My friend and colleague, Ron Dick; I wrote this short piece the day that he took off for his last mission.
Ron Dick, a personal note.
When Ron and I gave a lecture together, something we did every now and then and enjoyed immensely, our carefully planned series of images and timed for just under an hour presentation was soon off the track as Ron the master story teller regaled the audience with fantastic tales of aviation, usually with himself as one of the protagonists. At about the 45 minute point, the organizer started waving her watch at us, and Ron would wave his hand and say…..”alright, alright, we’ll hurry”, and someone in the crowd would say “we aren’t leaving….please go on”.
The foil and the jokes were not exactly planned but did make for lots of laughs. That is what will take a long time to fill . . . the great void in my life now is that laugh; Ron’s booming laugh that was often at his own expense.
I feel a huge hole in the fabric of my life right now. The best friend and partner one could ever have, is gone.
We started with a handshake and off we went, 15 years of nearly daily contact in our efforts to create a new history of aviation. Our partnership was based on a simple factor, mutual respect for each other and our ability to solve the questions before us at the moment. As well as the larger question of two “guys” creating a series of books that include 500,000 words, thousands of new photographs and an equal number of archival images. We often smiled when asked how large our research and support staffs were.
I must also note that our editor at Boston Mills Press, Kathy Fraser deserves much credit. She was the interface between us and the process that takes place to make a book a reality. In an undertaking such as this, there are often very strong opinions which are headed several directions at the same time. The fact that the series is completed speaks volumes about her abilities.
Just ten days ago, I saw Ron for the last time, and we had the chance to not leave anything unsaid. We parted just as we had begun, with a resolute look into each other’s eyes and a handshake.
26 March 2008