Like most folks in Latham, I live under the flight path into Albany International Airport used by planes landing from the east to the west, which typically occurs when the wind is up or the weather is stormy. Having an interest in airplanes, and having lived here for 17 years, I’ve reached the point where I actually recognize the sounds of the common airplanes flying into Albany (Boeing 737 variants, Canadair Regional Jets, Bombardier Dash-8’s, etc.), so when I hear something out of the ordinary, I generally go to a window or out to my porch and look up. Sometimes I’ll see a KC-10 Refueler doing “touch and goes” at the airport, or an Air National Guard C-130 heading for Scotia, or even a private P-180 Avanti II carrying some filthy rich person to our green and pleasant land.Those aren’t frequent visitors to our airport, but they land here often enough that it’s not too unusual to see them flying over our house.
This afternoon, though, something different happened. I was washing dishes in the kitchen after broiling four chicken breasts that I’d gently rubbed with olive oil and freshly crushed Himalayan salt and white pepper (yummy!), when I heard an unfamiliar hum above me, so I walked over to the window, looked up, and, Holy Crap!, I saw a World War II-vintage B-17 Flying Fortress roar by low above my house! Now, being something of an aviation buff, I know that the last operational flights made by B-17 variants occurred in the mid- to late-1950s. I concluded, therefore, after clearly seeing one above my house in Latham today, that the only viable explanation for such an experience was that I had inadvertently and unknowingly fallen through a time portal that had carried me back to the days when B-17’s routinely patrolled the skies. Huh! Who would have imagined, right?!
Taking a “When in Rome” approach to this most unexpected of situations, I quickly hired myself a buxom secretary with strong typing skills, had her make me a pot of coffee, and then sent her out to the market to buy me a carton of unfiltered Pall Malls. While she was away, I put some Enoch Light on the record player, shook myself up a batch of three martinis, and wondered why in the world I was cooking and washing dishes, given that I am a man, after all!!! When my secretary returned, I had her clean up the kitchen, then I dictated some memos, and then I carried my fourth martini back to my desk and looked at the pile of paper spilling out of the Telex Machine to see what was going on in the greater world around me.
Wait a minute . . . what’s this here? B-17 Liberty Belle Tour Comes to Albany??? Hmmm . . . well, I guess I didn’t fall through a time portal, after all. So, uh, what am I supposed to do with all these cigarettes, not to mention my buxom new secretary? Maybe another martini will help me figure it all out . . . pass me the cocktail onions there, will you, dear?