Her Plane Ride

His only daughter lives with her mother five states away,
but visits him during the summer and every Christmas holiday.
Her stays always fill him with joy, but this year also brings fear
that she’ll soon outgrow these visits, as she’s in her thirteenth year.

Her phone conversations are nowadays sprinkled with boys’ names.
When she arrives wearing heavy make-up, he thinks it’s a shame
his little girl is growing up way too fast, as do the little girls all.
Interest in fishing with him will switch to trolling for boys at the mall!

His young tomboy has developed breasts, now prefers to wear a dress.
He feels that he is losing their common ground, which does depress
him so. Thus, he is delighted when she is excited at his becoming
a pilot, capable of flying his own plane. She begs for them to go flying.

“First, we’d better clear this with your mother”, whose reaction was
predictable. “You have had your pilot’s license six months. It does
not sound safe to me!” Her mother stands firm, finally agrees to let
their daughter fly, but only with a more experienced friend as her pilot.

At the airport the next morning, the daughter’s excited. Today she flies in
the friend’s new, single-engine plane. He watches their take off -- her grin
is all that he sees! Then, he takes off; soon after, the two small planes are
side by side, his daughter and he happily smiling, waving from not too far.

The day is clear and bright; the sky conditions are ideal.
Suddenly, the father sees the other plane’s cockpit fill
with smoke; the plane descends sharply, out of control.
He watches in stunned disbelief…horror…panic untold…

as the plane carrying his daughter crashes into the ground,
smoke and flames billowing from its nose. No survivor is found,
when he circles over the wreck. His heart and crazed mind race,
as he immediately decides that he must land at the nearest place.

The wreck lies in a tiny clearing, completely encircled by woods.
A country road runs through the trees. If careful, he might could
land on the straightaway! As the plane touches down, a state
trooper arrives. The two men rush to the accident…it’s too late.

“They were my daughter and my close friend”, the father sobs,
dropping to his knees. “I had to watch it - watch as fate robs
me of my only child.” “What happened? The cause must be sought.”
“It’s my ex-wife’s fault…”

Harry Edward Gilleland      01.04.03