For two of my most dear, who need a smile desperately right now. XO, Lambs.
So I’ll start right out and tell you that Mama and our friend S explicitly forbade B and me from telling this one at Daddy’s memorial service…naturally, it’s the one that everybody loves the most.
So Daddy and Mama met while Daddy was stationed with the Air Force in Valdosta, GA. Which is near Hahira, GA, if you don’t know the town. Daddy liked to say that Mama was dazzled by the stunning specimen of pilot she saw, and the really fast jets he flew. It’s as good a guess as any, I suppose.
So one of the important duties of a fighter pilot in that day was to fly around the country in the really fast jets to make sure they had enough flight hours to stay on top of their skills in case the Floridians ever came over the wall and started taking over South Georgia. (Too late.)
(An important job when Daddy was stationed in Idaho was to make practice bombing runs in the desert of The Ugly Part of Idaho. In related news, there are no prairie dogs in that area who have any hearing left, at all. But it kept the Canadians at bay for a few years, at least.)
Where was I? So one afternoon, a formation of F-111As took off from Valdosta on a flight to somewhere, doing the important government work of collecting flight hours. (I mean that with utter respect for the Armed Forces and the work they do, you know that, yes?) Daddy was in one of the planes, in the front seat. Student in the back. Several friends and buddies in the other planes. The F-111, as with nearly all other fighter jets, was not known for pilot comfort and space. It was cold, cramped, and the IFE system sucked. Though this was still several years before “Breaking Bad” so I don’t really see what use they would have had for an IFE, anyway…And the pilots had to wear like four layers of suiting and whatnot. Some kind of anti-gravity suit to keep them from passing out from flying so quickly? And some other layers-I don’t know…to keep them warm?
Anyway-at some point, Daddy hands things over to his back seat, the student. (Do we know who this student was? Because I feel like we owe him a note and some kind of “I hope the trauma has eased over the years” gift card…) And then there is much gyration happening from Daddy’s seat. For awhile. And as it turns out, the man is contorting himself out of every single layer of his clothing. He then stands up (in the spacious cockpit), turns to one side, and applies his backside to the (lid? hatch? plexiglass helmet?) of the airplane and moons his fellow airplanes.
And one of Daddy’s longest and closest friends (who happened to be in one of the recipient planes) coined it…”Pressed Ham At 40,000 Feet”.
What on EARTH did the guy who had to clean the windows of that airplane think???