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August 18, 2015
Four PANDA Antagonists gathered at my hacienda to discuss The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. History tells us that the Wright Brothers were the first to get an airplane into the air for a sustained period of time. That’s all the information that had been available till now. What McCullough did was to dig through archives, newspaper clippings, and old photos to find out more. What happened after that first flight?
The book follows the brothers from the very beginning, studying birds for hours on end and then converting that knowledge to their design of the first flying machine. Once their feat was accomplished—the art of flying—our government was not interested in helping to finance and further their accomplishment. Germany and France did step up and show interest.
Their constantly improving airplane was a big success and money did eventually come into being. What struck us PANDAs the most was the constant presence of the Wright’s sister, Kathleen, who supported them throughout their adventure. She eventually married at the age of 59. The social lives of the brothers normally involved dealing with business people, occasional kings and heads of state, usually without any other female involvement. But Kathleen did her share of keeping things on an even keel for her brothers. In short, Wilbur and Orville were workaholics. They did not know better.
McCullough’s research was flawless. It probably took him years to gather all the information needed for this book. This publication is a real eye opener for anyone remotely interested in history.
Oh yeah, we did take a break after conversation steered into the current political scene. My wife never seems to amaze us, and put together a spread to rival royalty. Pastrami, chicken slices, cheese, a very special olive baguette from Trader Joe’s. Mini-brie cups with pepper jelly and blueberry topping was an attention getter. Roasted red pepper hummus with pita chips and grapes. This was accompanied by mini-fruit pies (strawberry, blueberry, and peach). Some soft drinks and coffee topped the menu.
After satisfying our hunger, it was back to the ranch and into meeting mode. There was some discussion of the political fiasco emerging regarding “The Donald” and others. The consensus of our little group was that we, as a country, are in deep, deep trouble. Stand by for further.
Looking forward to our future read … Dead Wake by Erik Larsen which deals with the sinking of the Lusitania during World War I.
Our hearts and prayers are sent to one of our PANDA members.