Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Public Confession

I must confess. I can hold it in no longer. In a former career, I was a very hip keyboard player in the Seal Beach area.

This is my second album cover, which followed my first release, which was entitled, "Getting Partially Down".

Pictured here with me is my faithful Labrador mix, aptly named "Whitey". He is now in Dog Heaven.

Signed copies of this album are available for a modest fee. Proceeds go to the Steve Norris Hair Replenishment Fund.

WWII Memories in Tucson

This past week, I was in Tucson, Arizona for work, and was pleasantly surprised to find a reminder of my own father's service to his country.

While driving to a meeting with the Tucson Airport Authority, I spotted signs by the roadway that read, simply "WWII Planes" with arrows pointing the directions to turn.

After several turns, I found myself standing next to the plane my father flew from about 1942 to 1947, they B-17G Flying Fortress. This plane, sitting on the tarmac at the Tucson airport is one of only 15 remainging flying B-17s, from a complete fleet of 12,700 B-17s built during and after the war.

The "Nine O' Nine" is in mint flying condition, and to my glee was completely open for interior inspection. Not a single detail has been missed, and this plane is remarkable to behold, more than 60 years after being constructed. The nose contained a real Norden Bombsight, all the cockpit controls are vintage, with the exception of modern radios, and the waist guns have real ammo clips. Remarkable.

Yesterday, I showed the photos I had taken of my B-17 visit to my Dad, who is now 87. In his near constant state of mild dementia, not a lot makes Dad smile these days. However, my photos brought a big smile to Dad's face, and afterward, a new war story I have never heard before - of flying General Ennis Whitehead from Manila to Kansas City, stopping only for fuel, as they island-hopped through the South Pacific heading east, avoiding tropical storms all the way.

Just imagine it. Being 24 years old, and flying a four engine bomber with a crew of seven around the South Pacific to rescue downed flyers. Its amazing to me. My Dad will always have my respect for his service to our country.

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