By Keith Kappes - Publisher
Aug. 7, 2013 —
It was the early 1950s and our community was excited about the “pipeliners” who were building a natural gas pipeline across our county.
It seemed to be everywhere as deep trenches snaked through farms, beneath roads and up steep hillsides.
Besides big trucks and giant excavating machines, the pipeline brought us another exciting contraption – the helicopter.
The pipeline company used the Bell “bubble” choppers like those we have seen on M.A.S.H. in the movies and on TV.
Company executives flew up and down the right-of-way to inspect the work and relay orders to the crews on the ground.
Whenever they landed, curious kids and adults would come running for a closer look at the marvelous flying machine.
They wouldn’t let us get very close to the aircraft because of the whirling rotors but the pilots and passengers always waved to us.
My buddy and I were swimming in the creek when one of the helicopters flew right over us and landed on his father’s farm.
We rushed toward the farm house where the chopper was parked in the front yard. The pilot had stopped to ask directions.
As we arrived, a farmhand came running out of a nearby barn, yelling at the top of his lungs and pointing at the helicopter.
He was stuttering and stammering and tobacco juice was flying in every direction.
He finally caught his breath and exclaimed to everyone within earshot:
“Looky, looky, that’s one of them there hell-of-a-copters!
Jack wasn’t the best player on our high school basketball team but he always gave good effort.
We were preparing for a game against our biggest rival. Our coach was planning to surprise them with a full court press.
The team worked on it for hours and hours. Jack, as the center, was stationed at the midcourt stripe to prevent any long passes over the press.
The big game came and, with a couple of minutes to play, the score was tied and they had the ball.
One of their players tried to throw it the length of the court but Jack intercepted it, pivoted a couple of times to escape the defense and then headed for the basket.
Fans were standing and screaming as he raced toward the wrong goal. The coach kept frantically shouting, “no, Jack, no.”
He made the layup to put the other team ahead. The coach called time and ran onto the court in sheer disbelief.
To this day, Jack claims he clearly heard the coach yelling, “go, Jack, go.”