Jason Denton–Advice for Sketch Comedy Writers

What is your name? Any nicknames?
Jason Denton. My parents used to call me for some reason Jaycee. A friend ironically called me Jay-Dog.

What do you do with your time?
Middle school substitute teacher and stand-up comedian.

How old are you and where do you live?
39, and in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Behind the Ingles.

Where can we find you on the internet?
I’ll put in a plug for J/K Comedy. You can find us at jkcomedy.rocks or follow us on Twitter @jkcomedy007

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Chicago, in the sixth grade, I was twelve or thirteen. The Museum of Science and Industry was great. My uncle was living there and my older brother and I took the Amtrak (with a layover in Philadelphia.) A funny thing–Mom and Dad had packed us IBC root beers. They weren’t twist-off, so you had these two young boys carrying what looked like beer bottles to the lounge car to get a bottle opener. We got stopped a couple of times.

Your favorite meal would be?
Cream of chicken soup with turkey sandwich on the side.

Pet peeve?
Not thinking two steps ahead. Doing something without forethought. (This applies to me more than anything else.)

Can you tell us about a time you wish you’d thought two steps ahead?
Heather and I are both bad with money, I guess, making bad financial choices. Early in our marriage we got a timeshare. If we’d taken the afternoon to just think about it that would have been a better thing. I’m also bipolar and one way the mania manifests is buying things. I’m on medicine right now, and doing better. But for instance, If I hear a song I like I’ll go ahead and download the song, then figure out who sang it and buy other stuff they’ve done and go on from there to other albums and by the end of the hour I’ll have bought fifty dollars worth of songs.

Wow, and thanks for sharing. Favorite book, or movie, or TV show?
Book: “To Kill a Mockingbird”
TV Show: The earlier seasons of “The Simpsons.”
Movie: “Dark City,” a science fiction flick, “City Lights,” with Charlie Chaplin, and “Scott Pilgrim Versus the World,” which was the most fun I had at the theater.

Why was “Scott Pilgrim” the most fun at the theater?
Well, this is kind of a downer, but my vision was going and it was one of the last movies where I could really see what was going on. But the audience was really engaged, and the movie was visually interesting with lots of animation and it was also, it feels like, one of the last movies that was made for my generation. Seinfeld, video games, lots of nineties references.

Would you mind telling us about your vision issues?
It’s called retinitis pigmentosa, or just RP. It’s the opposite of macular degeneration. Instead of a blind spot in the middle it’s tunnel vision. Starts out as night blindness, affecting the rods of the eye first, losing your night and peripheral vision, then later starts to affect color and clarity. It affects different people in different ways, and it’s progressive. It’s hereditary–my mother has it and my older brother has it worse than I do. Mine hadn’t been that bad until the last year or so when the peripheral vision really started to really go downhill. I’m now using a cane to get around the grocery store, that kind of thing. Also you tend to develop cataracts early; I had cataracts seven years ago.

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for…..?
Just throw a good prayer out there in general. Good thoughts, good prayers.

I know this answer because I interviewed your wife a few weeks ago, but let’s go ahead and ask: are you married or have you been? Any kids or pets?
Yes, married, and we just had out tenth year anniversary. One dog, Toonie. Did Heather tell you how Toonie got her name?

I don’t think so.
When we got her she’d apparently been named Petunia. I couldn’t see myself calling a dog “Petunia,” so I shortened it, but still kept some of the sounds so she could hopefully recognize her name.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
Well, I used to be able to do a one-legged squat, but my knees are blown.

Oh, I feel your pain. If you had any spare time (and money), what would you do with it?
Travel to Europe.

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered?
Well, I do improvisational comedy. I got involved in college, I do stand-up, do character-based humor. I’m moving more to observational, but I may get back to character based. I like to write monologues and sketches; I used to write monologues in college for people for auditions.

What’s the most rewarding part of stand-up comedy?
Hearing the laughter. Getting your point of view out there, your own brand, your sense of humor. There’s lots of different kinds of comedy: observational, one-liners, story-telling, character-driven. The fun is trying to find your own voice.

