Houston, We Have A Problem

Before I was full blown into Rock-n-Roll and hot rods, I was a genuine, card-carrying, oath-swearing, decorated member of the Boy Scouts of America. I know; but at the time it seemed like a good idea.

Rocket art by thanaphiphat istock/thinkstock
Art by thanaphiphat istock/thinkstock

Actually, I never planned to join the Boys Scouts. Having been an overachiever for many years, working my way up through the junior scouting ranks, I’d had my full dose, and I wouldn’t have continued had it not been for my best pal (and guitarist in our band) showing up at my house sporting his “punked-out” version of the uniform one afternoon.

The look of the untucked drab green shirt, with its patches, rolled up sleeves, and open collar (along with his guitar slung low) screamed “cool,” and I wanted to be cool, too.

I asked my parents to sign me up and even though they were reluctant, eventually they relented (they, too, had had their fill of scouting, having been both den mother and scout master, as well).

So off to the department store we went.

We arrived at the local S-mart and headed directly to the scouting department, where my rebel dreams would immediately be crushed. Seems because of my rounded physique at the time, they only offered a “short-sleeve” old man’s style uniform shirt in my size. Not exactly the look I was going for. I was bummed and lost my desire to “enlist”…but, I was stuck, my parents had already purchased everything for an upcoming overnight winter hike and camp-out in the mountains (gulp).

Call it karma, but I have never been more cold, wet, or miserable before or since. It was so bad, I ended up having to be “transported” off the mountain after 18 grueling hours. Back home, I was awarded several merit badges. Huh, where’s the merit in being a wimp?

I eventually gave up scouting for good, but not before being introduced to model rockets, planes, and aeronautics. Now this was something I could get into. So much so, that when my kids were of an appropriate age, I shared the hobby with them.

One lazy Saturday, we went to the toy store and bought a couple Estes model rocket kits and spent an afternoon building them together and then set off for a field close to home. My oldest was the first to launch his rocket and it soared to the heavens with ease and then gracefully floated back to earth.

There’s just something really exhilarating about defying gravity and flying through the air. Even if it is just a model. It’s probably a feeling that’s very familiar to the ladies featured in our story about local women pilots. It’s how they feel every time they take off for the horizon! Their stories and adventures will hopefully inspire more women to “Reach for the Stars” (see page 37). And as always, this is just one of the many great Women & Business features in our February issue, including our “Celebrating All Things Women” profiles (page 41). Talk about empowering.

You know February also brings about our annual Go Red For Women section and Ladies in Red photo spreads. Once again, we are proud to present these important features to help bring awareness to heart disease in women, as well as share several new heartfelt stories from local survivors. Go Red starts on page 55. And of course we have our regular reader favorites as well.

After the fire department finished putting out the flames, the captain said to me that I wouldn’t get a ticket this time, but in the future to be more careful. You see, my youngest was next to launch his rocket and about halfway up it suddenly exploded, raining burning “shrapnel” down on us which proceeded to blacken most of what is now known as the Marketplace.


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