That was me. I was the one sitting between Thelma and Louise in the front seat of the dusty blue Thunderbird convertible as we rocketed off the top of the red sandstone cliff and out into freedom. It was at that precise moment that we gave ourselves up to gravity, the three of us, and gasped in unison as we dropped beneath the rim of the canyon, out of sight and into the shade – weightless - awaiting the inevitable whistling slam of black.
That was me also - sitting next to Jacqueline Kennedy in 1963 when the big black Caddy pulled up beneath the Texas School Book Depository and hung a big sweeping left on to Elm Street before straightening out and heading for the triple underpass. She had just asked me if I had ever seen a more innocent autumn afternoon.
“No,” I replied, I hadn’t.
I was there in 1876, riding in tight formation in a column behind General George Custer as we entered the valley of the Little Big Horn River. We were there to fight savages, to chase them from the Black Hills and from the continent once and for all. We had been ordered to wait for reinforcements but... they’re just a band of redskins.
“To the victors go the spoils,” bellowed Custer as we spurred our horses and approached the top of the ridge at a gallop.
And that was me grasping at nothingness and feeling the blood rush to my head as United Airlines Flight 93 rolled upside down and picked up speed as it plummeted towards the oblivion of the Pennsylvania countryside.
This was supposed to be an uneventful weekday flight to San Francisco, I kept thinking to myself.
And again, to black, I went.
© 2012, Jeff L. Howe, all rights
(photos public domain)
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