What’s the hard part of stand-up comedy?
Weirdly enough, the same thing. Something you might think is incredibly funny but you can’t get it out either verbally or physically on stage to where it “reads” for the audience and it’s not relatable.

Can you offer some advice for sketch comedy writers?
The clichéd thing, but it’s true, is to write what you know. If it’s something you know and care about, then it will be relatable. To make it funny, take something that happened to you in real life and by “yes, anding” it, take it to a ridiculous extreme.

What do you mean by “yes, anding” it?
Taking a situation and pushing it a little bit farther as far as stakes go, building on what you have. If you have a scene, for instance, in a space station. One character: “I snuck my pet mouse on board.” “Oh, no, that’s terrible.” “Why, because it’ll use up the air?” “No, because I snuck my pet cat on board.” It’s the ultimate comedy improv rule.

Jason, thanks much for sharing with us. Good luck and blessings on your adventures.

Kathy Coomer–Advice for Volunteer EMTs

What is your name? Any nicknames?
Katherine no-middle-name Coomer. Kathy, Kat, Kashka, or Kiki. I answer to them all.

What is your occupation?
I’ve worked as everything from a talent agent in Los Angeles to a Schwan’s truck driver with lots of things in between. Mostly, I’ve been an Executive Assistant to movers and shakers. Currently, I’m a shut-in caregiver to my disabled husband and our 15 year old son. This is by far the most challenging and rewarding “job” of them all.

What was the most enjoyable part of being a talent agent? The most frustrating part?
What I really loved most about being a talent agent was finding the right person for a given job (whether it be acting, writing, directing or producing). I enjoyed combining these efforts with casting agents and production staff. I worked for one of the top three talent agencies in the world and our “pool” of talent was amazing. So I was like a kid in a candy store when it came time to help find a good fit.

I think the most frustrating part of the job was dealing with the egos. You might be surprised to hear that I’m NOT speaking of the talent here but, rather, of other industry professionals. It’s why I left the business. Lack of kindness.

How old are you?
There aren’t enough numbers.

I’m 16 + 32 – 5 ÷ 2 X 4 – 30 if you must know.

I tried to figure that out, but gave up. Where do you live?
Hendersonville, North Carolina, ya’ll.

Do you have a blog or anything where people can learn more about you?
Nope. I’m a mystery, even to me.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Rome, Italy. Soooooo much history (good and bad) there!

Someone has one day to spend in Rome. How would you suggest they use their time?
Eat. The food is AMAZING! And no, it isn’t just pasta and pizzas. They KNOW how to cook fish, for example (my participation in the consumption of said fish was before I stopped eating anything with eyes). And it probably goes without saying that anybody who visits Rome MUST see as many ancient ruins as possible. Talk about history! WOW! The Coliseum is a given. Just to stand there and contemplate the things that happened there… Yeah, that.

What would be your favorite meal?
Tomato pie with a side of sautéed asparagus drizzled with fresh lemon juice. Hands down!

Pet peeve?
Only one? Oh my… Let me narrow it down….

Okay, narrowing down more…

Dishonesty. That would top the list.

Favorite book?
The Bible

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for…..?
Greater patience. I know that that can open up a can of worms God-wise. Who knows what He’ll give me in order for me to have that but I really am willing to do whatever it takes to know it. I’m pretty restless.

Tell us about your family?
Married, one human son, one dog son and two dog daughters.

My husband, Roger, has a severe traumatic brain injury. He is a quadriplegic and he can’t talk or eat. He is still and always will be the love of my life and it is an honor and blessing to care for him. Our son, Timothy, is 15 years old (you wouldn’t believe how much he’s grown, Henry!). He has autism and he has worked so hard and made so much progress to overcome many negative behaviors associated with that. I’m very proud of him. He’s still a work in progress but aren’t we all? We have an old Beagle, a younger Pekingese, and a younger still German Shepherd who all sleep with me (but don’t tell anybody).

They are all imperfectly perfect and I love them.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
I’m right-handed but play darts best left-handed.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
I honestly wouldn’t know what to do with it. It’s been years since I’ve had it. A cruise to the Greek islands sure sounds nice!

