13 March, 2022

Profile 160: "269" - McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II as flown by "Andy" Anderson and Wade "Mom" Hubbard

"I sure love/hate the governor..."

"We went to Mount Rushmore once. My little brother/sister got carsick..."

"Watched Fargo!  Great movie!"

And of course (paraphrasing 99.97% of all graduating high school seniors) "I can't wait to leave."

Welcome to South Dakota!

Here.  Have a sign.  It's free.  Which is a good way to get to meet South Dakotans — offer free stuff.  Why?  Because, South Dakotans are simple folk, working the land, hoping that something to eat will come out of it (after the thaw) and making clothes out of grocery sacks...

Ah, just kiddin'.  But there is a point here.  

* break break *

Have a look at the F-4E Phantom II on top.  It's the opening sketch of an illustration that will soon be distributed (for free, btw) to school kids in South Dakota.   And better yet, it'll also be made into a little flingable model airplane (something to do when Tornado & Locust Season comes and families will be hunkered in the cellar).

Want one?  Of course you do.  Building paper F-4E Phantoms is satisfying and good.  And maybe I can hook you up.  But in the meantime, back to the point I'm trying to make.

Meet Wade Hubbard, you've never heard of him.  He lives a quiet life in South Dakota; pretty much the lifestyle of  everyone in South Dakota.

Ok.  Now you can have a look below.  It's the finished F-4E - specifically, "229".  From what Wade tells me, it was an extraordinary bird; Wade was a WSO (Weapon Systems Officer) and even sometimes co-pilot (the USAF had joysticks in the backseat while the Navy/Marines did not) on 229 on more than a few occasions.  

But back to the "point."   I can't really get into Wade's story right now — I will later.  But, for the moment,  his is yet another example how remarkable people surround us, often without any indication whatsoever.  Though I've been privileged to have met some extraordinary 'celebrities' of 20th Century history, the reality of life's "reality" is bound in the ordinary folk.   

I'm beginning to think that our fascination with celebrities, entertainment — "personal branding" if you will — is a terrible delusion.  As a native Dakotan, oft frustrated by certain Lack, I'm appreciating more and more the value of the Ordinary; the ordinary commitment to live one's life as fully as possible, without the need to measure it by clicks of the mouse, camera or net worth.

Ironically, Wade will soon be honored far beyond he ever imagined.  

Want to come to South Dakota?  Make plans 9-15 May... maybe you can meet Wade.  Let me know — we South Dakotans tend to be friendly (we'll share the casserole, but if you like spicy, bring your own ketchup).