Requiem for an Aircraft, Farewell to a Pilot – by Dave Norton

Requiem for an Aircraft, Farewell to a Pilot, by Dave Norton. Updated and reprinted from the original 2001 HTML article.

B29 front view panel

The day was stiflingly warm, the sky that crystalline umbrella overhead that pilots call “Severe Clear”.

The sun of a summer solstice reflected off the concrete ramp of Chino Airport. It blasted first degree burns on the normally shaded tender skin just above my eyelids, and that of the thousands of others there for the Chino Warbirds Airshow. Brother Dan and I could feel that this was a special day, somehow, and that we were in the presence of History. We didn’t realize that this would be the greatest gathering of flying WWII combat aircraft we would ever see.

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The Weaver

A Tribute to Ray Bradbury by Fred Leeds

There was once a weaver who, like Rumpelstiltskin, spun straw into gold. The straw was all the untapped wonder of his living days, and the gold was many a magic tale, and every tale was a journey through the mind’s hidden spaces.

Among Ray Bradbury’s gems is a story about a man who steps on a leaf and changes the course of history. There is one in which a man is tattooed all over with living pictures. In another, earthlings become Martians just by going there. In one funny tale, a man and woman are actually the last people on earth and still can’t get together. In Bradbury’s still living pages we find a quest to the sun to catch a cup of gold, and a man turned bird who is executed for his boldness. In one tale there are two children whose room eats their parents. In another, a guilt-ridden killer keeps hunting for fingerprints until the police arrive. Bradbury’s other characters include a pedestrian charged with thinking for himself, a lady who was never young and girls who would never grow old, a man, forever a boy, who seeks out new parents when the old wear out…

Bradbury saw with fresh eyes all of life’s hidden wonder. He was a true guardian of the imagination. Here’s to Ray Bradbury, wherever he has gone in the galaxy’s vast spaces.

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Ray Douglas Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012): American fantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery fiction writer. Best known for his novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and for the science fiction and horror stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles (1950) and The Illustrated Man (1951). (from Wikipedia)

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Old Typewriters

Well, these days, any typewriter is “old.” I grew up with typewriters that were already old by the time I was allowed to get my hands on them. By the time I bought my first new typewriter (around 1966), typewriters were about ten years shy of becoming completely obsolete.

Around Junior High School (1956-’58) I started pestering my parents to let me use their typewriter for school papers. My mother and dad had pushed me to learn how to type in the first place (hunt-and-peck, same method they used). But letting the kids access the prized Underwood had high catastrophic potential, so they bought us a much older Remington. I’m pretty sure I remember the model as being “Remington Standard.” The archive photo below looks true to what I remember.

Remington Standard Typewriter

Remington Standard Typewriter


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Durn Boy … !

story by Frank Hughes

Now here I am tell’n ya somethin interest’n. Well, maybe not so interest’n, but gareentee’d ta be pack’d plum full of stuff ya prob’ly hadn’t ought ta do … if’n you are in your right mind!

Thanksgiv’n … Now don’t that there word bring up some real fine memories. Lord have mercy, I can smell that big ol fat bird right here and now, and dress’n with turkey gravy … Oh Lord! I’m here ta tell ya it don’t get no better. But what I need ta tell you all about is a Thanksgiv’n tradition. You see my Uncle Clayton’s family had a real fine tradition that happen’d every Thanksgiv’n. Rabbit Hunt’n! After everybody fill’d up ta the gills with turkey and dress’n and had a piece or five of punkin pie, it was time ta grab a gun and head for the woods.

Now I know most folks would rather take a little nap or watch one of them football’n games … kind of take it easy for a spell, but not Uncle Clayton … Heckfire it was time ta go out and kill somethin! I’m here ta tell ya right now that Uncle Clayton and Aunt Mildred never spent much time watch’n none of them telleyvision shows. They was too busy hav’n kids! I lost count at seven or nine. Shootfire some of their oldest kids had kids almost as old as me! Now Uncle Clayton liv’d out in the country a ways. So ya see if’n they wanted ta do a little hunt’n all they had ta do was step off the back porch. Continue reading

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The Ol House …

story by Frank Hughes

Folks did ya ever just lay there in your bed and listen? Now I’m one of the all time worst listeners, I’d rather be yakk’n!

But let me tell ya somethin. When I was a little fella, just sprout’n up, and it was too hot ta sleep … well I’d listen! August in Oklahoma! Folks it was so hot today that the tar in the cracks of the road had done melt’d. I know it had, cause I’d been chew’n it like gum for most of the day! Now I wouldn’t recommend chew’n road tar as an everyday activity, but in a pinch it makes a purty good chew. Once ya get over the taste … it ain’t half bad! The road tar today had a funny twang to it. I think I seen Elvoy and his team of mules pass’n by this morn’n … they may have added a little flavor’n to the tar!
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Gam’n

story by Frank Hughes

Game’n … I know nowadays when folks think of games, they figger you is talk’n about gett’n the ol puter out and play’n one of them online button push’n things. Well I ain’t talk’n about noth’n of the kind! I’m talk’n about real games, the kind that kids play’d outside in the good ol sunshine or in some cases under a moon lit sky.

