10:58 pm, Friday – Crap! I’ve just awakened to the Charlie Rose show theme song on WSEC, and that means I’ve missed another show. I’m amazed I even fell asleep after dinner tonight because the news at the airport had not been good. I didn’t have to be at work until 2 Friday afternoon, and I stayed close to the office all day, ready to help the pilot group set up tables for tomorrow’s big scholarship breakfast, and the gang had just begun to dribble in when I had to depart at 1:50 to make it to work, Had a fine three hours there. Spent as much time with AeroKnow projects as I did with showroom responsibilities, When I returned to the airport, intending to arrange models on four display tables I believed (from past experience over the years) would be waiting for me by the hangar door, I found NONE. The rest of the tables and chairs for the anticipated diners were in place, the grill, the coolers with creamers, syrup, margarine and juice, all perfectly placed. I could not even get into the hangar — even though I’m a member of Illinois Pilots Association — because I’m not a pilot! It’s a security law. I allowed this woeful tableau to shoot me totally down. I had intended to take at least two hours to arrange the AKM display, but suddenly I felt like I was driving on four blown tires. I could have worked upstairs — there are a plethora of tasks awaiting my deft (some might suggest “daft”) touch in those six rooms — but suddenly I didn’t give a flying fig about the bleeping model display in the bleeping hangar!
5:45 pm Friday –I drove home, talking to the chapter president on cell as I rolled. He said they had set aside TWO tables for me. There was no point in pointless jabber and dismay; I would return at 5 am Saturday and set things up then on the two tables he had set aside.
7 pm Friday –After an peevish dinner washed down by generous quaffs of Carlo Rossi Burgundy, I fell asleep in my living room chair and continue, estranged from the world for four hours until awaking to the Charlie Rose theme song.
What the heck to do? Try to get some more sleep, I suppose. I’ll need more than four to fortify moi for the waiting scenario. It will be aviation all day followed by a classical guitar concert after that. I drink some wine. It doesn’t phase me. I read a magazine. No drowse. I watch late night TV. Not even a frigging yawn for two hours. I submit as conscious as a patient getting a tooth filled, to the TV series “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” “Mission Impossible,” “The Untouchables” and “Peter Gunn.” These were TV blockbusters in the 60s, but I was a fan of none of them. I did not watch one whole episode of any of them. They didn’t appeal to me. Between 12:30 and 4 am I watch them all as though hypnotized. My mind will not let me sleep as I approach\\ed 2 am, and after 2, I am determined NOT to fall asleep because I cannot allow myself to sleep past 4am! I must be awake at 4 so I can shower, drink some coffee, wash some dishes and check email before leaving for the airport at 4:50. The thought of drifting off to sleep and awakening at say, 8 or 9 scared the beJEEBERS of me. I will not let that happen!
The last half of “Voyage” has all the dated sophistication of “Hee Haw” or a B movie that was fit only for drive-ins in the 50s. Peter Graves in “Mission” is familiar to me. In all of his TV and movie fame, I’ve never heard mention of his first TV show: “Fury.” It was a Saturday morning half hour show on NBC at 10 am CST. It was about a kid (character name Joey Newton) who was adopted by a rancher, Peter Graves, who owned a black horse named Fury. I watched it religiously, and I hadn’t paid attention to Graves since, although he was terrific in “Fury.” I had never watched “Gunn” through the opening theme song, one of the first TV theses by Henry Mancini. Wonderful theme! “Untouchables” was also enjoyable to a guy fighting off sleep. I’ll probably never watch another episode of any of them.
4:08 Saturday morning — I am out of the shower with clean hair and a more optimistic outlook, feeling good that I’m in motion again. While the hair dries, I wash a week’s worth of dirty dishes (fewer than you might think) and then get dressed.
5:16 am — The plastic-wrapped three issues of Wall Street Journal that are delivered every day but Sunday to the business that also houses AKM are still in the floodlighted parking lot as I walk from truck to office, so I pick them up and deposit them on the counter. The line service man — who directs airplanes to parking and refuels them on the nearby tarmac will open them and arrange them on the lobby counter when he returns from fueling an airliner over at the terminal.
