Don't just suggest it.........................DO IT!
Tony Oliver ~ A visitor from the UK to the USA ~ Dickie Valentine
It was a much anticipated visit by my great friend and old band colleague (CinC Nav Home Command) Tony Oliver and I'm proud and graciously enthused to say that he made the trip across the 'pond' in luxury both ways.
For many weeks I had listed Tony on one of our London to USA hub flights but it was only at the last minute that I chose for him to attempt the trip to Washington, as we had previously arranged to have him fly to Chicago where we also have a mutual friend who works and lives in the vicinity. Sadly, that was not to be but it was a good move for us to change tack' and try for Washington.
Using our mobile phones, we continued to correspond (by the 'whatsapp' text service) literally up until the last minute before the main cabin door closed on his aircraft, a Boeing 777-200 and firmly ensconced in his seat (1C) it was hard to reconcile just how lucky he had found himself to be in that class of service, considering that the remainder of both First and Business were full! Not a spare seat in the house.
Tony made the transition from the inbound to Washington to the outbound to Albany NY in ample time with no delay and in actual of fact arrived in ALB (NY) early evening that day. You can only imagine the looks on our faces and the sheer joy of meeting up on my turf after his journey's beginning mid morning UK time that day. There are 5 hours that separate the Eastern USA with UK. You can imagine that Tony's body clock was actually at 11pm upon arrival but in fact local time was 6pm. I know that he got some sleep en-route from the UK after enjoying a dinner shortly after his departure from Heathrow.
Typically (as you can only imagine) we sought to get a welcome drink and catch up with his trip and other matters that we discussed avidly having visited several watering holes nearby the arrival airport. Never finding anything to our liking as far as venue was concerned, we non the less enjoyed ample refreshment before deciding that it was time to get our heads down and be refreshed for what ever the next two days were going to turn out to be. I can assure you that it was full of incident, interest and coincidence throughout and the weekend proved to be one for the memory and I'm positive that speaking for both of us, it was one of the most exciting and thought provoking meetings we have ever encountered.
Saturday morning and after a little breakfast we made off to do a little shopping (golf shirts for Tony) and eventually met up with friends from my work place (UNITED AIRLINES) whereupon we made our way north to the 'Rusty Nail' (pub), a favorite watering hole of my friends who are all golfers and frequent the establishment on a fair - way - ly regular basis (lol).
As you can see, we are all having a terrible time with laughter and cajoling each other as complex cousins from all corners of the world. The mixture of our inheritance and cultural backgrounds is refreshing to contemplate. We all spent several hours in each others company finding it very hard to eventually go our separate ways.
and I had gotten a ride (lift) with Gary and Kathy so we did not have
to drive after a few drinks and on the pretence that we would get a cab
(taxi) back to our digs. What happened next is part of the reason how
and why the remainder of the weekend became all the more interesting if
The following morning we went out to a diner (yes....a diner) for a lovely cooked breakfast so as to get Tony well fed before a long day that was before him and the trepidation of waiting for a seat at the airport. Myself knowing that it was going to be a tough call, we were pleasantly surprised when he was called up to the podium for his seat assignment and I was then confident that as long as he got to Washington, he was going to get a seat no matter what on the international flight back to Heathrow. As he left the gate, I made a phone call to Deal to let his family know that he was on his way.
To close this epic weekend's story, I can only record my joy and my gratitude not just because you visited me Tony, but that you also got a comfortable class of service on your return flight. We deserve a little luck now and then in this life. I can say that this goes down in my life's scrap book as one of the most memorable times shared with a great friend.
Thank you for visiting and we'll see each other I do hope at our coming reunion with the rest of our ex RMB family.