IT WAS A dream about a dear friend, an old pilot, who had been killed in a crash years before. In the dream, I saw him with his J-3 Cub on floats, he landed on a lake and I met him when he reached the shore.
I knew that others, after they die, take the appearance of what they think was their favorite appearance while on Earth, and asked my friend why he looked just as I remember him, instead of as a young man? He said he likes being seen as the old-timer.
I flew with him in the Cub, and he pointed out toward crystal cities on the horizon (“For those who like city life,” he said). Then he asked if I wanted to fly the Cub. Of course I said, Yes, please.
“Just a minute,” he said. He slowed way down, then pressed the Cub into a spin, from about 2,000 ft. “OK,” he said while the airplane was spinning straight down, “you’ve got it…”
I recovered, laughing.
“Do you have mid-airs here?” I asked, after a while.
“Sometimes. The airplanes just pass through each other, of course, nobody’s hurt.” Then in case I needed reminding, he smiled and said, “Now you don’t want to do that on Earth…”
I asked what I could take with me from this moment, to prove this was more than my imagination or a dream. What could I tell his son to show I really talked with his dad?
He answered at once. “Ask him about Uncle Eddy.” Then the scene dissolved and I woke.
I wrote later to his son:
“… an odd thing happened that I wanted to check with you. About a month ago I had a remarkable dream about your dad. I was by a lake in the forest, not quite knowing why, when I looked up and saw a Cub on floats on downwind. It landed on the water, and it was your dad, looking just like always and really happy. I asked what he was doing here, and he said that he flew kids, mostly, to give them an intuition, before they’re born, a love of flying that would later draw them into the air.
“We talked for a while in this dream and we flew together. It was vivid, unforgettable the whole event, and I’m still remembering it, and how glad I was to see him again.
“For some reason I wanted verification that this was a real meeting. I asked if there was anything I could say to you that would make sense, beside it was an interesting dream. He said I should ask you about Uncle Eddie. That was the end of the dream.
“I don’t have a clue what that might mean, if it means anything at all. For a while I wasn’t even going to mention the dream to you. I don’t know if your dad had a brother, or whether Eddie might be a dog’s name, or what it meant. But finally I thought hey, I’ll ask. Whether or not that name means anything to you, this remains the most memorable dream of my life.”
His son’s answer came the next day:
“Your dream was interesting, all right. Dad always enjoyed giving kids their first airplane ride.
“As far as ‘Uncle Eddie,’ the only person he may be referring to is Capt. Eddie. He was an American Airline pilot who flew for Dad at the seaplane base when he had layovers down here. Capt. Eddie owned a Piper J-3 on floats and kept it at his house.
“Odd that you mentioned it, since he just died, at the age of 93.
“He flew every Saturday morning up until his death. The last few years of his life he was very frail and kept the airplane at our seaplane base. We would help get the airplane ready for him every weekend. Capt Eddie was still a very good pilot to the day he died.
“I never heard Dad call him anything but Capt. Eddie.”