Friday, December 17, 2010

Of Wright Brothers and Grandfathers

Since I have to allow extra time this morning to trek the few icy, snowbound blocks to the spot on the street where my bus may or may not appear (and you can guess what my assumption is), I will make this a necessarily brief post.

First things first: it was on this date in 1903 - a mere 107 years ago - that Wilbur and Orville Wright made their first successful flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. They had selected Kitty Hawk for two reasons: steady, brisk winds that would help their fragile aircraft get and stay aloft, and plenty of sand dunes to cushion the inevitable crash landings. It's interesting to reflect that, in historical terms, that first flight took place a mere eye-blink ago. Consider that...

In 1944, just 41 years after Kitty Hawk, the US Army Air Force was launching thousand-plane bombing raids over German cities;

In 1969, a mere 66 years after the Wright Brothers' first flight, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon; and,

In 2010, you may select intrusive patdown or irradiation as part of the cost of flying on a commercial airliner.

Tempus fugits faster all the time, doesn't it?

Shifting intellectual gears, we note that today's Writers' Almanac from Garrison Keillor featured this wonderful poem that speaks to grandfathers everywhere...

Song and Dance
by Jonathan Greene

At the mall

the granddaughter whines
'I need' with an insistence,
an urgent test of familial bonds.

The old man mimicking,
'You need, like a hole in the head'
—but this is all a ritual,

the back & forth ploys,
well-rehearsed melodrama
and pantomime.

She sways, one foot to another.
They both know he will give in,
despite at first the necessary protests.

The twelve-year-old has calculated
how 'love' comes in handy at such times.

This silly plastic handbag that today
means the world.

If you're a grandfather, you understand. If you haven't yet had the pleasure, you will.

Have a good day. Stay warm and safe. Cartoon Saturday is coming tomorrow with a special Christmas edition - be here!



Amanda said...

Ah.....once again, I'm envious of the cold you're experiencing....

John said...

I am very grateful for the Wright brothers' flight. My career has been a good one!

Bilbo said...

Amanda - I can provide you the full winter experience...we have a guest room and extra snow shovels, and will pick you up at the airport. John will make sure you arrive safely.

John - I suppose that Wilbur and Orville didn't suspect in 1903 that there would one day be so many aircraft in the sky at once that someone like you would be essential!

Bandit said...

There are so many planes that the govt., according to a yahoo news article, has lost track of 119,000 of them.

My oldest granchild is 2 1/2. I'm sure that experience is coming soon.

Bilbo, I left a comment on Mike's blog. Please correct my grammar, if need be.

Mike said...

People can FLY?! Next thing you'll try and tell me is the world is not flat.

Wv: prenal - Right before nal.

KathyA said...

Did the bus make it??

That time span -- in it's brevity -- amazes me.