My husband and I spent the Memorial Day Weekend in the Hill Country of Texas, visiting with some friends we’ve known since Pilot Training Days back in 1980. When Jim, Gil and Ed first met they were young Air Force Officers, about to embark on the pathway to their dreams. Thirty plus years later, the bond that formed in those early days of all night studying, sweating out check rides, and long Saturdays unwinding on Lake Amistad, is still there, as strong as ever. This weekend talk often turned to “who we were” but more often than not it also became a discussion of the men they are now….pilots with a wealth of experience in both the military and private sectors, fathers who have nurtured children through the years who are now older than these guys were when they trained together in those Del Rio days, and men who are planning for retirement days, knowing the next phase of life has been well-earned.
I used to hate it when “old” people told me time would pass by quickly. I try not to tell that to young parents or to young officers who are just starting out, but now that Jim and I are about to witness yet another peer retiring tomorrow morning, I know just how true it is. Where DID those years disappear to?
I love this portrait of Jim and Ed, quietly talking in the dark of the night, outside of Gil’s hangar door. In their hearts, they are still Lieutenants and all their dreams still exist behind those doors.