Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

I Was Hit by an Airplane!

Posted July 24, 2007

We all have a story to tell. Some of us have lots of stories. Strange stories. Funny stories. Heartfelt stories. Sad stories. Inspirational stories.

Today let's concentrate on the strange. What is the strangest thing that has happened to you?

I'll start with a story from my college days. Morganton buddy Steve Gregory was a popular guy. His dad owned a jewelry store and Steve flew a plane. He was an excellent pilot.

One day we flew to a small airport in the Triad. It was Steve, Jimmy Williams and me. Smooth landing by Steve. No problem. Not until we walked up the sidewalk to our car. A rookie pilot was practicing taxiing on the runway and got too close to the pedestrian sidewalk. I was walking in front of Steve and Jimmy. The left wing of the single engine Cessna passed right above Steve's head. But since I'm a good bit taller the wing hit me hard right right in the back of the neck. The impact knocked me down but not out.

I got up, dusted myself off, chatted briefly with the profusely apologetic pilot and went on about my business. I figured I had suffered much tougher hits on the gridiron in high school. Still, I went to the hospital to check things out.

You should have seen the look on the nurse's face when I said: "Yes, ma'am I've just been hit by an airplane." She exclaimed: "Doctor! Doctor! Can you take a look at this poor young man!"

A strange day in the life of Bill Leslie. What was a strange day in your life?


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  • bleslie Jul 25, 2007

    drnc - I loved your comment! My best friends say the same thing.

    These are all excellent stories. Thanks for sharing. How big was the mailman's truck?

  • armyblues Jul 24, 2007

    Well i wasn't hit an airplane but in my teens years my brother and i on leaving a neighbor's house were being chased by their dog,I tried to run as fast as i could as i could fell the dog's breath on my legs but to my amazement the dog passed me and continued to chase my brother had been in front of me.

  • davidpmcknight Jul 24, 2007

    Bill, don't you think you'd better team up with Merle Haggard when he comes to Raleigh next month and do a vocal duo on "Silver Wings?"

    A surprising day for me was in early 1975 when I was returning to West Berlin after a day trip to East Berlin in the formerly divided city. An attractive female East Berlin border official noticed a "Made in Czechoslovakia" label inside the violin I was traveling with which I actually had acquired back in North Carolina. Was I illegally bringing it out of Eastern Europe, she wanted to know. No, I said, it really belonged to me.

    Well, how about playing it, she suggested. So I launched into the "Orange Blossom Special." "Genug!" ("Enough!") she exclaimed, but I pretended not to understand and kept sawing away, as an entire assembly of grinning East German officials gathered around, clapping and cheering, much to her embarrassment.

    But for once, "The Station of Tears" was all-smiles.

  • Riverracer Jul 24, 2007

    Wow - I guess I've led a dull life! And that is not such a bad thing.

  • maintman Jul 24, 2007

    Back around 1981, a buddy borrowed his brother's new Jeep so we could go to Wendy's; this was about 1:00 a.m., in Fayetteville. As we made our way home, he lost control of the Jeep, it spun, rolled through a chain-link fence, and down a hill. He was trapped underneath. I was desperate, and headed across the street to an apartment complex to get some help and call an ambulance.

    After pounding on several doors, I finally got two guys to come out and help roll the Jeep off him. The ambulance showed up and took him to the hospital, and I got a ride back to the house, where I had to tell his brother that his new Jeep was wrecked.

    A couple of years later, another friend brought a friend of his over to the house. We were sitting at the table talking, and the guy kept looking at me. Finally, he said "You look familiar; I think I've seen you somewhere before." Sure enough, he turned out to be one of the guys that helped us out that night. Weirdest coincidence I've ever been part of.

  • shellyleslie Jul 24, 2007

    Bill, I was run over by the mailman! Yes. I'm serious. I lived on a dead end street. I was crossing the street to my neighbor's house as my mother watched from our porch. She watched her little 5 year old toddle across the street, the trip and fall in the street. Our mailman finished his delivery at our mailbox and drove right over me! He had no idea I was there. Luckily the wheels straddled me and I survived with a few scratched knees and a real appreciation for knowing how to safely cross the street. My mother? It's 34 years later and I still don't think she's recovered.

  • drnc Jul 24, 2007

    This explains a lot.

  • bleslie Jul 24, 2007

    Good ones. I always wanted to fly model planes but never got around to it. With my luck, it's probably a good thing.

    Speaking of relatives a woman emailed me today asking if the Jimmy Williams I mentioned in the blog could possibly be her half brother whom she hasn't seen in years.

    And I know what it's like to be lost in the French countryside and my experience was quite positive and adventuresome as well.

  • owlady Jul 24, 2007

    Bill, I Was Kicked Off A Train !

    When I was 20 years old and traveling in Europe with a friend, we bought what we thought were round-trip train tickets to get us from Germany to France. On the return trip back to Germany, at about Midnight, and it was snowing(February), the train stopped in the middle of an unknown area of France and we were told to get off the train. We found out that our tickets were NOT round-trip and we had not paid for the return trip. We were immediately removed from the train. We thumbed for a ride until a nice young couple picked us up and drove us to a hotel for the night. We did not speak French, but they seemed to know what we needed. I will never forget that adventure!

  • Travised Jul 24, 2007

    Bill, sounded like your ears needed checking back then; or the pilot should have hit the brakes.

    How often do you run into a distant relative (shoestring) that you hadn't seen in a decade?

    I was heading out to see a friend and boarded a micro bus. Turns out I knew the driver. Spotted her when entering the route. I asked her if she use to drive for a school district, had a kid, if her name was xxxxx. He gave me the oddest look as if she should know me. The front seat was open so I grabbed it. At the NeXT stop she asked me after chewing over it WHO I was. I ended up telling her. She then remembered from back then.

    Updated her on the distant family she knew of (and her side of the family) As well as my fam. Talk about strange. It was her last run for the day and a hot one as well, so she was nice enough to run me to the house I was visiting so I didn't have to walk a mile from the stop (last stop on the route).




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Bill Leslie