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We live in an era of artificial impressions. We are being bombarded by enhanced bass response in sound systems that can be heard through brick walls five blocks away on a dark and stormy night. The dB invasion has attacked us in music, movies, and television to the point of being painful and actually damaging to our physical well-being. Our vision is exposed to impossible characters, creatures, and critters of all sorts moving before us so realistically presented that our senses are operating in a condition of overload. Our imaginations are slowly being pounded into a mass of pulpy numbness by computer-generated images and sounds. The thrill of conjuring mental pictures of monsters, things, and dark night visits from the mysterious shadows of nearby and far away places by ghouls, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, aliens and aunty Millicent has been largely replaced by geeks tinkering with ones and zeroes.
Take back the darkness and chill of the misty night! Take charge of themystery and fantasy within you! Let your spirit rise as the Phoenix from the ashes of your shattered present! Regain the independence that only your imagination can give you! Reestablish your right to form your own visions and sounds! Read! And, by all means, read what follows. It is a great beginning for retrieving your life.
Abe Peterson, a kindly gentlemen in his early nineties--still bright of eye and keen of mind--has a hobby. That it pays a little doesn't take it out of the casual pastime category. He follows the air shows around the country and volunteers his services as a greeter, explainer, and storyteller. He is uniquely qualified for this little task. See, Abe joined what was known as the Army Air Corps back in 1937. He changed uniforms to USAF blue when the new organization was established and stayed with it until they were forced to retire him, much against Abe's will, in 1982. Since then, he's been a permanent fixture at the shows. Just now he's working the show in Wichitaw, Kansas. Come on, let's join the crowd and see what's going on.
"Hi there, folks," he says. "Welcome to the air show. Hope you have a really good time out here today. My name's Abe Peterson and this beautiful red bird I'm standing next to is a P51-D." He pats the fuselage lovingly. "Well, let's say it's a very modified and special P51-D. It's powered by a Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin, sixty degree, V-twelve engine. The same engine that powered it during the Second World War, except it's got a heck of a lot more horsepower today than it did back then."
He walks with an uncertain, bowlegged gate out to the wingtip and lays a brown spotted hand on it. "The wings on this baby have been clipped so's the wingspan's about the same as its length. They shorten the wings to speed up the roll rate--so's it can duck around the pylons in a flash, like this, you see." He holds out his palm, snaps it from the horizontal to the vertical and makes a quick left turn with his hand to demonstrate the idea.