Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sweet dreams, Richard (day 48)

Hello, friends.

I am sorry to pass on to you an odd counterpoint to Nancy's journey, as we nearly reach the end. Her father, Richard Jones, passed away early this morning at the age of 89.

Dick was ready to go, in a lot of discomfort the last couple of years, and grieving the loss of his wife a year ago, and Nancy, of course. He was a US Army Air Corps pilot in the Flying Tigers in WW II, flew P-40's, P-51's, then all the early jet aircraft as a test pilot. His name is in some history books, his stories were amazing, he was a fierce, tidy, disciplined man. He was a full colonel when he retired, then had another full career teaching, and working for CAL-OSHA.

I remember him talking about practicing delivery of big nuclear weapons in the early '50's using F-86 Sabre fighter jets, about flying a B-26, a P-61, all kinds of amazing planes, about building ICBM silos in the California and Arizona desert, about the time a hot pilot landed too close behind him and chopped his P-51 fighter in half, detonating all the fuel and munitions and burning the magnesium bits in a fireworks display that lasted for an hour. About shooting up Japanese troop trains in China in 1943, about parachuting out of a burning P-40 and getting back to the base with a lot of underground help, just in time to keep his stuff from getting given away. The man was damn lucky he was never killed in action, and saw more adventure in his life than anyone else I know.

Dick, we all love you, and Nancy loved you. May the Tara prayer hold you in your transition to the light.

So sad that he had to see his daughter pass away first. But it's also true that Nancy never lost her father. The light and the dark are ever in balance. See you tomorrow.


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