The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

some lights always burn bright in San Francisco

December20

this post isn’t meant to be news. just some thinking about my Dad whom was neither a football player, nor citizen of San Francisco. just my Dad.

last night the San Francisco 49ers beat the Pittsburg Steelers in unique fashion. a lot of the details are being reported elsewhere, and are in fact, unimportant to me.

but, the 49ers were, improbably, very important to my Dad. he grew up, literally, dirt poor in South Dakota and Nebraska. his path from poverty to that of an elite military officer through the Army Air Corps that became the the Air Force, somehow equated with his views of San Francisco as the epitome of advantage, opportunity and example. I don’t know a lot of the reasoning around that, but I do know that Dad was happy whenever I saw him, there.

and, when Dad was happy his laugh was genuine, and his smile could light up an entire room, and one evening in particular, an entire stadium.

last night the power kept going out at Candlestick Park, and that was bigger news than the 49ers victory even though it’s certainly been too long since they found the play-off’s.

“The Stick” powered-up in 1960, the year I was born, and the 49ers played their first game in that place in 1971. Dad and I were there. he was just back from another tour in Viet Nam.

it should be noted that The Beatles gave their final full concert at Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966. and, inexplicably Dad was there, as well. Dad was something of an enigma, to many. amongst Dad’s favorite songs he firmly counted John Lennon’s Imagine. of course, by way of karma, that song found it’s own light by Lennon’s hand in 1971. I think dad may have viewed himself as a world citizen (a significant part of the songs message). that may explain why he fought so hard for his country and relished the air of San Francisco.

in any event, I spent most of that day nestled under my Dad’s arm while he roared with the crowd. the details of the game were meaningless to me, as were the hot dogs. there was a moment when Dad looked at me and said, “I love this town and this team. Good things are possible here. I sure do love you, son”. although I can’t immediately recall who actually won that particular contest, I can tell you that the 49ers won their second straight divisional title in 1971 with a 9-5 record. they also won their divisional playoff game against the Washington Redskins by a 24-20 final score. I know that because Dad talked about it. and I always listened to my Dad. Dad also loved the Redskins, but mostly, and evidently, because they were associated with Washington, DC. and, Dad was a patriot, albeit not a New England fan.

so… whenever I see the 49ers play, especially at Candlestick Park, I immediately think of Dad and his electric smile.

I love you Dad. I miss you so much. I coach a lot of other guys’ sons in Lacrosse now. it’s all bitter sweet. I try to be a beacon in my own right. I really do. but, thanks for showing me the way and lighting my path. and, you know I’m listening to, Imagine, by John Lennon (for Dad). but, check this out… while I share that particular Lennon’s effort with you all, consider the Imagine cover by Taio Cruz. Dad would have appreciated it. in fact, I would have called him to talk about it. so, I’ll share it with you.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

the face of my Father

October4

sometimes people listen to me (even my fourteen year old daughter Haley Anne). and, when they, that “collective they” do, sometimes they hear me talk about “remembering the face of my father”.

I do use that “device” for both my earthly and heavenly father. but, today, it’s about Dad.

I’m doing so because I’m remembering him. it’s the best way, I think, to honor someone – by recalling something they did that’s worth comment. and, in the case of the description that follows I think this comes in the form of something I believe happened, and ironically, only a few men would have witnessed, but was likely a defining moment for the man most of us can never be.

over the course of a life, and in this case, it was my young life, we pick up on things about the people around us. I was lucky, just enough perhaps, to have Dad in my life for most of twenty five years. in that sophomoric period of my existence my perspective had to be skewed by perception and lack of some information. but, my sense of circumstances leads me to an image of my Dad in a tough spot.

imagine this… or, this is what I picture the sort of man my father was…

Col. Clifford D. Cork USAF

it’s likely 1969 and Dad is serving one of his tours of duty in Viet Nam. eventually he would become one of the youngest Air Force officers of his era to command a Wing of B-52’s (Stratofortress) /1 under the vaunted Strategic Air Command (SAC), but also do it from the navigators chair. the B-52 was capable of altitudes that exceeded 35,000 feet. it’s monsoon season, so his plane has travelled across the storm-tossed sea dropping down through unimaginable weather, hitting turbulence that lifted and dropped the aircraft 3000 feet at a time, turning the crews stomaches from twisted knots to mush. Dad had to take turns puking into a bucket between his boots that are all but frozen to the deck, and fight his own mind-numbing fear to speak calm commands to his pilot through his air mask/ helmet radio. his primary objective (other than to lead under what he taught me was: “being a steely-eyed-missile-man”), was to use a set of simple tools (i.e. rulers, pencils, and maps) and his brilliant mind to form complex calculations that would guide his crew with pin-point accuracy to drop their payload on the right target – and, not innocent civilians.

B-52 Damaged During Turbulence

Dad once told me, something to the effect: “there were times when we were bouncing up and then down so hard and fast that all I could think of through the screaming groans of the tortured wings was that they would shear right off the fuselage”.

I knew my Dad, sort of. I don’t, and sincerely, believe he was a brave man. in fact, I understand there was much in life he feared (i.e. the loss of my Mom, and poverty). however, his courage is unfathomable. he put himself in that situation countless times, and did it better than most men that shared that chair with him (many of the B-52’s built saw service in excess of fifty years).

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

_________________

1/ Dad was one of the few SAC officers that also commanded a Missile Wing (silos). this made him unusual both in his spheres of responsibility, but his incalculatable ability to learn and lead.

by the way…

in January of 1964, a B-52D carrying two nuclear bombs suffered a structural failure in flight that caused a fire to break-out on-board. apparently over the course of emergency maneuvers the tail section sheared off. four crewmen ejected successfully before the aircraft crashed near outside of Lincoln, Nebraska. several crewmen perished. the pilot was unable to eject, and died in the aircraft. both weapons were recovered. this was one of several incidents caused by failure of the vertical stabilizer.

my Dad was part of that crew. so, there is some perspective for you, that my Dad had to carry with him going forward. and, that is another story that’s currently percolating in my head. I remember that day… I was watching television and I saw my Dad’s face appear on the screen just as my Mom took a telephone call from “the wives network”. I recall her hollow: “oooh God, …Cliff”. But, Dad came home. He always smelled good.

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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