I am on the road to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to attend the funeral of my Aunt Ann on my father’s side of the family.
I did this drawing imagining her on earth and in heaven at the same time, which we all are at every moment.
Finally Step 10!
Step 10a-10d: See 1a-1d
Step 10e: Get divorced after 20 years of marriage.
Step 10f: Start dating woman from church who is also getting divorced.
Step 10g: Stop dating woman from church and introduce her to guy in Sunday School.
Step 10h: Have woman from church say she can’t ever talk to me again because her new boyfriend I introduced her to is jealous.
Step 10i: Go internet dating.
Step 10j: Have some wonderful girlfriends who aren’t quite the right fit.
Step 10k: Meet woman on match.com, think she is cool and date her for 2 years, with a break up in there somewhere.
Step 10l: Meet woman from match.com’s daughter and think she is cool.
Step 10m: Ask woman from match.com to marry me.
Step: 10n: Get married to woman from match.com
Step 10o: Find out woman from match.com’s name is Linda.
Step 10p: Live happily ever after.
This is a great place to stop for a while. I will pick it back up later, maybe doing it once a week or so.
Concept, drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman, who thought internet dating was fun.
Fact of the day
Approximately 1/3 of marriages in the US are step-family involved remarriages for one or both partners.
Looking through old photos to find ones of Dwight (see my prior post) I came across a set of my favorite photos from when Rebekah was a little girl. She is now a grown woman, a neuroscientist. This is my idea of how it started.
Earlier this week I found out that the most important man in my adult life passed away. Dwight Johnson (my ex-father-in-law) taught me so many things I didn’t know. It might have been how to fix a car (which we did again and again through about 15 years and too many cars). Maybe it was how to wallpaper. Maybe it was how to fix something having to do with plumbing or electrical around the house. Maybe it was how to keep squirrels from getting to a bird feeder (yes, he successfully figured that out).
You might think, ‘well, that’s nice, he sure was a good handyman.’ That is very true and I learned a lot from him in that regard. I became a true DIYer because of him. But that isn’t why he was so important.
He was important because he taught me love. Love for family, friends, church, society, individuals he didn’t know at all. Love towards me. He taught me what is worth sacrificing for love. How love is the highest response, over all other attitudes and responses. He didn’t ever say this to me. He lived it out and showed it to me. Not once, but many, many times. How he did it from the first day I met him until a few days before he died is the story of a relationship of deep blessings for me, and maybe a bit for him as well.
I met Dwight when I was 24, a month after I started dating his eldest daughter, Kathy. I had already decided I was going to marry her, had already asked her, and she had already said yes. We were driving down to San Jose from San Francisco where we lived to meet her parents, Dwight and Vivian. We had with us our best friends at the time, Tom and Kim.
As we approached the house I turned to them all and said, “Don’t spill the beans. I haven’t met them yet and just in case they are completely weird and the situation is way out of my comfort zone, I might not feel right about saying anything about us being engaged. If I think it’s cool, I will nod yes to you guys, if it’s not cool, I will shake my head, no, ok?” They all agreed.
The front door opened right as we arrived at it. The first thing that hit me was a very strong smell of menthol. Dwight was there and greeted us. Kathy introduced me to him and as I shook his hand the smell of menthol was really strong. I realized his moustache was filled with gobs of Vick’s Vapo-Rub. I turned to Kathy and our friends and subtly shook my head, ‘no’.
I used to love that story for the humor of my response, but now I love it because of what it said about Dwight. He seemed as straight-laced as it comes. He was an IBM engineer, a church going Presbyterian, and family man and firmly ensconced in the American middle class. He wasn’t wild, crazy, creative, dangerous, bad, immoral, addicted, irresponsible or greedy. What he was, was himself. Within this straight-laced guy, a guy most people would look at and say, ‘he’s a conformist’, was a person who really didn’t give a hoot what others thought of him. It turns out he didn’t have to worry about that too much because he fit in well with his world overall. But if he had a cold, he was going to put Vick’s in his moustache, that’s all there was too it. His thought was probably, ‘Why would anyone be bothered by this, anyway? It’s practical, it’s needed and I am going to do it.’
What I learned was that it doesn’t take one being a sociological freak to be one’s self. It just takes doing what you want to do as long as it doesn’t hurt yourself or other people. Other people will respect that.
We didn’t tell them of our engagement that day, but a few months later I did go to Dwight and ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage. 8 months after I got that whiff of menthol he walked his daughter down the aisle to me.
I hope I become a famous celebrity for posting Napkin #3 of Heroes Week!
I remember reading an article in Flying magazine once about my father. The article was about his exploits as a test pilot in the 1950s, for which he became quite famous. He was famous for a brief while among the general population and has had continued fame within the aviation community ever since. Still, to this day, I get regular inquiries and requests to interview him, visit him, have autographed photos of him sent. I sent one to Scotland a few years back.
The article started out talking about how the author met my father. He met him when my father was hired to be Publisher of Business and Commercial Aviation Magazine. But that is not what the author said. He said he met him when my father was hired to be ‘Legend in Residence’ (or something close, the exact words escape me right now). I understand that when you are very high up in business they are often hiring your reputation, not just you. They wanted the cache of saying they had a legendary aviator at the helm. It gave their enterprise gravitas and authority. I get that.
At the same time it did seem, in my eyes, to diminish his accomplishments during the rest of his career in aviation. He didn’t just fly one amazing test flight and then do nothing. He had also been a fighter/bomber pilot in WWII, an airport owner, a salesman of high end corporate jets, a corporal in the Marine Reserves, an inventor and innovator in aviation equipment and airplanes. And he was now at the helm of a very important and influential magazine in his industry. None of those things brought him the fame of his test pilot exploits, and rightly so. The test flights he took were legendary and they deserved to be. As a matter of fact, as the years past his flights are seen in higher regard not lower. The farther we get from the time of the flights the more amazing it seems his accomplishments were. But his other endeavors were valuable, good and worthy of recognition. They proved him to be a man of substance throughout his life, not just an aviation celebrity for one event.
I started this out not knowing it would turn into an essay about my father. But his life is the root of my personal understanding of both hero and celebrity. I like that he was both and I like that he always knew the difference.
Here is a 1955 promotional film that shows what exactly what it was that my father flew in the test fights I have been mentioning. I think you will be impressed.
Here is another, shorter video. The volume is very low so you’ll have to turn it up to hear the voiceover.
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