My uncle James was a one of a kind, he could do just about anything. When I was young, he would bring my mother wooden things he had made and I would look at them in total amazement and wish that I possessed his talent. I will always remember when he took me flying. I was young and he let me fly the plane all by myself. He even let me chase ducks! How cool was that! going up, down, right and left, he keep saying just chase them don't hit them. If I would get too close he would say "Don't make me hit the brakes". Little did I know air planes don't have brakes. Then when I was older uncle James came over and he had bought a motorcycle. He was showing it to me and asked if I knew how to ride one of these things. I said "of course". He said "Well teach me, I have to ride it back home". I looked at him and said, "To Wisconsin?" He replied with a smirk, "Yeah" thats right. He had flown a plane to Denver to deliver it to someone and was walking to my parents home from Stapleton Airport. Whoa what a walk! While walking up Alameda, he spotted Fay Meyers Motorcycle shop. He went inside and was looking around when a salesman came up to him and asked "Can I help you?" My uncle asked which one is the fastest of the used bikes. The salesman said the Kawasaki is. So they worked out a price, my uncle bought it, then James asked the salesman, "So how do you drive one of these things"? The salesman turned white and said, "You don't know how to ride"? My uncle said "Just show me the basics" and he made it to my parents home with the bike, so I showed him how to ride the thing and he practiced for two or three days. He bought a one man tent, a poncho and some odds and ends, then took off for home. I knew he would make it, he could do anything!
Then my youngest son sort of taught himself to fly an ultra lite airplane. It was just a nylon and tube frame deathtrap, but it flew in the air and he put in a lot of hours flying the thing. My uncle came out on a vacation and we all went out to the airport. James boasted, "I bet I can fly it after watching Jason fly it". So James strapped himself in and took off. No one was worried, because we all knew that James could fly anything! Then James did something that no one had ever seen in an ultra lite! At about 100 ft in the air James made about a 110 degree turn, brought it down and landed it pretty well since he had never flown an ultra lite before, and I knew he just about crapped his pants! He got out and said, "They don't fly like a real plane".
James said if my son Jason wanted to learn to fly right he needs to go to a real school, and suggested the school in Rangley, Co. James said he helped start the school's aviation program up there, he made some phone calls, and Jason was in and had a scholarship award. That's clout! I knew James was watching Jason's progress closely and was very proud of him, as were Renae and I. Jason graduated at the top of his class.
I have always been proud of James. More than he will ever know, the more I got to know him, the more fascinating he had become. All of his accomplishments and skills are to be admired. I will always remember him and miss him dearly. He was truly one of a kind, and he was and will always be my Uncle James.