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
I’m a former volunteer EMT (I really miss that work!!!). I studied improv at The Groundlings Theatre in LA and am a former model. I’m a U.S. Navy veteran. Ummmm…. I love to paint and write and would spend days working in the garden if I were able. I’m a vegetarian/borderline vegan. I suffer from insomnia. I like Brussels sprouts.

Can I show my readers this picture you’ve painted?

Thanks much, Kathy. Can I ask you to offer some advice for volunteer EMTs?
My advice for volunteer EMTs? Sometimes, when people are confronted with “the worst” in life, the best care they can receive is that of a hand to hold, an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on.

What did you do in the Navy?
I was a Radioman in the Navy. I worked in satellite signal propagation, cryptography and other things that I’d have to kill you if I told you about. I had my basic training in Orlando, my technical training in San Diego, and then was stationed for two years in Naples, Italy, two years in Thurso, Scotland, then six months in Norfolk, Virginia before I was discharged. Honorably. LOL!

Kathy, thank you for sharing with us some of your story. May God watch over and bless you and your family.

Brian Mason–Advice for Historic Gun Collectors

Good morning, friends, and welcome to “Advice for Everyone.” We’re glad to have Brian Mason with us today. Brian, can you tell us what you do for a living?
Law Enforcement

How old are you, and where do you live?
Dirty 30s, and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Where can we find you on the internet?

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
I would have to say Edinburgh, Scotland for so many reasons I can’t even count.

Can you tell us something interesting about Edinburgh?
It is a tremendous city and so much to see but you need to take your time doing it in order to take in the vast culture around you, like the wandering bagpipe bands. But by far the best part is Edinburgh Castle. Take a full day to do it otherwise you will miss something. There is so much history and culture in that castle that you cannot possibly be let down.

Thanks! Your favorite meal would be?
Beef Stroganoff by a long shot.

Pet peeve?
People with wet shoes who grind and squeak their shoes on the floor.

Favorite book, or movie, or television show?
Does my own book count? Other than that, Band of Brothers by far.

Can you tell us a little about your book? Where could people find a copy?
The book is Biscuits and Gravy, Southern Comforts for the Heart and Soul. Currently available on Amazon. The book features a compilation of true short stories from my family’s oral tradition of the odd stories that happen in the south as well as a few of my own antics. They are all written to give some enjoyment and some serious stories to the reader but to also give some motivation and inspiration at the end of the day. Kind of like a southern version of Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul.

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for …..?
Focus, clarity and ease of mind.

Are you married or have you been? Any kids or pets?
I’ve been married almost two years now. My pets (cats) are demanding for attention every day but hey, that’s ok, it eases any frustration in the day.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
I do a mixture of things. I’ll read, tinker with artifacts or go out into the wilderness on long hikes. Anything to keep my mind engaged or put a physical strain on the muscles.

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
I do enjoy writing, anything from nonfiction to short stories to science fiction. I have an immense passion for history and as such operate a living history association. I love the outdoors and being away from civilization. I’m an avid historic gun collector and target shooter. My past career was as an archaeologist so I do enjoy old things, artifacts, antiques, anything with a story behind it really. I have been a part of many things. I used to be a part of Rotary International and with that have met her highness the Queen Noor of Jordan and entertained the ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire to Canada. I’ve stood as part of the honor guard to unveil monuments and been decorated by the 7th US Special Forces.

Can you tell us a little about your living history association?
The First Special Service Force Living History Association was founded in 2012 by myself and a gentleman in St Albert, Alberta, Canada. It was meant to bolster the living history program for the Canadian Forces in hopes of bringing better education and understanding to the public on the Second World War as well as veteran awareness. We focus on the First Special Service Force as our main allied representation, which was a special forces unit that operated from 1942 to 1944; comprised of half Americans and half Canadians, it became one of the most respected and feared units in the Italian Campaign. We also have a German contingent to show both aspects of the war but the hope is to educate folks on this era and veterans in general rather than them gaining their perspective from video games and Hollywood.

