Runabouts to Rockets

President's Message


Runabouts to Rockets
Volume 41 #1-2
January - February 2022

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times!!” Who would/could have predicted that Charles Dickens (channeling Nostradamus?) could be able to foretell the current situation in the United States over 150 years ago (1859). The novel, “A Tale of Two Cities,” (required reading in my sophomore English class) was written before and after the French revolution and is set against the conditions that led up to the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror (sounds eerily familiar to newscasts I listen to now). At least one critic argues that it is an adventure novel because the protagonists are in constant danger of being imprisoned or killed (sounds reminiscent of current events). Of course I remember back in high school hearing doom and gloom about nature (Silent Spring- Rachel Carson) and the future/non-future of mankind (Vietnam, Watergate, nuclear annihilation, etc.) but my father, the eternal pessimist and cynic, actually told me he had faith that humankind would find solutions to these issues. It was such a departure from his usual repartee that I took notice. Among my dad’s usual colorful sayings was “hope for the best, expect the worst and maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised but I doubt it”.

In any event here we are in the midst of the Holiday season as I write this. I have watched George Bailey (It’s a Wonderful Life) despairing and wishing he had never been born only to learn how valuable his living presence had been; I have watched Cousin Eddie emptying the “crapper” from his RV into the sewer drain with the resultant explosion from Grandpa’s cigar/cigarette as part of “Christmas Vacation”. Santa and the reindeer flying into the Christmas night afterward being followed by Clark Griswold bookending this with genuine and poignant observations on Christmas. I have watched Ralphie Parker reminiscing about one particular Christmas “A Christmas Story” when he was nine years old wanting only one thing: a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. “You’ll shoot your eye out kid”. And his strict father coming through for him in the end. And last but not least Scrooge sweating bullets over his immortal soul in “A Christmas Carol” (also by Charles Dickens). I have been reminded by my wife, Stacy, that unless I come to terms with my Oldsmobile sickness I may also be visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future with dire consequences. Okay, okay enough of the Holiday literature and film commentary.


My mother used to observe that I usually had incredibly bad luck followed by incredibly good luck like the worst of times followed by the best of times. Usually the bad events involved car road trips with some adventures traveling to annual Meets of the NAOC (reference cross country driving to Massachusetts from Washington a number of years ago). With and through all these adventures I have met interesting and generally incredibly generous and helpful folks that ensure the trip was memorable and worthy and ultimately successful. The worst of times is usually overtaken by the best of times.

I am ending this rambling with wishes to all NAOC members, family and officers for the absolute best of times in this Holiday Season and in the New Year to come. A special thank you to all who have contributed to NAOC this past year and remembrances of the members and friends we have lost in the past year. Looking forward to our NAOC community reunion in Lansing in August currently being organized by Judy and Doug Badgley and others. Stay well; enjoy the Holidays!



—Rick Winn (#914)
Slaton, Texas​