Christmas in the Hamptons

The main lobby at the West Hampton airport was small, with dark wood paneling and a Christmas tree in the center of the room. The tree was strung with toy drummer boys producing a mechanical version of Oh Come All Ye Faithful. The young woman closed the door halfway so I’d be alert to my passengers’ arrival, yet still have some privacy.

After finishing the cup of hot chocolate the woman had made for me, I called for our release while my first officer carried the catering and newspapers out to the plane. As she figured out the landing fee, she mentioned that a friend who had never tasted eggnog was coming over that night. She talked of making it from scratch and adding rum.

It was already dark and a light snow was falling. On his way back inside the first officer said a van with the luggage had arrived, but no passengers. The driver said they had decided to extend their visit to eleven o’clock. Christmas Eve would be spent above the clouds on a moonless night. Walking past the drum tree, I glanced toward the office. The door was partially open and the young woman was dancing by herself, completing a pirouette, her full dress still in motion.


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Lipstick and Oranges

Headed to California in the Cessna Citation, we watched the sun fall below the horizon. Bands of orange and red painted the sky, a lipstick-and-oranges sunset. The red and gold light filtered into the cockpit, softly illuminating our hands and face. The greater part of sky and earth lay in darkness. Often, this slash of red lipstick and band of orange appeared above the haze level at the higher altitudes. At times I thought I was looking at the background of all happy endings, or the celestial imprint of some greater force—the constancy of dream and nature. This sunset was at Charles Lindbergh’s back on his test flight from California to New York, and his voyage to Paris. (more…)


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Fish Heads and Rice

In late winter of ‘98, I started to get into Frank’s car and noticed the backseat was filled from a recent shopping spree. Besides his skills of mechanic, pilot, and survivor of the Bataan Death March, Frank Corbi ranked as an expert bargain hunter. (more…)


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