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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bart Who?

Tuesday of last week, I was in NOLA for a doctor's appointment. Lithus was still in Richfield, finishing up his tour. That evening, when we talked, he said "oh, a bit of sadness today." Which I know translates into "there's been an incident and someone we know ~ crew, pilot, mechanic ~ has been seriously hurt or killed." And it went like this:

Lithus: A bit of sadness today.
Pobble: Oh no, who?
Lithus: Bart was killed.
Pobble: Bart who?
Lithus: Bart
Pobble: Not Bart. Not Bart Bart.
Lithus: Our Bart.
Pobble: No, not Bart Bart. Not our Bart.
Lithus: Our Bart. Bart Bart.

Because, see, Bart is Lithus' best friend. I've known about Bart as long as I've known about Lithus. Bart has always been there. Bart will always be there. Bart and Lithus are the old school guys. Everyone else is retired ~ or dead. Bart doesn't die. Bart and his fiancee and Lithus and I, we get old together. We sit on a porch, looking out over the ocean, and she and I roll our eyes while they are old curmudgeons together. Other pilots, other crew, they die. Not Bart. And yet...

His funeral was today. Oh, there's a huge service out in Montana later this month. Over 200 people are expected. But his funeral, the one with his mom and his sisters and his family, was today. When I emailed his sister, asking for information about the service, I identified myself as Lithus' wife. She was so relieved to hear from me. They had been trying to figure out how to get in touch with him; they had been looking for him.

If Lithus ever found himself in a third world country with no out, he would have called Bart. If Bart ever needed someone to have his back, he would have called Lithus. We left New Orleans yesterday morning and made a long pull ~ 12.5 hours ~ to get to Lithus to Bart's back, one last time.

"You're Lithus. I thought you must be. You were his best friend throughout life."
"You were one of his passwords: 'Who is your best friend?' And his answer was Lithus. You should know that. Do you know that?"
"He loved you. He loved you for such a long time."

There is no way to wrap this up. Our friend is dead. The never-agains stretch out in front of us. But the memories...they stretch out, too. And there are so many of those. Fair winds, and a true compass, Bart.



Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.

5 comments:

Mike Christie said...

My condolences. When I was a youngster in the late 1950's, one of my favorite TV shows was Whirlybirds. I loved how the team of two would throw on their sunglasses and jump into the helicopter at a moment's notice to fix whatever needed fixing. It glamorized the profession. What I have learned from reading your blog, Boston Pobble, it is that it is a very dangerous profession.

Please indulge me, in my Episcopal mindset, and allow me to say, Rest in peace and rise in glory, Bart.

Dennis R. Upkins said...

keeping you both in my thoughts and prayers.

Lori Stewart said...

I am thinking of you contantly. Constantly. Love you both.

Bill Dameron said...

I am so, so sorry. This brought tears to my eyes. There is nothing I can say, but what you have written expresses the gratitude and love for Bart. I'm sure he would have appreciated that.

BostonPobble said...

Mike ~ It can be glamorous. It is more often quite mundane. And yes, dangerous. But don't discount the glamour completely. ;) As for the Episcopalian slant, any true expression of good will is always welcome, no worries.

Dennis R Upkins ~ Thank you.

Lori ~ Love you back.

Bill ~ Thank you. I hope he would've liked it. Hell, I know he would have. And sometimes, the right thing to say is "there is nothing I can say" so thanks for doing just that.