The Boys Of Fall


(Captain Blowdri in the B-757 cockpit)

It has been 41 years since my high school graduation, which makes me the class of 1969!  That can only mean that I am staring at my 60th birthday in February.  My two sons are now grown men, Jason is 36 and Jeremy is 32 years old.  Additionally, Jeremy now has two children of his own, a son named Cole and daughter named Hannah.  Yep that makes me a very proud grandfather!

How can all this be so, I have asked my self many times?  It wasn’t long ago that I was on the field of the McLane High School football stadium watching and listening as The McLane Highlander’s “Pipe and Drum Corp” marched into the stadium playing Scotland The Brave for the senior graduation ceremony!  It was the last time that I would have the privilege to hear those bagpipes as a student of McLane High School!

My how fast the time whizzes by!  I remember anxiously awaiting each Fall Friday night.  Oh how we used to live for “Tonight”!  Well now I am almost 60 years old and all those “tonight’s” have come and gone in a rapid blur!  I know that I echo the thought for almost all of my contemporaries in saying, “Man I wished that I could have  just one of those “tonight’s” back!  I would give anything to relive that senior year, those Friday night dances, the fun of it all, the camaraderie, the excitement of the football, basketball, and baseball games, spinning donuts with my red 1965 VW with a loud stinger exhaust in the fog, on the grassy area by the swimming pool and gym, oooppps, I never got caught for that!!!  I surely hope that the statute of limitations has passed!!  Those were “the good old days”!

Well looking back, there are more “tonight’s” behind me than there are “tonight’s” in front of me.  Nevertheless, I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about my legacy.

What is my legacy?

I am not sure that I have the answer. Do people remember you for your honesty, your humor, your loyalty, your hard work?  Just what is it that we want people to remember us for?

Is there an answer for that question?  I believe that the answer for the question, “what is my legacy?”, is for others to figure out.

Nevertheless, I do know one thing for sure. 

It is not what you take with you when you leave this earth, but it is what you leave behind when you’re gone!

Please take some time to watch this video below.  Pay close attention to the coach’s talk to his players, it rings oh so true to life!  Listen to the lyrics of Kenny Chesney’s song, I promise you it will stir emotions in your soul that may have laid dormant for years!  If this song and video doesn’t do for you, then I guess that I am just an old sentimental softie!!

Remember, life is a journey, not a guided tour!  The decisions that you make today, follow all the days of your life!

Dream big and give it your all!

Long live the “Boys of Fall”!


9/11: Where Were You?

The 9/11 attacks

(UAL flt 175 prior to impacting The World Trade Center)

It has been nine long, and sometimes painful, years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and the UAL crash in Pennsylvania.  On that day I lost one friend, Captain Jason Dahl the captain on UAL flight 93, the airplane that crashed in PA.

Saturday marks the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States. For those of us in the airline industry, and specifically at United and American Airlines, the date is particularly poignant. It is a painful tribute for all who lost friends, colleagues, and passengers. Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing on that sunny September morning when we first became aware of what had happened. This Saturday, there will be numerous memorial services and events and, hopefully, you can take part in one of them.

The flight crew of UAL flight 175.

The flight crew of UAL flight 93.

The flight crew of AA flight 11.

The flight crew of AA flight 77.

Follow this link to see the video regrading the memorial and new proposal for the national park at the crash site of UAL flight 93 in Shanksville, PA.

Where were you on the morning of September 11, 2001, the day that the world changed forever?

Please never forget these honorable people and their ultimate sacrifice!  One must remember that the price of freedom sometimes can be the ultimate sacrifice!

When you watch this video pay close attention to this video and the lyrics from this Alan Jackson song!


My Enlightening Summer In Review


(Captblowdri @ Talladega Superspeedway)

Labor Day is now upon us and that signifies the end of summer.  The Labor Day weekend is traditionally the last weekend of the family sun and fun.

My 2010 summer has been drastically different from any other that I have had since graduating from Fresno State in June 1973, or for that fact in my entire life!

The preface to my summer was written on the evening of May 16, 2010.  That was to be the beginning of, what I will deem, my enlightening summer!  The series of events, the UAL Flight Safety Investigation and the NTSB Investigation, that followed the cockpit fire, made me feel like I was under the intense scrutiny of both United Air Lines and the federal government.

In conjunction with dealing with the above events, I was notified that one of my closest college buddies, and the former Chief of Police of Madera, CA, had lost his gallant battle for his life.  It was the summer of ’69 that I first met Jerry Noblett. However, it was a cool spring morning on May 24, 2010 that I had to say farewell to my buddy!

As the next few weeks progressed, I came to realize that there was something strange going on in my chest.  I was feeling like my pulse was erratic, my blood pressure was giving me strange feelings, and I was feeling tired.  So I did what most responsible patients do, I contacted my cardiologist, Dr. John R. Nelson.

On Monday July 5th, I was able to get in to see my cardiologist.  Before I left his office he had me hooked up with a heart monitor that I had to wear for 24 hours. Late the next evening my cardiologist called me to relay to me the news from the monitor data.  The doctor instructed me to report at 8:30am for a heart CT scan and an echocardiogram.  By the time I left his office on Wednesday afternoon, I had an appointment to see the Electro-Physiologist, Dr. Khoi Le, regarding my newly found issue, Ventricular Tachycardia!

Thursday morning at 8:30am I consulted with the Electro-Physiologist.  When I left his office around 9:15am, I was scheduled for a cardiac ablation procedure with a hospital report time of 8:00am Friday morning.  The four hour procedure and my stay in the hospital was an experience that I soon will not forget!

One of the several outcomes from the cardiac ablation is being grounded by the FAA pending the outcome of this procedure and many tests that are to follow.  The latest from the FAA is that I am grounded until at least November of 2011.  Another outcome from all of this is that my aorta valve is approaching the point whereby it is needing to be replaced.  Another procedure that I must confront sometime in the near future!

In spite of the medical conditions that have come to light, I was able to meet up with one of my brothers in Belleville, KS and Knoxville, IA to get a heaping dose of midgets and sprint car racing in August.

So all was not lost!  In spite of it all, I have had a very enlightening summer!

Other than that Captain Blowdri,  how was your 2010 summer?