By SLIM RANDLES
“You don’t mean it!”
“Sure as I’m sittin’ here, Doc,” Herb said, putting an extra swirl to his coffee and cream.
“Yessir. Said he wanted to do it before he got old. I know. I know. He’s already old, but still, he’s up about every weekend now, buzzing around.”
“That’s just nuts,” Doc said, “I know for a fact he won’t see 70 again.”
“True enough, Doc, but you know they aren’t letting him take the plane up by himself.”
“Thank goodness for that. But what in the world made him want to fly a plane?”
“When I asked him that, he said it was the war that made him sign up for lessons.”
“Vietnam. He said he was a ground pounder in ‘Nam and always envied those pilots who got to do their fighting with clean, dry boots.”
Harvey always was a kind of strange one around the valley here. Kept to himself, mostly. Worked down at the gas station gun shop until he hit retirement age. No one better at fixing a flat or doing an oil change.
But he was always on the quiet side. He’d ask about you and your family, but didn’t really have anything to say about his own life.
But now he’s up there every weekend, looking down on the rest of us from the driver’s seat of a Cessna.
“Vietnam was a long time ago,” Doc said.
“That’s what I told him too, Doc. But he just smiled at me and said, ‘Well, Herb, there’s always next time.’”
Evidently dreams don’t come with calendars.