Avionics, Travel, Belize and Other Topics

I had mentioned this memory in a piece before, a little over four years ago, but I wish to mention it again and with more details: It was almost twenty-five years ago, at the time of writing this piece, that a certain childhood memory occurred.

The memory entailed me hanging out on the western side of my paternal grandparents (now my cousin and her husband’s) house.

I had a fascination with that side of the house because it is where the electric meter, the gas meter, the telephone network interface, and the cable hookup were located.

All of that fascinated me ever since early childhood and still does, to be honest.

I hated school and wished I could have stayed home, however, I was looking forward to Christmas Break which was coming up shortly.

Also, one of my mom’s students had discarded a calculator, so she picked it up and gave it to me.

That December 1997 morning, I was standing on the western side of the house as mentioned before with that calculator in my school pants pocket.

The weather was slightly cold or at least cold enough to where I could see my breath when I exhale.

While I was standing there, a low-altitude plane was flying over me. I mean that neighborhood is under a considerably busy flight route.

I think children in the 1990s were more imaginative than children of today are, but I imagined myself on that plane helping the pilot navigate with the aid of the calculator in my pocket.

I cannot remember anything about that calculator except that it was a mid-grade scientific model made for or by an office supply company known as Royal. I also would imagine that it came off the assembly line either in the 1980s or very early 1990s, probably no later than 1991. I last saw my sister playing with it sometime in 1999 or 2000.

Also, since my breath was visible in the cold air, I wondered if the pilot and whatever passengers on that plane could see my breath and maybe thought that a ten going on the eleven-year-old child was smoking a cigarette.

In later years, when passing by a certain small airport, I could see the fuel storage tanks from the local road and always thought that everyone near them durn better not be smoking. And then in even later years, I thought how anyone near them durn better be using explosion-proof or intrinsically safe equipment.

I purposely used the word durn, because, for whatever reason, it was forbidden at my school.

Dang and darn were allowed, but durn was forbidden.

I think the teachers and staff at my school liked to make those nit-picky rules because their private parts tingled and oozed at the thought of oppressively controlling [mostly] defenseless children.

Even more fervently, I believe that the teachers and staff at my school must have durn near achieved an orgasm every time they confiscated a handheld video game.

All right, I know that I am slightly off track, but still, I feel the need to say this, because what I mentioned is just the tip of the enormous iceberg of how cruel teachers and staff at my school were.

And just maybe, I harbor this foul attitude towards my school because I have special needs, I’m sure most of my teachers realized I have special needs, and yet they refused to make any sort of accommodations for me nor did they step in when I was harassed by other students, except in really major incidents.  However, the teachers and staff at this wretched school made accommodations for other kids and they feverishly protected other kids from harassment.  They did the literal bare minimum for me.

I just thank God that for a considerable time of me attending that school, I carried a flashlight either on my person or in my backpack and it never once was confiscated. Other students viciously harassed me for my love of flashlights, though.

At one point while writing this, I was hanging out at my adopted sister’s apartment and my adopted niece was stating how she is addicted to hot chocolate. Off the top of my head, I made up a scenario where a long haul truck driver stopped at a travel center, before dawn on a cold December morning filled his rig with Diesel fuel, then went inside and bought a large cup of hot chocolate and several King Size Mister GoodBars then got back on the road. The energy-dense food and drink gave him the nourishment and comfort to effectively drive that rig for the next several hours before needing to stop again.

By the way, the teachers at my school would have sneered at such a profession, although, it is what I would love to have chosen for a career, but am disqualified from it because of the medication that I am required to take.

I know I don’t need one and I don’t plan on purchasing one, but I have had a fascination with calculators designed specifically for aviators. I believe the Texas Instruments TI-58 or TI-59 was a general-purpose calculator but had an available ROM cartridge specifically for solving problems related to handling an aircraft, among other applications. Later there were other purpose-built calculators designed solely for aviation. I would like one of those, maybe or maybe not. There are also slide rules, some even featured on wristwatches crafted for pilots.

This piece was originally supposed to be about aviation calculators and/or flight computers, by the way, but I had to add my other words of whatever you, the reader, perceive them to be.

I do and have had a fascination with calculators since infancy and I think I have made that pretty clear on this blog and other forms of media.

I also have a waxing and waning interest in avionics. I think all of that communications equipment, RADAR, flight computers, and other instruments are so neat. I am greatly fascinated by all other modes of transportation but it seems that aviation has the most interesting equipment.

Soon after that plane flew over, the school bus arrived and I boarded it. I was in fourth grade and it was a rough school year. Honestly what saw me through was my God, although I was not yet saved and my interests outside of school. I felt very relieved that Christmas Break was just days away.