Thanks, Brian! Can I ask you to give some advice to historic gun collectors?
The first thing that comes to mind is plan and prepare. Otherwise you end up with a hodgepodge collection immediately that reproduces like rabbits in your gun cabinet. But outside of this, do your research, look at what is out there first and avoid those impulse buys. Think of where your main interests may lie, such as what era or type of combat you are interested in; this will affect what direction you might ultimately lean when collecting. If you know your stuff ahead of the game then you will know better what you are looking for and will avoid getting sucked into a void of either fakes, mislabeled pieces or the elusive ‘good deal’ that ends up burning a hole in your pocket so deep that it would make a miner blush. Once you know what you want, look around, don’t jump at the first deal like a schoolboy on prom night.

So you know your sources, you know your material. Take your time looking and look for those unusual markings, those rare configurations. Then, make your buy and then take care of the blasted thing. You toss it in the closet like those brand new gym shoes covered in cobwebs and you’ve wasted your money. Oil, lube, and the like are your friend. I suggest Frog Lube for your outer metal bits, no internal working parts–bad idea. Short and sweet, love it like you would a girl on your wedding day. Take care of it and you will be glad you did.

Brian, thanks for letting us get to know you a little, and good luck with your various interests and obligations. Take care and God bless.

Renee Handley–Advice for School Librarians

I’d like to welcome Renee Handley to “Advice for Everyone.” Thanks for being with us. Can you tell us your occupation?
Public school librarian. Currently with an intermediate school that serves fifth and sixth grades. I have been involved with education, one way or another, for about fifteen years. I was a preschool helper and substitute teacher for a parochial school when my children first started school themselves. I then started teaching art for lower elementary but never had my teaching certification. I thought I eventually would get it, but then started working in a high school library as an assistant and found a true passion and a mentor that would not take no for an answer and she pushed me into pursuing my Master’s degree. I completed my MLIS in December of 2016, and was hired as a librarian for the 2016 – 17 school year.

How old are you?
Fifty. I have no need to hide my age. I spent most of my late 20s and 30s completely in love with my children and everything about them but rather miserable in other aspects of my life. My 40s were a time for me to rediscover who I was and what I wanted out of life and so when I turned fifty this year I wanted to embrace all that I have done and accomplished.

I notice from your picture that you’re a fan of “Doctor Who?” or a fellow Whovian, in other words?
I fall in love with every single doctor. My first doctor was Tom Baker. I was about seven years old and our local PBS station played Dark Shadows, Monty Python and Doctor Who on Saturday nights. My older brother would watch that line up and I wanted to do whatever he did, so I started watching them all as well. The idea of regeneration has always been exciting and I am never disappointed by The Doctor.

Where do you live?
Asheville, North Carolina in a Hobbit Hole. It is a 117-year-old stone cottage. When I moved in, one of my friends looked at it and exclaimed “YOU LIVE IN THE SHIRE!!!” I figure it is either that or the cottage of a wicked witch. I am okay with either.

Do you have a website or a blog or anything where people can learn more about you?
Not yet. This is actually a goal of mine this year, to start a blog about librarianship. I am not exactly sure what my focus will be, though, so it is still ruminating around my brain.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Eyam, Great Britain. It is a little village in Derbyshire Dales. Several years ago, I read a phenomenal historical fiction novel by Geraldine Brooks entitled A Year of Wonders. The book is based around the true story of a small village that was beset by the Bubonic Plague in 1666. The village voluntarily quarantined themselves for a year to try to stop the spread of the disease. Over two-thirds of their population succumbed. I was so fascinated with the story that I gushed about it on social media and a friend of mine, from high school, piped up with “Well, you know that is where I live, right?” I had no clue. She had married a man from this small village and moved there about seven years prior – but I had not seen her since high school and had only recently reconnected with her. I told her that if I ever had the opportunity, I would come visit her. Last year, I took my children to England and Scotland and we made sure to include Eyam on the trip. We stayed in a former stable that had been built in the 1700s and then converted to a home in the late 1800s . It had been in my friend’s husband’s family and was not occupied at the time. It was right across the street from the village church where all the characters that were in the book were buried. It was a completely fascinating town. So incredibly quaint and the people were very friendly and wanted to talk about their claim to fame in history. My children (aged 22 and 19 at the time) counted that as favorite part of our entire trip.

