…Well my time went so quickly

The day’s first offshore flight was never an upbeat journey. It was far too early, especially after a typical fortnight of fun and frolic. But we’d all had our two weeks on “the beach.” Now like clockwork, we were at the Aberdeen heliport again, making ready for the devil’s payment of two weeks on a North Sea rig.

At precisely 0600 the chopper lifted off, with two pilots and 26 mournful men clad in Day-Glo orange survival suits, each anticipating the 14 grueling twelve-hour shifts that loomed ahead. At least we were treated to a spectacular sunrise.

In 1983 cassette tapes were the favored musical medium (remember?) and just prior to take-off the pilots would allow you to pass one up.  Then they’d theatrically make a choice from the pile and play it for those who wished to blot out the old Sikorsky S-61’s many sounds (but not shakes) on the headphones tethered to every seat.

The only tape of mine that was ever chosen was Tom Wait’s “Closing Time” and it was the very first track on the album (as we used to refer to them) that set the stage for one of the more poignant hour-long passages to the Brae Alpha Field, some 150 miles off the Scottish coast.

The helicopter rose like a fly, vertically at first and then forward, slowly gaining height and speed and soon you could see the sun beginning to crack the horizon out over the cold, roiling bay. And then the music, yes my music, began to play.

The song that brought wistfulness to the demeanor of some of society’s coarsest members (me included, I suppose), while the creaking chopper swayed and the headlights of the early morning traffic shined from down below, is today’s selection. Listen and picture if you will:

 “Well my time went so quickly…”

[What was that he said? You know…it bloody well did too.]

“…As I pulled away slowly, feeling so holy, God knows, I was feeling alive…Now the sun’s coming up, I’m riding with Lady Luck…Freeway cars and trucks…Stars beginning to fade, and I lead the parade, just a-wishing I’d stayed a little longer…”

[By now a few tears were welling up in the eyes of a Geordie roughneck across the aisle.]

 “And it’s six in the morning, gave me no warning; I had to be on my way. Well there’s trucks all a-passing… and the lights all a flashing…”

[On the song goes, describing a completely different scenario and yet achingly true to this very experience, while our chopper continued to gain momentum and altitude and jarred onward; leaving behind the last visible remnants of a comparatively happy world, so preferable to the dreary one that awaited us. And away we flew, hanging on to that last image of “terra firma”…away out over the shore…and then the sea…]

 “…Now the sun’s coming up, I’m riding with Lady Luck… freeway cars and trucks, freeway cars and trucks, freeway cars and trucks…”

LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Monday 12 March  

Ol’ ‘55

 Well my time went so quickly,

It went lickety-splitley out to my ol’ ’55

As I pulled away slowly, feeling so holy

God knows, I was feeling alive

 Now the sun’s coming up

I’m riding with Lady Luck

Freeway cars and trucks

Stars beginning to fade

And I lead the parade

Just a-wishing I’d stayed a little longer

Oh, Lord, let me tell you that the feeling’s getting stronger

 And it’s six in the morning

Gave me no warning

I had to be on my way

Well there’s trucks all a-passing me

And the lights are all flashing

I’m on my way home from your place

 And now the sun’s coming up

I’m riding with Lady Luck

Freeway cars and trucks

Stars beginning to fade

And I lead the parade

Just a-wishing I’d stayed a little longer

Oh, Lord, let me tell you that the feeling’s getting stronger

And my time went so quickly

I went lickety-splitley out to my Ol’ ’55

As I pulled away slowly, feeling so holy

God knows, I was feeling alive

Now the sun’s coming up,

I’m riding with Lady Luck,

Freeway cars and trucks

Freeway cars and trucks

Freeway cars and trucks…

 

 

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