Posts Tagged ‘Utah Zoom’

Digging through my scrapbooks, I found the story I did about flying in a KC-135 tanker over the Grand Canyon, a National Guard event to entice women to join the service.

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain

I was having a virtual Jack and Coke Zoom night with my good friend Kim Monday when we started talking about celebrations for her approaching 60th birthday. She and I have been observing birthdays together now for just about half our lives.

My friend Kim and I right before we jumped out of an airplane to celebrate my 70th birthday.

Recalling the fantastic time 11 years ago when we had celebrated my 70th birthday by jumping out of an airplane, she wanted to do something just as memorable

Among other things, we had earlier talked about a cruise and visit to Iceland, both of which are off the radar now because of the coronavirus.

“You know I haven’t visited the Grand Canyon,” she interjected into the conversation. “But I think I’m past the time when I can hike down to its bottom.”

That brought a laugh from me, and the comment that I was way past that time. “I gave up my annual birthday hike to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion some years back now.”

“Perhaps a helicopter ride over the canyon. I could handle that,” Kim said.

Her words brought up a couple of memories for me. I’ve visited the Grand Canyon many times, including twice spending 16 days paddling through it on the Colorado River, and once flying over it in a KC-135 Tanker as it refueled three B-1 Bombers and a fighter jet. I was along for the ride as a reporter covering the outing, which had been planned to show women the sky was the limit if they joined the National Guard.

Kim during one of our outings to Zion National Pak to celebrate one of my birthdays.

Both the Grand Canyon rafting and over-flying experiences rank among the top 10 experiences of my life. As a rafter, I disdained the helicopters flying overhead the canyon, but my view of the canyon from the glass bottom at the rear of the KC-135, where the boom operator lay for the refueling process, made me rethink my attitude. While not exactly environmentally correct, I wanted everyone to have such an experience. Sometimes we have to stop thinking about life and just live it – especially if, like me, we’ve survived to become old broads.

And so, I told my friend Kim that if she wanted to do a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon to count me in. Kim, by the way, celebrates her birthday the same day as Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, which is September 22.

Bean Pat: To my granddaughter Keri, who posted “I Love You” on Facebook, noting that if people can hate for no reason, she can love for no reason. I am so proud of her.

Bean Pat Silver Lining: To Wing, a drone company, and a Virginian librarian, who will be joining forces to drop library books to kids. This is such a great idea, as are any others that encourage children to read. A home with children and no books is, to my way of thinking, child abuse. https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/drones-will-drop-library-books-for-kids-in-virginia/

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.


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