The Day I Almost Met Neil Armstrong

My mother was dying of ovarian cancer. As she neared the end I asked her “Mom, what do you want us to do with your body?”

She replied, “Oh I don’t know... why don’t you have my body cremated and spread my ashes across the Muskogee Indian Reservation near Shawnee?”. “Ok mom, I’ll do that”, I replied. My mother was a registered Muskogee Indian.

Fast forward 6 months later when my dad and I and two of my siblings, in a rented plane, were in the landing pattern at Shawnee Regional Airport after having spread my mom’s ashes over the Indian Reservation a few miles east of Shawnee, Oklahoma. As I turned from my base leg to final, I saw the corporate jet that been cleared behind me for landing on a straight-in approach. He was carrying a lot of speed and I was a little upset that he was going to land very close behind me. Nevertheless, I landed safely, taxied to the FBO ramp, and exited the plane quickly as I had to pee very badly. “Hey Dad, would you mind tying down the plane, I gotta run to the head in the FBO?!?”

I was standing in front of the urinal taking care of business when I noticed out of the corner of my eye a gentleman, about 6 feet tall, nattily dressed in a light green glen plaid suit, sally up to the urinal next to me. I turned a little further towards him for some reason and immediately blurted out “ Neil Armstrong?!?”. He quickly replied, without skipping a beat, “I hope you don’t want to shake my hand right now young man!”

Neil had just landed in the jet behind me and was in Shawnee, Oklahoma to address the Shawnee Rotary Club at the request of a fellow astronaut, Gordon Cooper, who was from Shawnee, Oklahoma.

When Neil came out of the men’s room behind me, he was immediately engulfed by his entourage, and I missed the opportunity to complete the impromptu introduction.

- Dave F.

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