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￭ in return for your navy blue shirt
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2004-11-16 | |
THE AIRPLANE CUB
It was our first Aeronautical course and we ; the novices âknowing everythingâ about all flying objects ; felt very important.
Our first professor was FISH (his nickname was running so long in the University, that nobody knew any more his real name).
Fish was a rather small man , with large blue eyes behind the black-framed glasses which gave him a much too serious appearance.
He was easily excited especially when it came to airplanes.
Fishâs words still haunt my memory:
âIf you want to learn about planes you must do it by heart!
âImagine the plane; as a big fish!â
and Fish, with a large gesture drew a vertical line in the middle of the blackboard.
âThere are so many similarities between the fishes and planesâ
he continued writing on the blackboard âŚ
âFood system here - fuel system here; blood system here hydraulic system hereâŚ Here is the heart of the fish , here the engine âŚ â
âDoes the plane give birth to small planes or is it multiplying by roe? â somebody make fun in auditorium.
The professorâs passion for planes and fishes was well known in the University. Each generation of students adds something to this folklore.
Some years ago, the professor was presented by an aquarium with a gold fish. On the aquariumâs side was noted:
âWhen Iâll grow Iâll be an AIRPLANEâ.
A few years later (another generation of students) attached to aquarium a miniature airplane model with a note
âTHE PERFECT MATCH!â
Now remembering those days I am quite sure that Fish was â the perfect match â to that serious , precise but so cold Aeronautical Institute.
Verging on the ridiculous, he managed to implant in each of us, a passion for planes; a passion for flying.
When, a few years later I heard about his retirement I felt sad for all the students who will miss the ardor of his lessons.
I went to that AIR SHOW not too determined. Actually the trip to Paris seamed more attractive that the show itself. I rescued Fish from a firmâs representative who proudly explained how the rocket of âHIS FIRMâ may destroy half of mankind in half of a second earlier than the concurrenceâs rocket.
âOho! My favorite student, prettier than ever!â
A few minutes later, sitting by a cup of coffee, in a rather empty cafeteria he started:
âNow you must tell me all about you!â
I started to enumerate all my achievements: my slow but sure climb on the leadership ladder in the Institute which was considered âthe pride of entire Europeâ , about my chic apartment, about my car âŚ
Fishâs face seamed bored.
âSomethingâs wrong? â
âItâs all wrong; oh pardonâŚ I have no rightâŚâ
âBut you have! â I urged him to continue.
âWell, how shall I put it ; you see every human being was born with a gift, a unique and very special present .It is very difficult to discover whatâs yours, but , each of us sooner or later âŚâ
âOr maybe never!â I murmuredâŚ
âYes maybe never, but if you will not try; you will never know! â
Fish went silent for a while.
âYou see, this discussion reminds me about my long conversations
with Saint-Exupery at âthe edge of the skyâ as he used to say âŚâ
âYou! You met Saint-Exupery !â I jumped by excitementâŚ
Saint-Exupery was my favorite author and it was HE who influenced me to choose a profession in the aeronautical field. I felt tears in my eyes.
âPlease, please, tell me more about him!â
âWe worked for a while in the same hangarâ Fish continued âŚ
âBy night sitting by the fire, we have long discussions about planes, birds, constellations, and also about the light of small villages so difficult to trace (we need them as a prove that we hold the right route), and then, they were only a few, not as we have nowâŚâ
Suddenly, I remembered: âhalf of mankind in half of a secondâ and shivered.
âThe life was so simple then, the people, the relations âŚ later I found many themes from our discussions in his CITADEL .
It was Saint-Exuppery who told me that IMPOSSIBLE is only a word in the dictionary and afterwardsâŚâ
Fish paused again.
âWhere we were? Oh yes with each oneâs gift. You see, I discovered mine through the lessons from the Polytechnics, there were so boring so dull, so far away from the airplaneâs worldâŚâ
If I kissed him on his cheeks there, in the cafeteria, I donât remember, I only remember that I wanted to.
What course would my life have taken if I would have not met Fish at that show?
No, this date, probable appear somewhere in celestial constellation.
Shortly afterwards, a small announcement from the board, in our
Institute, caught my attention:
âMAINTENANCE ENGINEER REQUIRED FOR THE NORTHERN AIRPORTS IN NORWAY â
Not in my entire life could I receive, the bonuses which my boss was ready to give me, only if I would renounce to my âsuicidal ideaâ.
In less than a month I was in HAMMERFEST. It was extremely cold, I spoke no Norwegian but it was a challenge.
I was in charge of supervising the airports of BODO, HONNINGSVAG, KABELVAG and ALTA but, my residence was in HAMMERFEST. I choose to live in a small hotel, not far from the Norwegian See. The Northern Environmental Research team was living at the same hotel, and from the very beginning we became good friends.
For the first time in my entire life I felt really happy, free from all social restrains free to be myself.
In no time I manage to communicate with the maintenance team in a funny English-Norwegian-by-hands language,
I never new too much about animals but now through my new friends I started to enjoy watching them and even play with a small polar bear who was receiving some treatment due to a small injury. At one of our evening meals, feeling sorry after finding out that we had had a rabbit, they gave me his tail .
âIt will bring you good luck!â
One evening returning very tired to HAMMERFEST I couldnât stop thinking to the warm fireplace âŚIn my mind, I actually could hear the cracking of birch-tree logsâŚ and dreamed of putting the wool socks on my frozen legs. I was returning from BODO where the Red cross plane was undergoing an important repairs and my presence was absolutely necessary there.
There was nobody in the hotelâs lobby. On my door a big announcement was waiting âŚ
âWe are on the beach, the whales come ashore Regards, Rogerâ.
My tiredness disappeared; running on the beach I saw several huge whales and by them all the Research Team along with other people trying desperately to push them back into the water. One of the whales was hideously huge.
âSheâs pregnant and, she must give birth any minute; we may lose them both! â
The big eye of the whale was opened and she was locking at me as asking for help âŚ Suddenly, I remembered that the maintenance team was still at work and I started to run faster, and more faster, feeling all the time the pregnant whaleâs eye upon me âŚ
The Red Cross plane was still there and wanting to explain as fast as I couldâŚ Why the words disappear exactly when you need them most ?
Luckily Patrick the pilot was a clever man, elsewhereâŚ
âClimb in, by meâ and the engine started immediately to run after all the maintenance crew was inside.
We flew over the whales searching for a place to landâŚ
It was already morning when all the whales were into the sea.
Among them, a smaller stream of water emergedâŚ Yes, the cub was born . Suddenly the Fishâs face appeared in front of my eyes. Yes, he was right, actually, the little creature out there in the ocean was somehow THE AEROPLANE CUB.
Sonja D. Szimon
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