On Thursday I flew to Bend, Or to pick up a patient. While the Med Crew went into the hospital to retrieve the patient I sat outside on a bench watching the clouds and the planes and the helicopters come and go. An old guy came up and asked if I charged to sit and watch the planes. He introduced himself as Bob B. from Bend. Then he proceeded to talk...
Bob was on his way to get his FAA medical...at the age of 82. His wife made him sell his last plane at 80 so Bob bought another motorcycle. He really liked the Suzuki he found as it looked like his 1974 Harley. Then he told me about his first motorcycle.
Bob served as an engineer on a tanker in the USN during WWII. He was in Bremerhaven at the wars end and said he paid "a carton of cigarettes, a bottle of scotch and a pair of trousers" for a British built Victoria motorcycle. He said the couldn't find gas anywhere so they stole it out of the life boats! When he was shipped back home, he and a buddy lashed it to the tanker and made their way to Texas.
That's when he crashed and ruined his left hip. Which is another story Bob told me.
Bob and his buddy were leaving the (here Bob leans in conspiritorially and whispers) "the pussy house" late one night in a coastal Texas town when he told his buddy he was too tire to ride. His buddy, riding on back said they were only 10 miles from the ship and that he could make it. Bob said, "My buddy knew there was something wrong when he said he felt the bike start to slow down". Bob had fallen asleep on a road that forked left and right. Right in the middle of the "Y" was a large statue. Bob hit it dead on and his buddy landed on top of him, pinning him to the bike and crushing his left leg.
Bob was seeing "this cute little Italian number" who's friend was a doctor. She brought the Doc to Bob and the Doc put a plate on Bob's upper leg then told him "That's the first one I've ever done on a human. I've done pigs and horses but not people!" Needless to say Bob was pretty proud of the metal plate in his leg.
Bob then asked what kind of engines I had on my King Air. I told him I had PT6-42's on them. He told me another story about establishing an airline across most of Montana in Beech 99's and Twin Otters. He regaled me with a story about politics and arguing with one of the Mayor Daley's trying to get a route into O'Hare and not Midway.
About that time my Med Crew arrived and I had to bid Bob goodbye. I'll bet Bob has a bunch more stories about WWII and flying in the 50's, 60's and 70's if anyone is willing to sit a spell and just listen.