Could I get some gas, please?

This request came when the flyboys (I think there were two of them with me that time), and I were flying new planes to San Jose, CA from the East Coast.  We each flew a plane.  Often it would be more convenient to set down in an airfield near a small town, as long as the weather wasn't wonky or predicted to be wonky.  ("Wonky" is my current term for weird and it didn't exist back in the day).  We wouldn't be bothered with getting in line behind large commercial aircraft, waiting for the company to meet a schedule.

Sometimes we needed to land because we needed fuel.  This was a time of 'gas-shortage-in-America' to the extreme.  Many small airfields didn't even get fuel deliveries because of the shortage.  But I do remember that the weather wasn't wonky, wouldn't be wonky, and it was time to set down for the night.

I loved the small airports, flying across and over them, low and slow (well, as fast as the plane could go). And in the middle of America, there are some plenty fine folks.  This may have been the time, once we tied up the aircraft, when a guy came out of the hangar, saying could he be of service?  We explained what we were doing...and wondered if there was a motel nearby.  We'd be back out early in the morning to get the planes going.

Sure!  He reached into his pocket, tossed us the keys to the airport station wagon, told us where we could  eat and spend the night.  We just kind of looked at each other...hhmmm...maybe this was Kansas, after all! And off we went, without him.

What we didn't ask him was if he had fuel.  It never occurred to us that mid-America would be suffering like the bigger cities.  The next morning we expected to fuel up.  Uh, not so much.  He didn't have any fuel in his tanks.  Ut oh.  But where there are pilots, there is probably a way.

This was when we siphoned aviation fuel out of the other planes and put it into our little planes.  For the most part siphoning was done by sucking the fuel out through a tube, and into a can, using our mouths.  The goal was to avoid getting the avgas into our mouths.  But I do admit, I was able to pull the 'girl-ly' card, and got one of the guys to do it for me.  Sucking gas?  Not if I don't have to!

Every once in a while out of the clear blue, I remember happenings like this.  Often it's when I'm driving somewhere, am relaxed, and something triggers the memories.  But after all these years...I'd like to publicly say thank you to the owners of those planes whose gas we stole. We did get home safely.  And lived to tell about it, decades later.

Live richly, marilyn


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