End of the road for an old friend.


Saturday night started off normal , but it proved to be the beginning of the end. We were having a good time together,  but as he had done countless times over the years he started grumbling about midnight, spoiling for a fight. I hoped it would pass, but he wouldn’t calm down. Very late at night it came to a boil, and at 5:30 Sunday morning, Paul Salter drove us both to the Emergency Room.



The monitor in my room at Baptist South in Jacksonville.


Let me explain, so you understand there were a lot of good years also. We had been friends for as long as I could remember. We went everywhere together.We never had a single argument until we were in a wreck 15 years ago.


After the wreck is when he got weird about stuff. He would start pointless arguments over the most petty things, as stupid as what we ate for dinner. Sunday wasn’t our first blow up; over the years we ended up in the hospital or clinic several times. He was tough, and strong enough that he won most of our bouts.

People were really surprised when I still kept him after the stunt he pulled in 2002. I was getting a medical from my AME, and the Doc asked my buddy a question about me that everyone knows to fib about, and the bastard went right ahead and answered it like he had never told a lie in his life. That ‘stunt’ caused me to loose my medical for several years.


Everyone else told me to cut him off, but I didn’t. We had been together so long, and frankly I understood that he had lived his whole life in a very dark place. As time went by, other friends grew more callous to him, they would say things right in front of him, like he “servered no useful purpose ” and that I could live without him. That was really the issue. When the said this I quietly thought to myself than he wouldn’t last long without me. Wether he admitted it or not, I had been pretty much carrying him for years.


This morning the surgeon came into my room. I knew it was bad news because he sat next to me and held my hand. He explained that it was over. When they opened him up there was nothing they could do.  He urged me to think about the early good years, and not to dwell on the battles. He said that it was admirable how long I had stuck by him, he explained that a lot of his kind don’t even make it to 53 these days. His words brought some solace, but in the end, I sure am going to miss my gall bladder.




33 Replies to “End of the road for an old friend.”

    1. loved the Gall Bladder story. Wife went through this 18 years ago and has been fine since.
      If you replace Gall Bladder with Kidney Stone, The story is remarkably similar from my past experience. Cost me a small fortune to keep my medical. MRIs get expensive.

  1. William, sorry to hear about the gall bladder. I know how uncomfortable the attacks can be. My gall bladder got the boot 16 years ago after protesting over a couple slices of bacon pizza. Hopefully it’s not so bad that you can have it removed with a laparoscopic procedure versus a laparotomy. There is life after cholecystectomy, just watch the fatty/greasy foods. As a side note, that’s not a monitor in the picture, it’s an IV pump. Think of it as a programmable variable rate fuel pump.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery.


    1. Ken you’re right, and I learned today that you can set the alarm off 50 times by forgetting and bending your elbow other the IV 90 degrees

  2. get well soon and enjoy the new “diet” your doctor is about to give you.

  3. Well wishes from central Texas towards a speedy recovery. The gall of that guy!

  4. While I truly wish you well, fuck you, You had me in tears thinking that you actually lost someone you care for. Not funny for those of us who truly care for you.

  5. Well done, you had me almost to the end. Get well soon; hope they could borescope him out rather than leave you with a zipper. You probably won’t miss him all that much. My wife doesn’t miss hers at all. Best wishes.

  6. say good by to all your little friends made with cabbage, like coleslaw and sauerkraut, most people I know cant eat these things anymore once the ole gall bladder left the scene. get well soon buddy, dan-o

    1. Dan-o, I am not really into the Kimchi food group, so I will shed few tears. Not if it impeded my ability to drink coffee, I would have them fab it out of the Sharps bucket and sew it back in.

      1. I here ya buddy, I down my first gallon by 6:30 A.M., then I get serious about it, lol

  7. Hopefully it wont wind up yellow tagged and back in the used parts market. Maybe it will show up in the bone yard with other aviation relics. Get well and enjoy the drugs.

  8. Get well soon friend! If ya’ll need anything Tarrytown ain’t that far from you. I was curious though why I felt a disturbance in the movement!

  9. Get well soon William! Had me going there! When will you be up and going again?

  10. Wow… I did NOT see those last two words coming at all… well played sir!!

    And get well soon.

  11. Ever the sense of humor, William. Get well and take care of yourself.

  12. I could not figure out who you were referring to until the very end. Good thing this did not happen 100 years ago, much better tech now. Best Wishes for a speedy recovery.

  13. William,
    You had me for a few minutes. Didn’t know if it was you or Grace. Quickly realized that it was either your gale bladder or your appendix. You will be able to eat just about anything that you want, maybe not as much as before. Doctors told me that I should have mine removed better than 30 years ago, still have it, no ill effects. Take care and I will see at Barnwell.

    Bill Mills

  14. I wish you a speedy recovery William. I finally had mine removed about 3 years ago. I too had an episode (about 15 years prior) that doubled me over with pain. I consulted with a specialist and he advised that I have my gall bladder removed. I declined due to no further symtoms and lived happily until a pre-op diagnostic for an unrelated procedure discovered multiple polyps in the gall bladder. I was then advised to it removed due to a strong possibility of a future attack or having the polyps turn cancerous.

    Although I received all the dire warnings on how my diet would have to change, I haven’t had to alter a thing; perhaps I am one of the lucky ones. Life is good!

    Get better my friend – we all need your unwavering spirit and experience in experimental aviation and more specifically the Corvair movement.


    Jerry Pryce

  15. Had to read twice to understand, aparently the first time didn’t reach the last 2 words. Have a speedy recovery William and RIP to your friend mr. gall blader

  16. I hope you are home by now and recovering quickly. Looking forward to seeing you at the Zenith Open Hangar next month, Best wishes!

    1. Jimmy, Vern drove me home in the multi colored Suburban today. The nurses aid that help in my room wheelchaired me to the front door and was surprised to learn aircraft mechanics are less wealthy than nursing assistants good laugh all the way around. See you at Zenith

  17. Hi William. Im sorry you had to go through the pain. But you know I had the same surgery earlier this year and I don’t miss the bastard one bit and Im glad he is gone he is the kidney stones brother and as far as I’m concerned they can both burn in hell. Take it easy during your recovery it takes awhile. I like and understand your humor if it offends anyone then they should not read it and get over themselves. Get well!!!

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