When I met Scott, a few weeks ago, he was reading “The Great Gatsby”, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. That isn’t a book you see people reading, very often. Our tables were next to each other, at a local coffee shop in Arvada, Colorado. I asked him what he thought of the book, so far. He told me that he’d read it before, but decided to read it again, to see how age might have changed his perceptions. We talked about that, and I bought him a free refill.
In the course of our conversation, he told me a bittersweet story. It seems that, in 1986, he’d met the love of his life, and missed it.
After he got out of the Navy, he’d gone back home, to Minnesota, where his family was. He’d taken a couple of jobs there, but didn’t feel like it was time to settle down. A road trip seemed like a good idea, so he packed his things into a 1979 Chevy van, and started driving. Winding up in Alaska, he fell in love with the place and decided to stay. Before long, he got a gig flying people around on sight seeing and fishing tours. That’s where he met her.
She was a bit younger, brunette, and funny. When he found out that she was from Minneapolis, he had her sit up front with him, leaving her brother to sit behind. They got on very well, and he didn’t want to let it end. Although he had another tour scheduled that afternoon, he decided to cancel it (equipment problems), and put the plane down on a lake (I don’t remember which).
The three of them sat on the pontoons, talking and laughing, then moved to the shore. Her brother even seemed to like him. At the end of the day, they’d promised to get back in touch. He knew that he’d be going back to the Cities, now and then; so, they could meet up and get to know each other better.
You know how this ends. Several months passed, and he did go back to Minnesota, trying to let her know before he made the trip. The unfortunate truth was that the contact information that he had, from her tour, was out of date. Apparently, she had changed apartments and didn’t think to let him know. After all, that Alaskan pilot from last year, isn’t somebody you automatically put on your list. So, now, he just had a nice memory of a day on the lake with a girl who might have been The One.
He stayed in Alaska for a few more years, did some more traveling, and finally stayed here in Colorado. While he loves Alaska, the winters were more than he wanted to deal with, and he has his own plane now, so he can visit whenever he wants.
Thanks for the story, Scott.