I never did, but almost…
I was almost born in the cabin of my father’s twin engine Beechcraft. I wasn’t, but almost was. My parents were enroute from Greeley to Cheyenne, a short flight, when my mother went into labor.
I was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming September 30, 1941 less than five minutes after arriving at Cheyenne Memorial. This deprived me of some serious braggin’ rights!
I was so ugly the doctor slapped my Mom! Not really, but almost!
Seems like my life has been a bunch of “almost!” My dear wife, Cheryl, suggested I write about my growing up in rural Wyoming in the ’50s. There it was again! Almost! I never grew up, but I almost did. I’ll turn 79 in a few months and I have yet to grow up! You would think a body would just grow up as part of a natural progression. Not me. Almost perhaps!
That reminded me of a few instances that remain vivid seventy years after occurring. I remember my class. We were together from the 4th grade and set to graduate together in 1959. Well, almost! I ended up graduating in the Class of ’59 at Scottsdale, Arizona. Yup, there’s that almost thing again…
Take going to Sunday school for instance…
My good friend from our glorious days flying for Frontier Airlines, Captain Phil Stallings, writes “Daily Smile” which a great many enjoy. I look forward to “Captain Flip’s – Daily Smiles!” Today, May 7, 2020 his Daily Smile began:
“ Pray so big and so often that when God meets you at Heaven’s gate, He says with a smile, “Kid, you kept Me very busy”
This was a quote sent this morning in his “Mornin’ Smile” by Captain Phil Stallings, one of the Best of the Best! …and my response:
Actually, Captain Flip, it’s St. Peter who meets the new arrivals at the Pearly Gates! St. Peter does the vetting! Then, if you haven’t been too bad a person, you get to meet God! This was explained to me by Reverend Robert Ware, rector of the Saratoga Presbyterian Church, Saratoga, Wyoming on the 18th of May, 1950. I picked that date so you’d think I had a better memory than it really is.
My mother insisted I go to Sunday school every Sunday. The church was right across the street from our house in town. Every Sunday I dutifully put on my Sunday best, walked across the street, up the steps, and in the front door. I marched through the sanctuary to the back of the church, where Sunday school was held. Then, out the back door, across the street (around back), to the Barn behind the house. Up the stairs to the loft where I’d change clothes into my more suitable attire for messin’ around with other like-minded miscreants.
Around the time Sunday school was over, I would return to the loft and change clothes again. Then, I would go back across the street skirt around the church and then back across the street to our house. “Hi Mom,” I’d say before heading to my room to change into other suitable clothes.
Months later, Rev. Ware was visiting with my Mom and asked, “Why don’t we see Billy at Sunday school anymore?” My Mom said, “Why, Rev. Ware, Billy is there every Sunday! I see him leave and return all dressed in his finery. “No, Mrs. Walker, we haven’t seen Billy in Sunday school for over a year!” Then he showed my Mom “the book!”
I had not considered the roll where these types of records were kept. Rev. Ware showed Mom. Mom called me downstairs and asked me point-blank, “Have you gone to church every Sunday like you promised?” “Yes Mam! I can truthfully say that I have, every Sunday!”
Mom, using her accusatory voice said, “Rev. Ware said that you have not been to Sunday school in over a year!” Realizing, the jig was up, I said what I had been doing explaining that I was honoring my commitment of going to Sunday school every Sunday but just not staying!
My Mom looked at me for an eternal minute, then at Rev. Ware. Then she shrugged her shoulders and that was the end of it. From then on I never had to go thru the clothes-change ritual. When ever I saw Rev. Ware he never said anything, he just looked at me and shook his head…
And, that was the way it was. Well, almost was!
More to follow after my writer’s cramp subsides:
Almost born in an airplane
Old Man Barron
Two younger mischievous sisters
Sara, the palomino mare and Togi the sway-backed gilding
Teense’s home brew
The Shay Ranch & Cedar Creek Ranch
The Saratoga Inn
“Old Blue” Teense Wilford provided the impetus for the introduction
Billy’s bucking barrell
Billy’s bareback rodeo ride
Dragging the fields in the John Deer Model M
Kilroy, the pig
Keeno the Hungarian Visla
Charlie the Springer Spaniel
The barn’s loft.
Joe Davis’ and my invention
1938 Chevy with dual pipes and knee action joints
Butch, Jimmy, and me
Johnny Walker and Kent
Captain Eddie Rickenbacker
Lockheed test pilots & VP
Kenny & Dick
The Class of ’59 where, I almost graduated!