John (traditional format 3rd person)
John Hannibal Doe lived most of his life hating his middle name, that was until the movie Silence of the Lambs came out. As he likes to say, “I wear it loud and proud—it makes people think twice.”
John was born in St. Cloud, Florida, the only child of Gilbert and Leeann Doe. He was eighteen years old before he ever went anywhere, but when it was time, boy did he go places. He enlisted in the Navy because he wanted to be a pilot. At first that sounds like a mistake, but in reality, you had a better chance of flying and flying more hours in the Navy than you did in the Air Force. However, with no college and a sketchy high school record, they decided to make him an A-6 mechanic. The A-6 Intruder was a twin-engine attack aircraft, and according to John, the unexpected career change was the best thing that ever happened to him. They lost three pilots and two navigators. One bombardier/navigator was a POW for three years.
While John served in Vietnam, the Navy found itself running short on avionics technicians, and he was chosen to fill in. John learned to enjoy working on jet engines when he was a mechanic, but it turned out that when it came to electronics, he didn’t have to work hard at all. The learning came easy, and it didn’t take long before he was considered an expert. After the service, he went to work at Eastern Airlines, and when they went out of business, American scooped him up. Both companies truly valued his expertise and John made sure they paid for it too.
In spite of his success, his ego always stayed in check. If you became one of his close-knit friends at work and you were having a particularly rough day, he’d tap you on the shoulder and say, “See that pilot over there? I make three times his salary, and I bring my lunch to work in a brown paper bag.” He only pointed out the snobby pilots, usually after they said something stupid. That’s as close as John would ever get to a braggadocios remark. And when John tapped you on the shoulder like that, you knew without being told that whatever he said didn’t go any further.
John and Abby met in the parking lot at Miami International Airport. They started out fighting over a parking space, but things got better from there. After getting married, they spent the rest of their lives working hard and raising their family. John brought home the bacon and Abby pretty much did everything else. They have two daughters, both of whom John spoils and Abby sets straight.
Then, before they knew it, it was time to retire and take it easy. John told Abby to sell everything and buy a really nice RV, which she did after some arm twisting. They toured the entire United States one road at a time, and when they couldn’t drive, they flew. It took two years and a few months but when it was all over, John brought Abby back to St. Cloud, and that’s where they stayed.
When John isn’t helping his friends fix their airplanes, he’s flying his Cessna 172 Skyhawk. Flying or anything having to do with flying, was never a hobby, it was his life. But that doesn’t mean John can’t find time to relax. His hobbies are bowling and beer. There isn’t anything very complicated about either which is why he likes them. He isn’t much of a churchgoer, but he finds his way there once in a while, though only when Abby or at least one of the girls goes with him. He never attends church alone.
(to be continued)