Your favorite meal would be?
I am by no means a “foodie” but I like to be adventurous. So, this is hard to pin down.

Pet peeve?
Inauthentic people. I have always been a person who has been a bit out of step with my peer group, for one reason or another. When I was younger, it bothered me that I couldn’t quite figure out why. When I got older, I began to see the games people feel they need to play in order to make themselves feel special. I often get very angry, but mainly I feel sad for those people and the fact that my friendship will really only be at a surface level with them because I have no idea who they really and truly are.

Favorite book?
Ugh. TOO MANY BOOKS!!!!! I have a lot, and for different reasons.
From childhood, I always had a Nancy Drew mystery tucked under my arm. I was determined that I was going to be a newspaper reporter who solved crimes.
There is a beautiful book called The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. A beautiful story set against the background of the time right after the Spanish Civil War. A graveyard for books, a mystery, a love story. So much.

Pretty much anything by Neil Gaiman, whom I refer to as “Muh Boyfriend” (and my actual The Fella is TOTALLY okay with that). The first book I read by him was Neverwhere, and it still holds a special place for me. But for the past four years, I think I have recommended The Graveyard Book at least once a week to a student. At this point, I honestly think his publisher should give me a bit of a kickback. It is such a wonderful book.

Why is Neil Gaiman a favorite?
I just love so much about him. I first stumbled across Neverwhere in about 2005 , when I really, really needed to escape my own reality. It was the perfect vehicle for that in that it involves an alternate world of an underground London where the disaffected live. Then I began hearing some amazing quotes from him in regards to education. ( “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.” This is a particular favorite.) He speaks with such admiration about education and how to let your imagination flourish, that I jokingly say that he was flirting with me. I had the opportunity to hear him speak at a Storyteller’s night a few years ago. The entire evening was phenomenal, but his presentation of his story was just so immersive. I have always loved the concept of storytelling and I really hope to include it more in my own librarianship. He was once asked if he could decorate a children’s library, what would he include. He said that he would just have the words “…and then what happened?” painted on the wall. I was so incredibly taken with that thought, that I had it tattooed on my arm.

Are you married or have you been?
I was married, and after trying many, many years to make something work that never should have been, we went our separate ways. But I don’t count it as a loss because I have three amazing kids out of it. My oldest daughter is a theatre major at UNCA who has always had so much self confidence. My son is an incredibly smart quirky Viking musician dude, who is trying to figure out his place in the world. My youngest daughter died when she was 23 months old. The official cause of death is still undetermined but is listed as “Sudden Unexplained Death.” It is perhaps related to SIDS but affects children over the age of one. She is still a very present part of all of our lives, even though she passed away in 2004. Her life and death shaped a lot of decisions that we made for ourselves.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
Gosh. So much. As I mentioned, I just finished my master’s degree and the past two years of my life were really crazy with studying. I hermited myself away from a lot of things and even stopped a lot of the things I normally would do for fun, like costuming for theatre. I had to in order to keep focus. I stopped reading for pleasure, and time spent with friends was a rare and wonderful thing. I assumed that I would dive right back into costuming and reading for pleasure and so many other things, but it has taken awhile. I am not sure I am actually going to go back to designing costumes for theatre, though. I loved it, but I am just not sure I want to do that any longer. I think I want to focus on more specialized clothing and costumes.

I have always wanted to travel. That is one of the reasons I joined the Army. But, I never really got that opportunity. I had the opportunity to plan a huge trip with my children last year to the UK and the travel bug has definitely been unleashed. I want to go and see EVERYTHING!!!

If you had the time and funding arranged, where would the next big trip be?
Oh, gosh…. Well, my The Fella and I are planning a trip to Paris next year. We hope to include Prague in it as well. We have a HUGE list of places to visit. He spent several years living in Japan while in the Navy and has traveled extensively in the Pacific Rim, so we thought a trip somewhere that neither of us had gone would be amazing.

