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John_Cillis

The day is done.... Flying in the peace of the dusk Ada OK to OKC

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Posted (edited)

This flight has special meaning for me because of a strange serendipity and a decision I made, that I would not hurt my employer.  In 1994 I was flown, at a potential employer's cost, to Atlanta to interview for a position as CIO of their hotel chain of about twenty hotels.  I wanted to move to Hotlanta, because my employer at that time, Holiday Inn, was based there and I loved the city with its airport, metro, low cost living, humidity and greenery.  I was living in Napa California at the time.  I flew there on TWA, my last flight on TWA, via St. Louis on an L1011, my last flight on an L1011.  I stayed the night then flew TWA back home, one of those rare times I did not get a window seat but they paid for the trip. 

They were a Holiday Inn client and in order to interview me, they called my current employer, IBM/Cyntergy under contract with Holiday Inn for a Unix nationwide and Canada systems implementation, and lied to them saying they needed to contact me (we never gave our clients our home numbers so they would call the help desk instead of us, the sys implementation team).  They said I left a pair of shoes at their hotel (I never forgot anything at a hotel, I traveled so much, with so much important equipment such as breakout boxes, laptops, Cat 5 cable and Coax cable), that I always did a "room sweep" before checking out, since I paid for most of that equipment out of my own pocket to help give my clients a boost. 

But their lie worked, I flew at their cost to an interview after they contacted me to the curiosity of my boss, and I flew home, barely making it to my fifteenth high school reunion and staying overnight with my parents.

Knowing the next day, I would have to fly to Oklahoma City via Denver on United, to work in the small town of Ada Oklahoma.  Little did I know the serendipity to come.

I knew I had aced the interview, it was on my mind as I flew to OKC then rented a car to drive to Ada (knowing I would have to pick up one of my employees a couple days later).  I recorded a tape of melodic rock because both I and my employee were rockers, we listened to Journey, Eddie Money, Darryl Stuermer (Phil Collin's guitarist who replaced Steve Hackett for the band Genesis), Jefferson Starship, Bobby Caldwell, even Christian rock.  That was and still is the music I listen to when I fly and drive with friends or family who like it.  I listened to it when I flew last to Europe in 2017.  To make a long story short, as short as possible, I was offered the job, but they lied to me.  They wanted me to work in Dallas, which I did not want to live in, just was not like Atlanta or Phoenix where I live today, I had worked there before.  Today I might consider living there, but not back then, Dallas was different 25 years ago.  They also wanted me to give my employer, who had been so good to me, only a weeks' notice.

I knew it would be a big hassle to both me and my employer to move under such circumstances, even though their offer was double my salary at that time.  I did not want to, in the words of Richard Nixon, grease the skids for my friends.  So I called my boss and told him I had received an offer, he asked why I was looking for work and I told him my domestic and Canadian travel had simply grown stale, having worked in nearly every US City.  Again, I was in Ada Oklahoma, the name Ada would soon become very important to me.  So my boss made me an offer I could not refuse.  He said that Holiday Inn had a secret project with a competing software company, based on Novell, specifically for their International properties.  Would I be interested?

That project brought me to Europe, but prior to that, later in 1994, it brought me to Zacatecas Mexico where I met and fell in love with a Mexicana Airlines worker.  Her name is Ada.  Serendipity and a twenty year old daughter, all three of us love flight and have flown together far and wide since I met Ada in '94 simply because I would not sell my employer down the river.  I did leave that employer about a year later so I could work out of Phoenix where we had bought a home, I did not give up traveling for hotel companies until six months after my daughter was born, and only traveled quarterly up until I had to go on disability leave in 2015.  That finishes the back story to this wonderful Xplane11 flight I had tonight.

John

Edit: PS, two things.  I removed the wheel pants of the Cardinal to give it a more utilitarian look for the midwest, lol.  Also, when I was on assignment in Ada Oklahoma, we had a server issue and a guy from IBM came out to deal with it, bad motherboard.  While we were there the Tornado sirens went off, I saw the greenish tint to the sky and the mammatus cloud formations, which we also have seen in Phoenix in 1996 when two Mesocyclones merged during our summer Monsoon.  So I was nervous about a Tornado coming and asked the IBM dude to get on with it so I could join the Holiday Inn Hotel staff in Ada in the Tornado shelter, I had just woken my colleague.  The IBM dude said while we were still inside, with his Oklahoma drawl "Ahh ain't seeen ever a TornadOhhh in Adahh Oklahomahhhhh"

He went outside to smoke a cigarette, I went outside to chat with him since he knew I was a hardware techie too in addition to being a biz systems instructor.  The wind started whipping up in all directions and he looked at me and said "Ahhhh think Ahhhh mahhht be wronnnnng" and he jumped into his IBM van and spun his tires as he tore out of the place, leaving me gaping up at the sky wondering if he was wrong.  He wasn't, the Tornado hit five miles out of town and caused damage at Ada's airport, but no one was hurt.  Elsewhere though that night there were fatalities in a Tornado outbreak.  I have a history, being from Chicago, of attracting Tornados in everywhere I have ever been, including Vienna Austria in 1984 and Grindelwald Switzerland in 1984.  But I have survived them all and also several lightning strikes within 20 feet of me.  I should buy a lottery ticket some day.  NOT...

 

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Edited by John_Cillis
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