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The Carriage Driver³ – An Appointment with Annie

Updated on December 21, 2016
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The two seater biplane did lazy rolls through the air above the wheat fields outside of New Concord. The old farmers waved as the plane performed its dance for their amusement. John had stars in his eyes as he felt the force of the propeller respond to his hand on the throttle. The warm, clean air sang of freedom and promise. There are farm boys and there are Flyboys. The ground was an ok place for some people, he thought. But I have the sky.

The country was cash poor, though still had strength in its people, who were going through tough times. John felt rich; he had his Annie and he had his flying. It was a constant struggle for him to decide which he loved more. When the war came for him, he did what many of his generation did. He fought and bled and fought some more, until the enemy, threw in the towel. The enemy was left to wonder where such hard men came from – the answer, in this case, from Ohio.

The wars came and went. Each plane that he crawled into went higher, went faster. The country was on the move. Avionics made the world smaller, the planets closer and heightened the vistas of space. The boy from pioneer stock on the plains of Ohio, set his sights on new frontiers.

“While the population was getting high, I was getting higher.”

“Adrenaline pumps through his veins,” Annie would tell the other military wives. They were intrigued at the thought. Test pilots are made of steel, she told herself. Faster than a speeding bullet, leaping buildings, etc., Superman had nothing on her Johnny. Except John could die. She smiled and squeezed her children tight each time he left for work to fly.

John tested his wings. The higher he climbed, the less resistance, he encountered. He viewed himself, like he viewed his country. Nothing but free skies ahead. This is America, the sky is the limit, and the sky was about to be pushed to where only poets had gone before.

Annie seldom saw John elated, but one evening he came home visibly excited. “Annie, they have offered me space. I am going to outer space.” The young couple made love that night. He like it was the first time, she like it was the last time.

Dreams do come true. The space race was as exciting as war and more profitable.

“The Country was green and heroes walked among us.”

Several green colored vehicles arrived at Griffins barn. Men and equipment were extracted from the cars and entered the barn.

Six engineers, three technicians and three angels stood around Griffin’s carriage. The oldest engineer ran some numbers on his slide rule. A young engineer checked the numbers on his Texas Instrument Scientific calculator. They compared numbers. The three technicians with the help of the three angels persuaded Nuelle to spread her wings. Careful measurements were made. Length, width and arch were measured. Thrust factors and weight ratios were checked in a book. The lead technician looked at the lead engineer and shook his head. The carriage with Nuelle in the lead would never fly fast enough. The old engineer held out his slide rule, the young engineer checked those findings with his own. The laws of physics were not opinions.

Captain Griffin Chaffey, sat on his new porch and watched the show. He never had this much attention given for one passenger. Every passage was equal in his mind.

The teams gathered their equipment and left scratching their heads.

As the dust of their cars settled Griffin saw a young fellow approaching. He was tall, with a trim build and a Robert Redford smile. A leather Naval jacket was hung over one shoulder, like it had become part of him. He had an easy way about him. He had that swagger that is so admired.

“Howdy,” he called to Griffin. “Is this the right place?”

Griffin stood and walked towards him. When close enough, he extended his hand in friendship.

John immediately felt at home. The air was warm and clean. The barn reminded him of home. All his aches and pains were gone. The bounce had returned to his step.

“A bunch of fellows were just here. I think on your behalf. They left confused. I checked my book. It says there are two of you joining me on this ride. Where is your partner?”

John smiled, “She is running a little late. I hope you don’t mind waiting a short while.”

“We have nothing but time.” Griffin walked over to the barn. “Come on. Let me introduce you to Nuelle.” The two men walked over and went inside. “Nuelle, this is John. He is the one I told you about.” She waved her tail and swished her mane. Griffin reached in his pocket and retrieved an apple. He cut it into four pieces.

John held his hand out. Griffin handed him two pieces which John fed to Nuelle. Griffin handed John a quarter more, and the two men shared in the bounty of the apple.

“Climb in back if you like.”

John hopped in and made himself comfortable.

Johnny from the back seat of the carriage told the story of when he was a child. “It was a warm summer morning. My Dad and I were working out near the barn. We were getting some chickens and an old goat fed. It was easy work, peaceful, ya-know. Our work day was just getting started. I turned and watched a bird glide down from a branch of a nearby apple tree. From his viewpoint he had spotted a nice juicy worm and swooped down, plucked it up and effortlessly flew back to the branch and enjoyed his meal. His work day, I thought, was pretty much over.

I watched my Father work from sun up to sundown every day of his life. The day I observed that bird, I knew that there was an easier way. I knew I had to fly.

Flying is like nothing else. Of course it is nicer when you don’t have two MIGS on your tail shooting the hell out of you. That happened a couple of times too many. But we all have our adventures. I am sure you know that.

When I meet my Annie, I knew I no longer wanted to fly alone. We went flying together. That’s what we called our life. We wanted to see it all. There was no better way to do that than to fly. Every flight hour I spent, Annie was there with me in spirit. She offered so much strength of character. When I was in a fight in the air, I knew exactly how hard to fight because I had to get back to her.

The three days I traveled at 17,500 miles an hour, I carried the memories of our days in the apple orchards together. The military gave me a chest full of medals, but my reward, well, my reward, I received early on in life.

Source

“We are traveling the stars tonight. Annie, we are going home. Copilot me through the heavens, we are shooting for new heights. We hitched our dreams to the wind, and it carried us this far.”

