Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The day was clear and beautiful. Visibility was endless with the hum of the Cessna's engine making my eyelids heavy. I don't know who the pilot was or what we were even looking for. Off to my left I spot a slight glimmer from the ground about a mile from our location. I point it out to the faceless pilot and we bank and descend slowly circling a small aircraft which laid upon the flat brown prairie at the edge of a small ravine. It resembled a child's toy that had been stepped on by a carless passerby. Next to the aircraft, stood two people, waiving to us. I don't know who the woman was but the tall man in the gold sport coat was without a doubt, Mr. Robert Fields. I smiled when I recognized him, the pilot of my aircraft tipped the wings back and forth, then without ceremony, I woke from the dream. How odd this was to dream of a person from such a long time ago. Mr. Fields was a prominent teacher in the Libby school system but one that I actually never had as a teacher. My memories of Mr. Fields were limited to one single morning during what was called Mini Week, while I was in High School in 1970. Mini week consisted of activities other than the boring school routine and in my case, I had signed up for my first ride in an airplane. The pilot was Mr. Fields, the same man who 30 plus years later, I would dream of as being one of two survivors of an apparent plane crash. The dream struck me funny but it did not warrant deep pondering until I went online the next day and brought up my hometown newspaper, The Western News. This is something I still do to check the status of my little hometown. I think we all have a tendency to check the obituaries to make sure we are not in them. As I began to look through the short list of the deceased, a chill ran down my spine and I will admit my eyes began to tear up a bit. Staring at me from the screen was an oversize photo of the man that had given me my first plane ride and who the night before had sent me a message. According to the obituary, he had died from the effects of Alzheimer's while in a nursing home. It would be interesting to get other peoples perspective of the circumstances surrounding this dream and the obituary entry the next day. It is difficult for me to write this off as "Just One of Those Things." For whatever the reason he decided to send me a message after his passing, I was thankful then and I am thankful now. On a side note, I hope he wasn't giving me a heads up on how my life might end. I do a lot of flying, but I suppose that if I were seated in an aircraft that was headed toward its demise, I would be perhaps a bit more relaxed because of the vision of Mr. Fields wave signaling that everything is ok. Thank you Mr. Fields, until we cross paths again.