I'm the other mother - or Momma Deb. Our family is pretty much like every other family in suburbia. The girls go to school, one mom is on the PTA boards of elementary and middle school. The other mom goes to work, paints, writes, and tries to just have a good time raising kids with her partner. This is my third attempt at blogging...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Little Girl and Her Dad

I was the youngest kid of my Mom & Dad's brood. Sort of an after-thought - or that's how they often put it. Think accident. My place in the birth order is one of serendipity and lack of birth control in the early fifties.

My Dad was a Captain in the Air Force when I was born. I was born in San Francisco at a hospital that was torn down recently - Letterman Army Medical Center - in the Presidio. By the time I was ten years old, he had retired from the Air Force as a Colonel.

Then the fun started.

He searched high and low and found a Ryan PT-22 for sale. It looked a little like this:

Instead of the military colors, he painted it white with red sun-burst striping on the top and bottom of the wings. It was a pretty thing. Notice the pilot sitting in the rear seat?

Guess where I sat?

You betcha! In the front cockpit - with leather helmet and goggles. My parachute seat-pack served as padding for my fanny. Every time we went up he said to me,

"Debbie. If we have any problems you have to jump. See this big handle? You pull real hard as soon as you're clear of the airplane.

"Got it?"

He was so stern, what else could I say?

"Sure Dad. Got it!"

And then we'd taxi out onto the run-way. This was always the scariest part for me. Revving up the engine, then starting out going faster and faster. I could see the pavement speeding by on each side of the cockpit. The Douglas Firs were a green blur. And then, finally, we lifted off the runway, clear and smooth as could be.

Mt. Rainier was to our right in all her majesty. We'd usually go up about 2000 feet and cruise around a while. Then Dad would jiggle the stick (there is no steering wheel in these old planes). It was his way of asking me if I was ready.

I jiggled the stick back at him in return.

The next thing I knew we were climbing straight up. UP - vertically until just when I thought the engine might quit he'd roll the plane over and then we'd come down the other side of the loop, curving downward but then coming back up again.

It was beyond exhilarating.

It was my DAD.

It was ME.

It was beautiful.

We'd do eight point rolls, and smooth rolls, and loops. We'd bank and roll and just have good times.

I have vivid memories of hanging upside down in my seat and seat-belt and seeing Mt. Rainier - upside down.

How many people can say that?

I miss my Ol' Dad. I really do.

He died two years ago today, eight days after his 84th birthday.