5:28 am Saturday: I begin setting up the models on the two tables I moved from where they had been MIS-placed Saturday afternoon. It requires many trips, walking with two or three large models at a time and occasional storage box lid “trays” of smaller ones about 250 feet out to spacious interior of Hangar 1. Since I have half as many tables as usual, I’m done reasonably soon, and I spend a few minutes in my office on Facebook inviting all locals to come to the breakfast starting in an hour. Later into the morning, airline pilot/friend Chuck Buescher tells me how that Faacebook post brought him out for the big feed.
The morning goes nicely. I eat breakfast about 8 — delicious as always, and this time I do not go back for seconds because I haved no help at the model display, and I’d rather talk to visitors than eat any day. Sometimes I leave the tables to walk around, to take pictures of activities. I will share them later this week.
Noon Saturday — Just a few diners remain and the volunteers are starting to break down (fold up) tables and chairs, returning them to the trailer and transport back to the storage room across the airport. My friend Warren Stiska helps me haul models back to the AKM office while his wife holds the door open for us. It’s easy work with help; a happy, chatty breeze. I return to fold my tables and return them with chairs to the staging area halfway into the big hangar, and by 12:45 I’m back in the AKM office.
The room is cluttered with hastily deposited models that I will gradually return to the shelves. The only casualty was the loss of a canopy that fell off a 1/72 model of a Bell P-59 Airacomet. If I eventually find it; great, and if I don’t I will buy a better 1/72 scale kit of the P-59 and build a better model of it when I can. No rush.
I spend the rest of the afternoon processing pictures and showing the museum to visitors. Easy, fun, but I am “feeling the clock” on my eyelids. It will get worse. I will NOT go home because if I do, I will sit down, and when I do that at home, I will go to sleep. A friend at work said shemightattend the concert, I committed to attending, escorting my camera, so the concert is not an option. Besides it’s the last classical guitar concert of the season, I consider the organizers valued acquaintances, and I am a long-time supporter of their enterprise.
6:58 pm: I splash on an exceedingly copious quantity of Mennen Skin Bracer aftershave (passes for cologne in my life) from the office desk drawer and leave the office for the concert venue, Faith Lutheran Church, in my childhood neighborhood.
By 7:30 I have purchased my ticket, purchased featured performer Jeff Rogers’ CD and taken informal pictures of him warming up before the early concert arrivers are admitted to the sanctuary where the concert will begin at 8 or so.
Rogers plays the notes as I fend off sleep; a real challenge during some of the selections. With his permission, I take pictures between the music, using available light, with flash disengaged to avoid distracting performer and audience as he talks to the packed house and introduces what’s coming next. I have not come to review the performance beyond saying I am glad I attended. Thanks in part to the fact I carry a camera, I have the best seat in the place, and want to capture some images with sharing at my Flickr photo pages. Because I am shooting available light and the performer performs literally in shadow . . . .
. . . . .How many theatrical and performance productions have you ever witnessed where those you came to see share in freaking SHADOW? I digress . . . . .
After a fine reception that included lots of fine conversation with many good people, including a classical guitar student from Iran, and acquaintances involved with producing these concerts four times a season, I return to the sanctuary to retrieve my leather jacket. I glance at the clock in the lobby. It’s 12 minutes after 11 pm.
I return to the late stayers, explain I am going home after a productive 24 hours of continuing consciousness every minute of it gladly spent. They seem impressed, wish me well, and in the cool air, I’m feeling the approach of a second wind. Why bother with bed? Why not work in my home office until I’m sleepy?
11:30 pm and I’m walking through the front door at home. I check the e-mail and Facebook. Very deliberately, like an old man, I return to the easy chair where I spent the early morning 24-plus hours ago and read the Saturday State Journal-Register. I know I MUST get to sleep to be on my game Sunday morning at the museum. After making a deposit in the room with the porcelain bowl, I’m walking down the hall to the bedroom, and I’m thinking, “Do I WANT to take a few hits from Carlo Rossi in the living room? I drank all the wine I wanted at the reception. I’m not feeling loopy, and I know I won’t have trouble getting to sleep once I am prone in bed, so I don’t need wine.
I turn right at the living room, take three small swallows of burgundy. It’s a celebration.
12:10 am Sunday morning: I lie down in bed. I am asleep almost as soon as my head touches the pillow.
Live long . . . . . . . . . . . . . and proper.