Saturday, April 01, 2006



The cross-winds were ferocious and driving rain peppered the windshield audibly, as Flash Gordon Jr. fought the controls hard to keep the Thunder Chief on course and out of danger. The flight path seemed pre-destined and Flash found little control as the massive machine hummed, ever forward, toward the unknown of the dark horizon. Guided only by the staccato white line that mysteriously appeared from the darkness, about 35 yards ahead, Flash concentrated on the shiny craft’s projected image out ahead of him. The front of the craft was a fearsome sight to its enemies, with its glowing orange nose-cone, shaped in the likeness of a fearless Indian chief’s head. The chief’s long crystal hair swept back and metamorphosed into aerodynamic silver wings that pierced and maneuvered in the cold night air.

Home, home, was the mission’s compelling march word. He had to get the craft home, and much more than this, he had to get Dale there safely!

I often pretended to be Flash Gordon as I flew the shiny hood-ornament from the back seat of my Dad’s ‘55 Pontiac Star Chief on long trips, and fiercely protected a pillow propped against my back, as I fought off all kinds of evil aliens. The pillow was Dale, Flash's beautiful girlfriend, and just as real to me. The game always ended with me hugging Dale.

Isn’t life a little like this? We’re traveling along, with our own grand plan in mind, with our hands on the controls, but we can’t quite direct it where we want it to go. Things spring up out of the darkness unexpectedly, and we react to them, but hard as we try, a stronger hand is keeping us headed in a specific direction.

As I, Flash Jr., piloted the Thunder Chief, I often made imaginary course changes to avoid my enemies and the hail of bullets that rained down on it, but my Dad had the real control and the car never altered its direction. The car followed the marked path to a predetermined destination. We always arrived safe and happy the trip was over.

After hugging Dale, she usually magically returned to her alter state - a fluffy pillow - and I stretched out on the back seat and was soon lulled to sleep by the humming of bias-ply tires and the roar of the Pontiac’s rear-end. I was safe and warm under my quilt, with the sounds of the Grand ‘Ole Opry coming softly to our AM radio from WSM in Nashville. I was secure in the fact that Mom and Dad were awake and vigilant. They would let me know if any of my enemies approached the craft as I slept.

Oh, to be young again, and be that carefree to sleep that soundly again. Why do I let life’s little unimportant problems keep me awake and restless? Why can’t I remember the lesson learned in that back seat? There is always someone awake and watching - always truly in control and directing life’s craft to its final distention - always choosing the best course to teach the necessary lesson required to reach the next level of experience.

Even today, I sleep with a quilt pulled up around my neck, summer or winter. I don’t like the room quiet - there has to be some sound, and the closer to a hum and roar the better. I got some of my best sleep in the back seat of that ‘55 Pontiac. There are times when I can put all the worries of the day out of my mind, and again imagine I’ve just finished my tour on the bridge of the Thunder Chief, and have just laid down for a quick nap before returning to the bridge to command him again. I lay back, pull Dale close against my face and the quilt up around my neck, and listen for soft murmuring voices that let me know someone is keeping watch from the front seat.

My Dad is gone now and not directing my life, but there are bigger hands on the wheel and He has my complete trust. He knows the course well. He knows the final destination, and He has set the best course. He is in the front seat of my life, flying the Thunder Chief.


Star said...

I'm gonna follow you through these postings.. I like what I've read so far. I too, wish I was young again - in some ways, but not in all!
Best wishes, Star
from Knoxville and London

Mushy said...

This just might be my favorite post. I still get emotional reading it.