Francis Meyrick

Of Helicopters and Humans (32) – A Mental Midget – “Moggy on Parade “

Posted on August 24, 2014

Of Helicopters and Humans- A Mental Midget

Part 3: Moggy on Parade

If you remember, when we were bratty kids, like, last week or so, we at some stage discovered a funny drawing. Every healthy kid does it at some stage. Kind of a rite of passage. If you never drew something like this, you were either raised in a convent, whooped soundly (for your own good) all your young years by the Brothers of Mercy, or you simply were already into dolls. Most of us little bastards proudly painted something like this on at least a half dozen toilet doors. Here you go.

I found that on, by the way. You find all sorts of enlightening, mind broadening stuff there. How about this? I’m just saying…

Now I wouldn’t have thought it, but Life was dead set on many occasions to make me feel just like the dude peering over that wall. Hiding, mostly, with bulging eyes, horrified, wondering what in heck’s name… I’d just gone and done NOW. Like my wife asks: “How do you MANAGE it??” I always shrug my shoulders, helplessly. Why me? I-don’t-know.
It just… kind of happens.

Thus we were flying along quite happily, on a beautiful -windless- Arizona early morning, me and two Patrol Sergeants. In an OH58 helicopter. We had successfully completed a Law Enforcement Mission, and we were on our way home. One of the Sergeants, well respected, big tough cop, remarked that we were not far from his parents’ house, and could we take a detour? Sure… no problem. A few minutes later, as we banked overhead the remote homestead, he was busy extolling Mama’s Apple Pies. Apparently there was nothing in the world that compared to Mama’s home baked Apple Pies with whipped cream. We all started licking our lips, and feeling this terrible hankering for Apple Pie. From that state of digestive juices flowing, it was a small step to the suggestion that we should actually go land, and say “Hi!” to Mama, and maybe, just maybe, coincidentally, a minor issue, not the motivating factor at all, we MIGHT just… get some Apple Pie.
Soon we were on final approach. I noticed Mama had her washing out on the line. “Look!”, I said, wisely, “we’d better land away a bit so we don’t blow dust over her washing!” Everybody agreed that this was a very fine observation, denoted great Moggy Airmanship and skill, and was most definitely the right and proper thing to do. So… I landed quite a bit away. Really, quite a bit.


The sand there was really, really fine. And really, really dry. Underneath. And I have this theory that the overnight moisture kind of forms a very thin cake layer on top. Kind of holds it together. You won’t believe me, I swear, until you go through this experience yourself one day. But then you’ll think back to this story, and you’ll say: “Damn! That old bugger was right…!” What happens is that all is fine and dandy, never a worry, Murray, as you descend down through four feet or so. Barely a dust particle bothers to rise to meet you. Then, all of a sudden… I think your downwash finally busts through that thin cake topping, and suddenly these rolling waves of brown dust spread out in low, concentric circles, faster and faster. With no wind at all, it was truly awesome to see the waves stay LOW, and just race… straight for Mama’s clean washing, hanging out to dry.
I wish I’d had a tape recorder. The Intercom was… well, total terror would be a fair description.
“Oh! NO-NO-NO…!”
We were that low it seemed better just to set her down, flat pitch, roll throttle off, and just hope…
Mama’s gonna have to re-do her washing. Kind of a nice, soft brown color though? Maybe she might like it? Nope. Guess what, who is that, striding out the door, fit to be tied, BROOM in hand? Marching straight for the helicopter, mad as hell, waving the broom ominously!!??
What, you’re gonna beat us with that thing…!?
No, we didn’t get any apple pie. WE DID NOT GET ANY APPLE PIE. Zip. Nada. I got a coffee I think. And one hell of a longggg lecture from Mama. Three grown men, all sitting sheepish as hell, naughty schoolboy style, staring awkwardly at the floor, whilst Mama… expressed her feelings. I’d never quite seen that expression on the tough old Sergeant’s face. Kind of… juvenile guilt. Caught peeing on the rose bush. Wishing SO MUCH it was over. Sorry. Very, very, very sorry. We’ll NEVER, ever do it again. HONEST.
Not quite… the triumphant arrival at Mama’s house we had planned on…

* * * * *

But the Colorful Carrousel of Life keeps spinning around, faster and faster. Older and wiser, and highly professional, and upholding the image of the Sherriff’s Office, I soon put this total Apple Pie Schmorgasbord behind me, and moved on to better things and greater Glory. The day of the Great Annual Parade was drawing near. Ah-hah! Big deal. Gargantuan. Century old Arizona Tradition. Floats, marching bands, speeches, bicyles, men on horses, women on horses, kids on horses, even a Cocker Spaniel (all dressed up) riding a pony, people waving, people cheering, drums beating, all good. Goodwill to all men. Proud parents. Press. Photographers. Clap-clap-clap. CHEERS. All good.
The Sheriff called me. Ever the elected politician and Showman, he told me he wanted the helicopter in the parade, of course, but he wanted it done in a special manner. On a pre-arranged signal, just as the main body of the Parade was about to pass the steps of the reviewing stand, and all the dignitaries there were standing to attention, and at the very peak of the entire Parade, he wanted the helicopter to zoom in low, “nice and low and fast” is actually what he ordered. Oh, and be sure to “set off the siren as you pass us”.
I loved my siren. Better even than that black rubber ball squeeze claxon on my little red tricycle I drove the neighbors crazy with. Loud and impressive. Any excuse. Can do. Will do. Yes, Sir.


I shiver at the memory. Even now. All these years later. Remember the dude peering furtively over the wall? Well, dammit, I was just obeying orders. Sure, here comes the helicopter. Low and fast as ordered. Along the main body of the parade. Perfect timing. Just as they are all passing the review stand. I see everybody looking up. The Sheriff, the Mayor, the local dignitaries, the Press, the good townsfolk, Uncle Billy, Aunt Susie, cousin Henrietta…
And I set off the siren.

Have you ANY idea… what that sudden siren BLARING DOWN from the sky does to an orderly parade of sixteen dozen perfectly behaved horses? No? WELL I DO! I know EXACTLY. I can describe it you in glorious, three-D TECHNICOLOR. Bird’s eye view. Fukme, I do. Holy cow… Talk about bucking broncos. Adults and kids (and one Cocker Spaniel, wearing a Cowboy hat) landing unexpectedly on their butts. Parents mad. Organizers mad. Absolute pandemonium. Chaos. A million cop radios blasting into my headsets:
How in heck do I always MANAGE this shit!?
So… that dude peering over the wall? That was me, hiding behind the instrument panel, peering down in horror at what I’d just achieved. Me, and nobody else. Eyes bulging.

Just like the doodle we wrote as kids on all those toilet doors.

Francis Meyrick


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