd love to know how to fly - but I'd never have paid for lessons....

  9. kenju
    Not wanting to pay for lessons and unable to afford to buy an airplane probably kept me from getting my license. I lost my free ride.