Visitations & Homecomings

IMG_9137Donna’s sister Robin stayed with us last week, along with her friend and running companion Mary (photo: Mary on the left, Robin by my side). They came to escape Michigan’s harsh winter, visit, see the sights, and run a half-marathon. The run is an annual event and I won’t be surprised if they come back to do it again. They kept Donna busy … happy busy, I mean … but now we’re settling back into normalcy. Not for long, though!

Last October a former squadronmate and friend told us he’d motor out our way in late February. Dick, widowed a few years ago and recently remarried, wants us to meet Carolyn, his new wife. They, like our recent visitors Bill and Terri, are RVers and have been traveling around the country as Dick gathers material for a new novel (yes, he’s a writer, and a good one).

Donna and I had completely forgotten Dick and Carolyn were scheduled to arrive … my fault for not putting it on our calendar. But Dick emailed last night to tell us he’s down with a cold and doesn’t think he should be driving right now, so their visit’s on hold. They’ll reschedule, and this time I’ll put it on our calendar. I don’t think it’ll be a long slip.

Curiously, we have another old squadronmate and friend, ditto widowed and remarried, now touring the Southwest in an RV. A few months back he too announced plans to swing by Tucson and introduce us to his new wife. No set date, but I expect it’ll be soon. This friend’s named Al, and won’t it be something if Dick and Al’s visits overlap? Dick, Al, and I were stationed in the Netherlands together. Dick was our squadron electronic warfare officer and flew with me on many occasions; Al was our judge advocate general.

Oh, and did I mention our son will be down here on business in mid-March? I think we’ll leave the inflatable bed in the living room for now.

Over the weekend I posted comments to Twitter* on the F-15 Eagle’s speed (actual versus claimed). An aviation and defense journalist contacted me with questions, which I answered. On Monday, we both published on the subject. My post was better than it would have been otherwise because his questions improved my thinking; his article quoted me (and a couple of other former Eagle drivers) extensively.

*I still call it Twitter, what with Elon Musk’s new name for the site, X, being half a swastika and all. Ha ha, just kidding, Elon! (I’m not kidding)

Collaborating on research and writing projects, not just shooting the shit, is what Twitter used to be good for and apparently still is, despite Musk’s depredations. When I left Twitter last October I deleted my old account; now that I’m back I’m laboring to re-establish contact with the aviation and defense communities I was once part of. Those communities, populated by experts and journalists, stayed put on Twitter and didn’t migrate to other social media platforms like Mastodon, Threads, and Bluesky, which explains why I felt isolated and alone on them. Now back on Twitter, I feel at home again. Sure, there are more racists and anti-Semites about than before, but so far it’s been easy to block them when they pop up in my feed.

So yeah, I’m back on Twitter baby! Shit on Twitter if that’s your thing (and I’m talking to you, Rick), but it’s been good to me. As for the other platforms, I’m starting to see some value in Mastodon and will stay active there (maybe a little less so than on Twitter), but Threads and Bluesky do nothing for me and I’ll probably close those accounts soon. My re-established Twitter account, by the way, is @PWoodford.

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