The small town I was rear’d in had a short supply of a lot of things … money, swimm’n pools, playgrounds and rich folks. So all us kids had ta get by with our imaginations. We could make a game out of about anything. Now we had some of the usual ball games … we play’d baseball a lot! Football was also very big. Any empty pasture or vacant lot could be turn’d into a ball field. Basketball was play’d wherever we could find somethin ta shoot the ball through. We didn’t need no umpires or referees. Heckfire, we figger’d if ya wasn’t bleed’n too bad … ya didn’t get foul’d! Continue reading

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Gunsmoke!

story by Frank Hughes

I was just think’n the other day. Yeah … I can do it ever so’s often. Seems like I been dodg’n one thing or the other most of my days. I knows all about duck’n and dodg’n. My little brother Denny was always chunk’n somethin or other my ways. BB’s, rocks, sticks …! Now let me tell ya right off … I weren’t one of them there speed demons. But when I has to … I can move pretty good!

I remembers back in them there ol days me and brother was lay’n in the front room floor, mind’n our own business. Daddy was lay’n on the couch. Everything was just peachy … then it start’d! Denny look’d at me kinda cockey’d. That was all it took … I pok’d him in the eye! Denny squalls like he’s about ta give up the ghost right then and there. Daddy say’s, You boys settle down … I’m watch’n Gunsmoke!!! Continue reading

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Fly’n!

story by Frank Hughes

Now this story starts out like one of them Norman Rockafella paint’ns. Me and my little brother decides to go fish’n on a bright summer day. We grab our poles and a good tin can and start digg’n up the back yard. We dig us up enough worms to get the job done and head out for the Bingham place north of our little town. Mr and Mrs Bingham was fine folks, they attended the same little church we did and they had a great big deep pond on their property. We jump’d on our bikes and head’d out … so here we are sitt’n on that pond bank on a summer day.

What more could two youngsters ask for … seems like everything was right with the world. Except them dang fish weren’t bit’n! Now all grown folks knows that the attention span of two 10 year ol boys weren’t no more that 32 seconds on a good day! So I start look’n for something ta get into … and that’s when I notic’d them horses! Continue reading

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Work’n at the Ol Gibble Gas

story by Frank Hughes

Folks this is something everyone ought to know somthin about, work’n … now I know there is gett’n ta be more and more of us folks here round about that seem to have plum forgot how ta do it! Now when I was runn’n around as a young fella most of the folks I know’d knew all about work’n. So at an early age I figger’d out real quick that if I was gonna have any spend’n and runn’n around money I was gonna have ta work for it.

I can honestly say I can’t remember ever ask’n my father for money. Ya see I was afraid ta ask him, it wasn’t because he wouldn’t have gave it to me if’n he could. It was because I was afraid it would embarrass him if he didn’t have it! I knew we never had no extra money for foolishness. So I mow’d grass, dug ditches, haul’d hay, just about any job I could find ta make me a little cash money. Continue reading

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Me and them durn Critters

story by Frank Hughes

Let me start this off by say’n first, I like most critters … it’s just that over the years I’ve had my fair share of troubles with some of em! I know there’s lots of folks around that just couldn’t get along without their varmits. I’ve seen full grown folks talk’n to some critter like it was their rich uncle … just coo’n and gah-gah’n all over the poor thing! Don’t get me wrong, I like a good ol dog or three lay’n around the place. And a good ol cat sleep’n and eat’n is fine and dandy!

But I don’t go around dress’n up the dog like it was a five year old child. Most critters ta me is just that … a critter. I found out many years ago that me and most varmits just don’t think along the same lines. I manag’d to get attack’d by and molested by quite a number of Gods critters. I learn’d real quick that most of these critters … have teeths and claws … and they is real good at us’n em!

If’n you’re out squirrel hunt’n and ya just happen ta shoot ya a fat one, well make sure the critter is dead before you’s pick it up. For some ungodly reason that there squirrel was real upset … I don’t knows why! All I did was shoot him out of the top of a 75 foots pecan tree. But that little booger turned downright nasty … and let me tell ya that the same set of tooths that they use ta crack pecans … can be downright painful when theys sunk into your poor finger!! I’m here ta tell ya it ain’t no easy matter gett’n rid of a craz’d squirrel off’n your hand. The more ya shake him whiles you is scream’n and cry’n … just seems ta spur the nasty fella on! And all the time he’s eat’n on your finger … well them sharp rear feet is claw’n the hell outta your poor arm.

But maybe the worsest part of the whole thing is I look over at my little brother and he’s point’n a rifle at me … holler’n, “Hold still Frankie and I’ll shoot him off!!!!!!!” Continue reading

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