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
I broke my arm my last week of Basic Training, in the Army, and had an external fixator applied to my arm because of the way I fell. My hand was shoved up into my arm and the fixator slowly pulled it out and allowed the shattered parts to knit themselves. It took quite a bit longer to heal and so I was assigned to live in the hospital and they gave me a job. I lived there for four months before I was well enough to go on to my advanced training.

I have been involved with theatre since I was in high school, but stepped away from it when I was in college. When I had children, I signed them up for theatre camp as an activity when they were quite young. I ended up being a chaperone and started making costumes for the theatre company. Eventually this led to me having a crazy double life as a costume designer while trying to have my day job and going to grad school.

I served in the Army and Army Reserves as an Intelligence Analyst. I received my BA and tried to work in my field for a couple of years but I was super stressed working in a peripheral field. I grew up in a military family and so I went into a recruiter one day and told them that if they found me one of three jobs I had picked out, I would sign up. They found an analyst position and I left a month later. My parents had no idea I was even interested in the service even though that is where they met and both retired from the Army Reserves. I worked for a Psychological Operations Company, in the Reserves. We were one of the first Reserve units to go into Bosnia in the 90s. I served as a Cultural Analyst. Basically I would find out about the customs of the area and let my soldiers know how to act in order to “win the hearts and minds” of the local populace. I am actually a huge pacifist, and so since our primary job was to train school children how to stay away from land mines, I considered it my own personal Peace Corps.

Can I ask you to offer some advice for school librarians?
DON’T get hung up on the “rules.” I have already, in my short time as a librarian, had parents come to me and ask what their kid should be reading according to Lexile scores or reading norms. I have told them to let their kid guide the reading. If a parent doesn’t like graphic novels because they can’t get past the idea that they are “just comic books” I would tell them to get over it. Kids can’t be forced to like reading and reading things that they aren’t interested in hurts them in the long run. I ascribe to the idea that if someone says they don’t have a favorite book, I will add the word “yet” to the end of that statement.

Renee, thanks much for sharing with us. May the adventures be many and blessed.

Patrick Wirtz–Advice for Aerobatic Pilots

Welcome to the blog, Patrick! Thanks for being with us. Can you tell us what you do for a living?
I’m a business owner. Manufacturing – custom precision machining.

How old are you, and where do you live?
49, and on Henry’s street.

True enough and hi, neighbor! For those who don’t know where our street is, where could we find you on the internet?

Your website says “If Your Project Is Possible, We Will Finish It Now. If Your Project Is Impossible, We Will Finish It Shortly.” Is there a big challenge a client has given you in keeping that pledge you could tell us about?
You would really need to come by the shop so that I could show you several projects we’ve worked on that were very difficult over the years. If a picture is worth a thousand, examples have to be worth ten thousand. Lol

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
It depends on the mood I’m in at the time I’m considering it, but here in the States, Seattle, Sawyer, KS, and all of Wisconsin are very interesting in their own special ways. I’ve also taken a Holy Land tour that included Cairo, Egypt, which was fascinating.

What would people enjoy about Sawyer, Kansas?
Sawyer is a farming area in the Midwest. Vast crops, one mile squares, the quilt of the land. Amber waves of grain.
Ann and I were on a four-wheeler exploring when we came upon these horses in the road:Your favorite meal would be?
This completely depends on my mood: Steak, Italian, Greek, Asian, American. As you can tell when you look at me, I like it all.

Pet peeve?
People who are inconsiderate, which covers a lot of subjects.

Favorite book, or movie, or television show?
Books: The Bible (every year), The Goal. Shows: YouTube, Heartland, NFL football on a cold Sunday afternoon by the fire.

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for….?

Are you married?
Yes, to Ann Greenleaf Wirtz. Any kids? – one, a professor at Seattle University. Grandkids? – two.

