A Father’s Day Note

By Darin Paine

Darin Paine penned this Father’s Day message for his dad, Lauran Paine, EAA 582274, who authors the Plane Talk column in EAA Sport Aviation magazine.

“We just did it.”

That’s what my grandfather used to say whenever he was telling stories about World War II, or hardships on a west Texas farm, or countless other stories from his remarkable, yet humble, life. My dad loved that about his father-in-law. He loved the no-excuse, “bow your neck and press on” kind of mentality.  He also loved that his father-in-law was a good ol’ boy.  You work hard, you raise your family, and you fix stuff with duct tape and bailing wire.  That’s what a good ol’ boy is to him — someone who is honest, works hard, tells a few wisecracks, and maybe enjoys a cold beverage at the end of the day. What’s not to love, right?

My dad grew up on a farm in a small town in northern California. He milked cows, collected eggs, changed irrigation pipes, fished on the banks of the Klamath River, and played baseball with his Collie dog in the pasture. Then his whole world changed one day when a family friend, and good ol’ boy, took him for his first airplane ride over Scott Valley.  From then on, his head was in the clouds. 

The small town farm boy graduated from San Jose State University and drove to Big Spring, Texas, to attend pilot training for the United States Air Force. His VW bug broke down rolling into town and he upgraded. He knew room and board were covered, and they were going to pay him to fly, so he had it made. He bought a baby blue 1967 Corvette Stingray. He wasn’t on the farm anymore. He was going to fly jets. He also happened to meet the girl who would become my mother at the Wagon Wheel Drive-In one night.

My older brother was first to the party. Then I came along. We moved around as military brats, first with the Air Force, and then with the Army National Guard. My dad was flying OV-1 Mohawks and got hired by Air Oregon as the company’s first ever paid copilot. It later was acquired by Horizon Air, which is now owned by Alaska Airlines’ parent company. All that while, my brother and I reaped the benefits. How many 10-year-olds get to fly in a Stearman, not to mention in a Champ and other classic airframes? We lived right under the pattern in Salem, Oregon, and dad’s OV-1 would tip its wings on final. “That’s my dad!” I’d tell my buddies as I pointed to the sky. During summers, I got to go on his work trips with the airline. I cracked his airline buddies up, by accident, when I said he “worked part time for Horizon Air.”  As a kid I didn’t know what seniority meant, and knew he was part-time for the National Guard, so it made sense to me. He said he caught flak for that one for quite a while. 

Though all the years, he made it to Little League games, threw the football in the street, told corny jokes to my friends, and taught me to drive a tractor and a car. And if he was gone on a trip, I’d find a note in my bat bag.  “Keep your eye on the ball and have fun. Love, Dad.” 

Little did I know I was learning about respect, integrity, work ethic, humility and honor. Now, I’m raising my young family, serving with the Texas Air National Guard, and working full time for Texas A&M University. I am there for my daughter’s little games, tell corny jokes to her friends, and help them raise 4-H animals — and, eventually, will teach her to drive.  My parents taught me well.  I learned from my dad, the good ol’ boy.  That’s what he is to me.  The best good ol’ boy I know.  Happy Father’s Day, Pop!



Post Comments