And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
My father died last night, apparently, and all I can think of, at the moment is the first line of Camus' L'Etranger, one of his greatest, but beyond absurd in my situation. And so, of course.
When men walked on the moon, he and my brother-unit Grader Boob successfully convinced me that I could see the men through our backyard telescope. They had me giving excited descriptions of all their lunar activity. Have we discussed my gullibility much here on the blog?
I hope for him -- the after-death is flying, flying, flying... occasionally flipping his plane to smoothly bisect the space between silos and chimneys... a claim of his I always believed, mostly because I saw some other Fly Boys laugh and nod, ascots never askew. Fighter pilots are grace-blessed nuts.
My thoughts are with his beloved wife, Margaret, his daughter Kathryn, and her son, his grandson, Brian. His sister Nancy, too, and brother Jim. Mostly, though, I am thinking of Tumbleweed and Grader Boob, his Good Sons.
He's to be buried, I guess, tomorrow, Sunday, at 3 PM, with military honors. I guess that means an honor guard, a presented flag, salutes. Were I there, I'd raise a scotch, and remember stars like bullets, his caring for his own aging mother and father, his love for a certain cock-a-poo, and the bevy of air evac nursing personnel who loved to scream out "Heyyyy, Wild Bill," whenever they scooted by in a jeep. He flew many a mission, low over Cambodia, no lights, to rescue the wounded and bring them to Clark for medical treatment. He also dropped a lot of bombs, and deforested with Agent Orange. He lost, I was told, two barracks of men in a bizarrely successful nighttime shelling at Phan Rang. He liked the album Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel.
But then, too, he adored Herb Alpert.