What does the professor at Seattle teach?
Arie Todd Greenleaf, Ann’s son, is a Professor of Counseling at Seattle University. He has a PhD in Counseling Education and Supervision. Received his undergrad from Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, his Master’s at Clemson, and his PhD at Univ. of Iowa. He taught at Univ. of Arkansas before going to Seattle.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
I like to fix mechanical things. I can usually just look at something and see a solution if it has a mechanical nature. Since I own a manufacturing business, I can pretty much make anything as well with the different machining equipment we use; just for personal use, years ago I made a fireplace insert, and then a loader for the tractor. Projects like that give me great satisfaction. I enjoy singing and was the former vice-president of The Hendersonville Chorale as well as a former minister of music for about ten years. I’ve substituted leading the choir at our current church, FBC-Hendersonville. I love to see people succeed, especially our young people today; they have so much going against them, it seems.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
Ride an adventure motorcycle, such as a KTM 1090R/1290R, cross-country on the Trans-America Trail. Takes about a month.

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
I have a pilot’s license, and have actually totaled an airplane on a windy day. Loved doing aerobatics! I also used to work at Rose’s department store during high school and Radio Shack after that before college.

Can you tell us about the “airplane totaling” story?
For years, I was one of two or three pilots that volunteered their airplane and time to give charity flights for the Hendersonville Air Museum twice a year. The last time I did this was at the Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, August 30, 2003.

I had given several rides that morning, the weather was clear, but was gusty and variable. On my fourth flight, I had a mother and her young girl aboard. I departed to the south from the Hendersonville Airport and turned east for a large pattern, which was the norm for these charity flights. Right after I turned east the winds changed direction. I suddenly had a tail wind instead of headwind. The aircraft began to rapidly drop, I quickly check my power, checked magnetos, checked carb heat. All were fine. Then I heard the treetops hitting my landing gear skirts. I then put in full flaps to slow my descent rate. All of a sudden one of the tree tops hooked my horizontal stabilizer at the rear of the plane which made me point straight to the ground. I didn’t even have time to pull the throttle till the prop was buried in the ground. The plane was resting with the tail straight up in the air.

Being in the woods and lower than the road all I could see was forest around us. I didn’t realize we were not far from the Blue Ridge CC campus. The mother had a dislocated shoulder and a cut on her forehead. The little girl didn’t have a bruise or cut at all. I had to have multiple stitches in various places. I could go on, but you get the picture, I’m sure. I had to take a very stressful flight review with an FAA official and earned my ability to keep my license. Have it in my pocket always.

Can I ask you to offer some counsel to “aerobatic pilots?”
I always enjoyed doing aerobatics. The plane wasn’t certified for high-G aerobatics, so I had to do the easy, docile maneuvers, LOL.
For instance, when doing a barrel-roll – full throttle, straight and level, pull up on the yoke to get the plane pointed upward at about a 45-degree angle, full left/right ailerons coordinated with rudder. DO NOT let go until you come back around. You don’t want to do a split-S!

For a slight change, instead of just a coordinated rudder with full ailerons, you could use full rudder for a nice snap-roll. The tail of the plane snaps around instead of a gentle roll.

Another nice maneuver is the hammerhead. It’s also the quickest way to do a 180-degree turn.
Again, straight and level, then pull the yoke back hard till the plane is pointed straight up. As it is gaining altitude, close the throttle all the way to idle so the plane decelerates to a stop, essentially “hanging” in the air while pointed straight up. Immediately the plane starts back down backwards as your stomach is left hanging as well. On the way back down (backwards) use full left or right rudder to kick the rear of the plane around…you’re then pointed straight down. Immediately pull back the yoke to level out, and you’re back straight and level in the opposite direction you were going previously. FUN!

Airport fly-bys are fun too. Just like coming in for a landing except it’s full throttle all the way, even during the descent. About 180mph, two to three feet above the runway and then a high-g pull-up at the end. That’ll give an adrenaline rush!

I always say, “Anyone can take off in an airplane, it’s the landing that’s a bit more complicated.” Also, “Never take off in a small plane directly after a large airliner. You WILL lose control of your plane.”

Patrick, thanks much for being with us, and loved the stories. Take care and God bless.