In my younger days in the construction business I had a bookkeeper, G.K. , that was always after me to take up flying. He wasn’t a pilot but claimed he almost was.
He told me how we could fly to faraway destinations to look at and bid jobs. How we could head out to the coast and go fishing at the drop of a hat.
I was a little queasy about me flying an airplane, but I finally figured that I’d get used to it, as many people had. Why would it be different for me?
Finally one day I went out to Ragsdale Aviation at the old airport in Austin and signed up. I still remember the young man that was assigned to teach me how to fly. He was a really pleasant, good Ol boy type by the name of Boxie Kellam. He was from down around Eagle Lake, Texas and I believe was either enrolled or had come to Austin to go to the University and decided to stay around.
We had our lessons, probably more than one a week, knowing how I like to get things behind me. I developed a great deal of confidence and began to settle into flying. Then one day Boxie said he thought I was ready to solo. I left the airport that day with a whole new outlook on flying.
I convinced myself that I was married and had a child, with plans to have other children and I was too young to die. I told myself that with my current business schedule and how I was somewhat distractible, that I wasn’t cut out for flying. I never went back.
Somewhere along the way after deciding to not continue the lessons, G.K. introduced me to his brother. That brother didn’t seem all there. Then I found out that the brother had clipped some wires and became entangled in them when he was first learning to fly. Some how he survived falling out and landing on his head, but it left him somewhat brain damaged. I think that’s why G.K. never went on to get his license. But it was fine to encourage me to.
A few years later I was working down in Houston and there was an airport right along Highway 290 West and I’d see planes flying in and out of there every time I’d pass. We were living in Austin and I was driving from Houston every other day back home where Madeline and by that time our two boys were. On alternate nights I had an apartment in Houston and I’d stay there. With a schedule like that, owning a small plane and flying it back and forth seemed like a brilliant idea.
One day I stopped in to inquire about flying lessons. I signed up and soon I was going almost daily for a lesson. It hadn’t been but a few years since the lessons in Austin so I remembered many of the basic. I couldn’t get enough of it. I had to get those pilots license and buy a plane, because that was going to allow me more time with my family.
Then came the day the instructor told me that he thought I was ready to solo.
All these many years later I’m fine with leaving the flying to someone else. I guess I just wasn’t cut out to be a pilot.