Come Fly With Me - Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra Fly Me To The Moon Live 1965

Frank Sinatra - The Best Is Yet To Come (Original)

John Glenn

July 18, 1921 - December 8, 2016

Annie Glenn

February 17, 1920 -

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    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 months ago from SW England

      What a wonderful tribute, Mike! I love the romantic story and the dream of this young man. The carriage and Nuelle in flight look superb!

      You have such innovative ideas for your writing and the style matches, always making us hold our breath or gasp at the surprises.

      Merry Christmas to you and I hope 2017 is kind to you and yours.

      Ann :)

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 4 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      I loved the entire story, but Johnny's recollection of his inspiration to fly was the best. Thanks for sharing once again.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 months ago from Southern Illinois

      This is such a beautiful story! I wish Annie could read it. Your writing is so visual. I could imagine Johnnie running through the farm fields, watching the birds and hoping to fly someday. The carriage in the shy is magnificent. Frank is my sister Mary's favorite artist. Thank you for sharing this tribute to a true hero..

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 4 months ago from Hereford, AZ

      Another beautiful tribute. I always enjoy these stories so much.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 4 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Ann, The thirty year period of time after WWII in America offered such promise. The Glenn family, is a prominent example of this. Some men are born to fulfill a destiny, and John Glenn is one of those men.

      As for romantic, well, the couple stayed together for seventy-three years. And until death do you part held true.

      Merry Christmas and wishing you and yours a bountiful 2017.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
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      mckbirdbks 4 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Chris, I visited your recent hub. I found it, fact filled as well as enlightening. I appreciate the visit here today.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 4 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Ruby – Thank you. It imitates your tribute to John Glenn. You were quicker. I have learned some tricks with the graphic software, hence the flying carriage. I just had a thought, I could have had TCD pass Santa’s sleigh. As for the tribute, ‘Great minds think alike, is an old saying.’ Merry Christmas.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 4 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Becky - Merry Christmas. So glad that you enjoy these stories. Good to see you here. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
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      mckbirdbks 4 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      If you missed Ruby's tribute, you can find it here.

      javascript:hpLoadLink('article',4972431, '', '')...

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 4 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      What a fitting tribute to John Glenn...and like Ruby, I wish Annie could read this. I think she would so mightily approve.

      And a perfect Frank Sinatra concert as well - icing on the cake.

      Happy Friday, dear Mike. Hugs, mar

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 4 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello mar - John Glenn is an American Icon. There are many like him, the space race is something many Americans agreed upon, and at the time held in high esteem. The Frank Sinatra songs seemed appropriate for the time period of the hay day of the Glenn's fame. Annie and John spent 73 years together that by itself should be worthy of National honor.

      Have a good weekend. Now, that Sha pointed out it is only Friday, (I thought it was Saturday) we have the weekend ahead.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 4 months ago from North America

      It was unforgettable. John Glenn laid in state for 4,000 mourners yesterday for 8 hours. Today through freezing rain, a US Marine marching guard accompanied him 3.5 miles from the State House to the OSU campus and an auditorium across from Senator Glenn's office. His life was memorialized for two hours for many onlookers, including Ethel Kennedy and VP John Biden, who helped Annie to her seat. Boneshakingly sad, yet joyful, also, was the service.

      Did you know that John met Annie when they were toddlers? Later, he promised her that life with him would never be boring. He'll be buried at Arlington ceremony on their 74th wedding anniversary, April 6. I hope they see each other again soon, having spent over 90 years together already.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I had to come back and read this again. I think it is your best. His memorial service was heartfelt....

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 4 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Patty - American iconic heroes seem to me to be in short supply. John Glenn seems to have survived many enterprises that smaller men may have failed. Test pilot, astronaut, and even Senator. (Senator almost got him.)

      I did read a little about John and Annie. Married for 73 years is a testament for sure. We as a country could learn something from the Glenn’s. No surprise he is from your neck of the woods.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 4 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Ruby – Thank you. There was so much material to select from. I appreciate your return for a second read.

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      fpherj48 Paula 4 months ago

      How I love a love story.....(sigh) This is very special, Mike & it leaves me feeling warm & giddy. I am always in awe of love that lasts eternally......awww and using that word, just rang a memory for me that takes my breath away....From the time I was old enough to read (4?) & too young to define some words, I would read the cards my Dad gave to my mother, signed, "Eternally, Eddie." That's all~ one word & his name. The indelible mark on my heart came the day I discovered the meaning of the word, "Eternally."

      You know, this is why your stories are always so special to me, Mike. They have a way of carrying me back~back to a time when life was so sweet, I could fly high with John & Annie........Peace, Paula

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 4 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Your father sounds like a very special man. He learned his lessons well, knew what to hold dear, and passed those traits on to at least one of his children (you). Eternally applies so well to this story in particular, but many in general, whether the road was traveled together, or a period of waiting occurred.

      John and Annie knew the same rules that made for a special time here on this plane. Sounds like it is a trait passed through your family also. That might be why you have such a flock of loyal followers.

      If I haven’t said it already - “Merry Christmas”

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 months ago from Central Florida

      I didn't know this was about John Glenn until the end. You had me captivated through the entire love story, Mike.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 4 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Sha -Yes, for this episode I borrowed from history. John Glenn offered the U.S. a rich history, one which we all can all be proud. Thanks for sticking to these stories. Merry Christmas.

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