Budd Davisson, Plane and Pilot ,August, 1999

A Good Day

It's 0500, I'm in the office and Nizhoni (our three month old Pomeranian) is snoozing on the desk next to the computer and, for some reason, I feel like sharing the simple fact that we had a really good day yesterday.

Yesterday, one of the never-to-be-violated weekdays, was supposed to be a "jump in the Cessna, run to Prescott, test fly a recently rebuilt Pitts, run home and get back to work" type of day, but it turned out to be something entirely different.

This would be my sixth trip to Prescott to try to get this airplane rigged and I had to get it finished. The possibility of monsoon storms, however, made us abandon the little 140A for the Taurus, which turned out to be a wise move, for a lot of reasons. For one thing, Marlene and I hadn't realized how long it had been since we'd been by ourselves (even though we're together 24 hours a day) without a phone in one of our ears. We simply needed the quiet time together.

Also, it was our first trip with our new puppy and that turned out to be a trip all it's own. Nizhoni (Navajo for "pretty ") has proven to be a terrific source of fun and joy.

The test flights on the Pitts (six of them!) finally closed the gap on it's handling and it's now flying hands off and its owner is happy. Then we took a leisurely ride home stopping at some of our favorite antique and funky furniture haunts. For no apparent reason, we stopped at a place which has never been known for having good stuff, but as I walked in, I spotted a bunch of antique saddles. As I walked up to them, I actually said to myself, "I'm not buying any more saddles. The only saddle I would buy would be something made in Nebraska that's of the right age and type."

Some background: For those who don't know, The Redhead and I sort of collect antique saddles (don't ask, I can't explain why), but they take up a lot of space and escalating prices have gradually squeezed us out of the market. However, even though we have about ten of them, I've been keeping an eye out for one made in my home state of Nebraska.

I was amazed and amused when I squinted at the maker's mark on the third saddle: it was a Harpham Bros, made in Lincoln. It was only the second Harpham I'd seen (circa 1900) and the price was an affordable $200. Plus it was square skirt, high back, double rigged and every single piece of it, including the latigo/cinch/etc. was there. To make things even better, years ago we found the two kerosene lamps which sit in our living room in an antique store in Lincoln which now occupies the old Harpham saddlery. It was all too perfect. The saddle wound up in the trunk and I grinned most of the way home.

Anyway, we were home before dark and...I can't exactly explain it...we were "pleased" with our day. It had been a really good togetherness day and we hadn't realized how much we needed it. It had been an unscheduled break, totally serendipitous in many of its happenings and wonderful in its revitalizing effect.

The day reminded me of something which I think is important. Many of us get into a groove that, although it may be an enjoyable groove, it's still a groove and we need to leave it from time to time. I'm fortunate in that just about every thing I do during my waking hours I love. But, no one has a life without deadlines and deadlines, combined with life's other responsibilities, put invisible fences around your time and create a groove, however subtle.

Most of us over-lay that groove with the thought pattern that we absolutely must be productive. The day has to earn its keep. In fact, when you're chronically unemployable, as I am, you get paranoid about that. Each day has to achieve something concrete. So we force-fit our days to make things happen. And then a day like yesterday sneaks up on you and proves at least part of that kind of concept for living to be wrong.

Even though I'm a big proponent of extemporaneous living, in truth, I don't really practice it. I'm too much of a time-freak. But yesterday reminded me that there are lots of different ways to invest your time and the pay off doesn't have to be a completed project for it to be a productive day. The pay offs for this particular day included a clearer head and refreshed relationships with my wife, my dog and my life. Yes, taking the Cessna would have been enjoyable and it would have been Nizhoni's first log book entry. But it wouldn't have taken us out of our groove. Idly poking our way through shops and taking the slow road home did. And we needed it.

I only pass this on in the hopes that those who haven't had such a day recently will take one ASAP.

Gotta go, Nizhoni needs to go out.