The Right Stuff

Dad and I went to watch the movie The Right Stuff when it came out in 1983. You remember the movie, don't you? Sam Shepard plays the Best Test Pilot who's ever lived, the man who broke the Sound Barrier, Chuck Yeager.

Going to see the movie with Dad was fun, and the drive to and from the movie was fun too, because Dad had actually spent time in Pancho Barnes' bar in the '50s while working on solid fuel rockets at Edwards Air Force Base. (He said she was the ugliest human being he had ever seen but she was also a wonderful person, despite being impressively crude, and she made a lot of Air Force lives a little better.)

So we're watching the movie, and there is a scene in Pancho's bar where Chuck Yeager appears as the bartender. Not Sam Shepard, mind you, but the real Chuck Yeager, in a cameo appearance. Recognizing the then 60 year old pilot, we both turned to each other right there in the darkened theater and said to each other, "Hey, that's Chuck Yeager!"

And then we looked around sheepishly as people turned to stare at us. No one in the theater understood! And boy did they think we were stupid. But we had one on them, if only they knew. For me it was one of those little moments I'd never forget when I was totally in tune with Dad.