I met Dudley Hale when we were working together on a frost control contract in Madera, California. Dudley, Tuan (an ex-Vietnamese military helicopter pilot) and I flew our three helicopters into Fresno the day prior to the start of the contract. This is when I introduced Dudley to Diann, his future wife. She happened to be my wife at the time… which probably explains why I’ve enjoyed such positive karma ever since.
Now… I told you that story, so that I can tell you this story:
I was working for a Seattle billionaire as a helicopter pilot, and I, along with his entire flight department (consisting mostly of jet jocks) where attending an HAI convention… somewhere. We’d had a tough morning of walking the convention floor, and had found a group of couches in the middle of a expansive lobby upon which to rest, when I looked up to see Dudley descending upon us. We were all clothed in proper corporate attire, while Dudley was adorned in proper Dudley attire: Levis, plaid shirt, vest, leather baseball cap, work boots, and a crooked smile. Correctly judging my companions, He gave me monstrous hug: “HOW THE FUCK YA DOIN’”
Trying to figure how to explain Dudley to my somewhat button-down fellow employees, I said, “gentlemen please allow me to introduce my husband-in-law, and consummate helicopter pilot, Dudley Hale.” Whereupon, Dudley proceeded to wow them. He gave them his “A” program, and they looked on entranced, their expressions quickly shifting from humor, to admiration, to shock, to horror, and back again. He gave them fifteen minute of Dudley, he pulled them in, he scared them back, he chewed them up, and he spit them out, and then somewhat abruptly, with a genial wave, announced that he had to be on his way. Poof!
To this day, whenever I talk to one of those guys, they always ask after Dudley.