We wear our wings of silver – – –

Jack’s weekly blog post, in which he ponders the power of memories to support friendship.

We had a visit today from a friend who has also been a fairly regular customer. Mike was recently ‘let go’ from his newspaper job and therefore has more time to come into our store. When he arrived our schizophrenic regular was also here and we all ended sitting down together while Mike waited for the cafe to start lunches.

The last time I mentioned our schizoid friend (let’s call him Chas) involved a similar situation, but with a visiting musician buddy (let’s call him Greg, since that’s his real name).

But back to Mike –

Mike and I enjoy a shared passion for model airplanes (or aeroplanes, as I much prefer) – in his case plastic display models and in my case the flying variety. In my misspent youth I built and flew both free-flight and u-control types and couldn’t afford those fancy radio controlled ones (in those days the radio equipment was expensive and so heavy you had to build models that were almost as big as the real thing!). U-control is where you stand in the middle of a circle holding a ‘U’ shaped handle attached by two wires to the model (controlling the elevator, making the model go up or down) while the plane flies round you at anything from 60 to 100 MPH. I suppose I should admit here that Mike’s models tend to survive a great deal longer than mine!

The most recent model I built. A 1912 Nieuport Monoplane. Safely hanging from the bookstore ceiling!

The most recent model I built. A 1912 Nieuport Monoplane. Safely hanging from the bookstore ceiling!

We found that special ‘sweet spot’ of conversation when two followers of strange pastimes dive together into that pool of shared enthusiasm. Mike extolled the virtues of different brands of plastic kits while I recounted how I’d re-discovered flying models just 10 years ago. I described my wonderment at miniaturized multi-channel radio equipment and the move from oily, smelly engines to electric motors. We waxed eloquently about Spitfires, Lancasters, Seamews and Hurricanes, as well as Mike’s predilection for the ancestors of the Hurricane – Hawker’s classic biplanes of the 1930s, the Hart, Hind etc.


As we went at it, I suddenly noticed that Chas was sitting like a spectator at a tennis match – head moving back and forward and a look of complete contentment on his face!


Two friends could lose themselves for an hour in a warm fuzzy place and Chas once again felt included.

How cool is that?

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