Monday, July 7, 2008

John Mildon...Everyone's Friend

My friend, everyone’s friend, John Mildon passed away last night. He is known in local flying circles as the “curmudgeon”, but don’t let that word fool you. John was a gifted pilot, writer, and a skilled craftsman. John had the vision to see how things should be, and his incredible wit always brought a smile.

Since I met John about two and a half years ago I have always known him to be a straight shooter; he always told it like it is. I overheard a conversation he was having with another pilot at the airport. John related how good the conditions were for soaring that day. When asked why he came down John replied, “I had to pee.”

I told John that I was having some difficulties with another pilot who was critical of my flying. Before I could finish he said, “Who the h___ is he?” I tried to continue my story of how I had a long phone conversation with this person. “That was your first mistake”, he said. Trying to regroup I said that I followed up the phone call with a very long e-mail. To which he said, “That was your second mistake.”

As I was getting ready to fly my plane I sat in the cockpit fiddling with the flight computer. My friend, Dan Thirkill was watching as I fumbled through the screens. Then he said, “If John were here he would say to just fly the #$%^ plane.”

John told me how my wife is such a sweetheart. When I would visit him in the hospital he would always ask where Peggy was. I said, “John, I think you like my wife more than you like me.” With a laugh he said, “Of course I like Peggy more than I like you!”

John preferred a personal visit and a handshake rather than a phone call. He didn’t like e-mail but liked letters because you could hold it in your hand. He didn’t like cluttered instrument panels filled with gadgets, just the basic instruments. I think we all could learn something from him.

John, I’m going to miss you.

1 comment:

Tobi said...

Sorry that lost a good friend. He sounds like a pistol. It sounds like you really appreciated him while you had him. Good for you.