If You Weren’t Feeling Old Enough: It’s official. We have our first great-grandparent in the class! Jim Dill claimed that honor when Dante, Class of 2040, touched down on terra firma on 18 July. Congratulations, great-grandpa Jim!
Retirements: Scott Smith retired in May from Delta Air Lines, leaving as a B767 Captain based in Detroit, but still living in the DC area where he retired from the AF in 1996. Scott reports he’s still married to his “first and only love, Janet,” and they’ve been married since 6 June 1975 so there’s a chance it might work out. The Smiths recently met up with former roommate Stan “Chumley” Collins and his wife, Mary, in a pub in Cork, Ireland, and spent the evening eating and swapping stories. If it was like most classmate reunions, Scott and Chumley swapped the stories while Janet and Mary rolled their eyes.
Mike Banker put in 30 years with Northwest/Delta before retiring in June as a B767 Captain based in Seattle. His account of his life after retirement is that he hasn’t done much of anything except keep the house and garden going since his wife, Joanie, is still working. They’ve been married 43 years and somewhere along the way wound up with 5 kids and 12 grandkids who keep them from sitting down and getting comfortable for any appreciable stretch of time.
Roy Rice, a longtime Alabama resident, provided the following narrative on the recent retirement of a fellow Alabamian, Jim “Lucky” Corrigan. “I just wanted to let you know about Corrigan’s retirement and what a [characterization deleted to enable public dissemination of this true life story] he is. He called a couple of weeks ago and told me that on 4 Oct he would be taking his last flight with Delta. He said, ‘Why don’t you come down to help celebrate and we can work on your driving skills over the weekend?’ I, of course, agreed and was looking forward to some serious GOLF.” WHAT I DIDN’T SUSPECT was that he meant I would work on my tractor driving skills for the weekend. I got down to his place on Thursday and spent the next 3 ½ days on a tractor, helping put in 13 green fields for deer season. What a [further characterization deleted]!!! I spent 28 hours in the hot sun, on a tractor in dusty fields while he stayed up at the barn accepting gracious phone calls and emails from friends and classmates congratulating him on his Delta retirement. The one saving grace was Kim’s (Lucky’s lovely wife) outstanding cooking and graciousness as a wonderful hostess.” [Scribe’s note: Anyone who’s seen Roy’s golf swing would have to wonder why he ever thought Lucky was talking about working on those driving skills. I’m not even sure Lucky could bear to look at Roy’s swing, much less waste time working on it.]
Roughing It: While some of our recently retired classmates are trying to determine what to do with the lack of regimentation in their lives, others have found fulfillment by re-enacting their Survival days, sans the threat of dementors springing from behind trees and sucking the joy out of life.
Dale Hanner reports: “Joe Carroll, Rod Kallman, and I, fellow SLUF Drivers at Davis-Monthan, along with two other friends, recently decided to see if a group of 65-year-old senior citizens, who, by the way, think they are still 35, could survive a 5-day, and probably more importantly, 12-portage canoe trip, with two canoes and about 175 pounds of stuff in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. The two studs of our group, Rod and Joe, evolved into the only two guys willing and able to carry the canoes. Other than trying to get three ex-fighter pilots of equal rank to agree on anything, it was an absolutely fabulous trip!”
Jack Storer sent in a report describing an entirely different way of surviving in the woods: “I spent a few days backpacking and trout fishing in Rocky Mountain National Park in September. The weather was beautiful and the aspen were at their peak. I was fortunate to spend several nights at Dr. Larry Colletti’s cabin on Shadow Mountain Lake just outside the park. Larry plans to retire soon from his orthodontist business in Denver. Speaking of retirement, Dan “Bear” Brown retired from Fed Ex last winter. He spends the summers flying his floatplane off of Mirror Lake north of Anchorage and snowbirds in St. George, Utah.”
Mini-Reunions: Larry “Frankie” and Michelle Fariss hosted a brunch on 9 Sep at their house in Colorado Springs for fellow classmates Tom “Houner” Calhoun and Ben Phillips, who were in town for an 18 TFW reunion. Joe Dowdy showed up for the brunch because he heard there was food in the area. For the record, Frankie wasn’t assigned to the 18 TFW, he just likes to hang around Eagle drivers in a hopeless effort to interject some class and humility into their lives.
Rick Layman, Stan Collins, and their w-a-a-y better halves met up with Stan and Wanda Siefke when the Siefkes disembarked from their cruise through the Panama Canal in San Diego. The couples then swapped tales at a sub base and watched the Navy do its thing, because that’s what people do in a major city without a football team.
This year’s CS-29 Black Panthers reunion was held on a cruise of the Hawaiian Islands. Bill Ashcraft, Tom Barbera, Bill Davis, Greg Berlan, and K.C. Schwarz, under the supervision of their significant others, roamed the islands and cluttered up what would have been pictures of some beautiful scenery. Herr Ashcraft, the only non-retiree in the group, says he’s having too much fun as a lawyer to give up working just yet. Does the hair on anyone else’s arms stand straight up when a lawyer talks about having fun?
Taking it on the Road: Jim “Tony” Mahoney has found the way to a happy retirement is to never stop moving. Since his retirement 11 months ago he and Cindy have been on four cruises and five long road trips. The road trips were necessary to stretch the legs on the Tesla Model 3 they picked up at the end of March. With the Mahoney children spread out in Maine, Ohio, Phoenix and (maybe) Denver, and parents in Nebraska and Texas, Tony and Cindy will undoubtedly have plenty of opportunities to test the range on the Tesla.
John “Sax” Saxman wins the retirement traveling award for this quarter. Sax and his wife, Sherri, spent 115 days doing the “Down East Loop” on their 42-foot Grand Banks trawler. This was apparently a piece of cake for the seasoned waterway travelers since they did the much longer “America’s Great Loop” in 2015. Google has details on both of the loops. In Sax’s own words, they enjoyed “beautiful scenery, great people, abundant wildlife and sea life, and lots of adventures.” Sounds more enjoyable than driving a tractor in Alabama, eh?