It was 1971 and I was an intern in the Baylor Medical School system in Houston. One day my resident, Sandy Lewis, said “How would you like to take a ride on the Goodyear blimp?” It was an unusual question, since it did not involve medical issues, but I replied something like, “What?”, and then indicated that it would be a fun thing and that I would like to go.

He later gave me the appointed time, and Valo and I drove to the blimp base north of Houston and signed in. It was a fairly windy day, and we had to wait for a while to see if they would allow the blimp to fly. We eventually got the green light and we climbed aboard. I think we were the only ones in the gondola besides the pilot, and I counted 16 men around us holding on to ropes to tether the helium-filled machine.

Finally, we were turned loose and slowly ascended under power from the two engines turning props. At times the huge ship would pitch forward, causing us to slide forward in our seats, and I could see why it was referred to as an “airship”. After about 20 minutes or so, and having been passed by a small plane as though we were standing still, we turned around and were still quite close to the blimp base!

We slowly descended and actually bounced a time or two before being completely corralled. We climbed out, having shared a rare experience, the reason for which I never really knew.  When I asked Sandy how he was able to arrange this, he said something about having bought a set of Goodyear tires recently. Did he win some contest? Why didn’t he go? I just remain thankful to him and to God for being blessed with another amazing experience!

Dr. J

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