Friday, June 25, 2010

Extraordinary People

Johnny Miller died two years ago around this time. He was 102. He was one of those men who feared nothing and did everything. He taught himself to fly in a World War One surplus Jenny. He did so by reading a book. Extraordinary!

He was born just two years after the Wright Brothers flew their historic flight.

Miller had an extraordinary life in aviation. He was proficient in Gyroplanes and many other aircraft culminating as a captain for Eastern Airlines flying jets. He made and broke records.

Even though he reached the century mark four years ago, Johnny Miller stayed as active as he could. A few years ago, when I was interviewing him for a documentary called "Gyroplane Refrain," I offered to help him bring his Bonanza out of a hanger, but he said, “No, I’ll do it” and then at nearly one hundred he flew it to two perfect touch and go's.

I marveled then at his youthful spirit and I wondered what makes some of us old at fifty and some of us young beyond ninety.

Health, I’m sure, has a lot to do with it, and I suspect the inner attributes of a youthful demeanor: enthusiasm, attitude and the joy of adventure are part of it and perhaps pride in still being able to make perfect landings.

It was Longfellow who wrote:

“…Age is an opportunity no less than youth itself, though in another dress. And as the evening twilight fades away, the sky is fitted with stars, invisible by day”.

Reportedly Johnny Miller's last words were: "I guess my flying days are over." No, Johnny, I think they have just begun. Your spiritual flight has

made the Eternal Light much brighter. Requiescat In Pace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A wise man once said:

"Age is how you describe a process of horizontalization; the 'young-at-heart'
is how you describe the interior condition of a Perpetual Grace!"

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