The era in which I am most fascinated by avionics and handheld calculating/computing is the decade of the 1980s. It is the decade in which I was born but also a time when personal mobile phones were not yet widely used and smartphones hadn’t been thought of yet. Because of that, one needed a dedicated electronic device for each task he or she wished to accomplish. And there was something so astounding about that.

On an unrelated note, it was in the 1980s that tactical flashlights became compact, the first being in 1984 with the Mini Maglite. Well, I’ve seen and heard of many pilots carrying Mini Maglites. I carry a vintage Mini Maglite from 1993 in my eyeglass case, but that is for another piece.

I do want to either get Red Mini Maglite Spectrum in either AAA or Solitaire, for nighttime travels.

This desire stems from traveling through the Mississippi Darkness on either the I-55 or I-59 Corridor as a passenger and not wanting to disturb the driver, yet having to locate items in the dark. My Green Mini Maglite spectrum simply doesn’t cut it.

But a Red Mini Maglite Spectrum would be ideal for nighttime aviation, especially for reading instruments in a non-glass cockpit.

Red light is easier on the eyes in total darkness than any other color including and especially white.

SureFire took the idea of compact tactical flashlights and ran with it!

About a year ago I was doing some research about the country of Belize. It seemed like a really interesting place and just about the only place South of the Border, I would want to set foot in, although God is dealing with me about that. The only way I would know how to easily get there without paying too much would be to hire a charter flight or some nice person with a Cessna and possibly take off from KHUM (The Houma-Terrebonne Airport) or possibly even L83 (probably only in a Cessna), then fly over the Gulf of Mexico. What I find amusing is that there is an airport in Belize known as “Gallon Jug Airport”, though there are a few other airports in that country. I’m wondering if anyone who reads this blog wonders what airport I am referring to when I say “L83.” I shall explain: L83 is the callsign issued to the Thibodaux Municipal Airport, which is located in the Thibodaux, Louisiana suburb of Schriever. It is also the small airport I frequently passed by, saw the fuel tanks, and had my thoughts about those standing near them durn better not be smoking and durn well better have intrinsically safe equipment. I thought L83 was a small airport, but it appears that Gallon Jub Airport is even smaller, although it has a nice place to relax, almost on par with a Swiss chalet, and possibly a longer runway, unlike L83. While L83 has a tall tree hazard Gallon Jug has mountains. Maybe I would be better off landing in the capital of Belize City, where I could then go watch marine traffic. Another humorous aspect of Belize is that fried chicken is referred to as fried chicken. I especially appreciate this because some folk from Louisiana’s Bayou Country refer to ground [beef] meat as “grind meat.” From what I gather Belize has quite a few things in common with Louisiana. I wish I could explore Belize on the ground in a Range Rover from the mid-1980s, specifically a 1984 to 1986 model but that is currently just a fantasy. Of course, in that Range Rover, I would have some sort of a scanner radio, that is a given and it would have to be one capable of tuning in both civilian and military aircraft. I would also have an amateur radio transceiver with antennas tuned for 80 Meters, 40 Meters, 11 Meters, 10 Meters, and 6 Meters. I would have to be cautious on 11 Meters because it is no longer an amateur radio band and hasn’t been since 1958. It is the location of HF Citizen’s Band among other things but now in 2022 mostly obsolete except for a few die-hard Citizen’s Band users and hobbyists that have migrated to the now unused portions in addition to the CB portions of 11 Meters. I would probably also have my EDC backpack and in it would be some scanners and portable 2 Meter and 70 Centimeter transceivers.

If you, the reader, didn’t realize, I have been thinking about all of this for some time now!

Maybe God wants me and possibly my wife to do some supportive work for missionaries in Belize and that is why He is putting all this in my head and heart. I’m not sure though. It’s quite possible that my wife maybe is called to be a pastor, but I am happy just as a servant or administrator.

I know my writing performance isn’t at what it usually is, but I will say that it is the end of the month, my breakfast consisted of sliced bread, cane syrup, and sausage, with chocolate milk to drink with that. On top of that, I am feeling slightly under the weather. My wife and I are nibbling on some Chester’s Hot Fries (one of our favorite snacks) as I am finishing up this piece and she is doing some research for her writings.

Life is much better though since I was in school.

One good thing that is still common is that I am looking forward to Christmas as it is my favorite season.

I wish to roast a goose this Christmas as I have done once before but I will have to settle for a turkey.

The reason being is that I already purchased my turkey and even the smallest goose is over $60.

As it turns out, I have just been summoned by my adopted sister to cook some white beans for her and her family, so I will cut this piece short now.

I do enjoy cooking and I don’t mind helping out my adopted family, so I will be on my way shortly.

That means this piece is now concluded.

I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened maybe even entertained.

May God richly bless you!

Back to “Personal Reflections”

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