So this gentleman calls
me the other day and says he's planning to write a book about the history of
Griffiss Air Force Base, which I would love to see happen. Griffiss was a
great base and deserves a great history book.
I didn't get too excited, though. If I had $1 for every time someone told me
they were planning to write a book, but never did, I'd have enough money to
retire, and live well.
Saying you are going to write a book and actually writing a book are two
separate things. True, a few people actually do what they say they're going
to do, but even after it is written, the book is far from a reality.
Getting a publisher is difficult. It goes something like this:
Publisher: "Do you have an agent?"
Writer: "Not yet."
Publisher: "Come back and see me when you have one."
Writer: "I'd like you to represent me."
Agent: "Have you had anything published?"
Writer: "Not yet."
Agent: "Come back and see me when you do."
Trust me, getting a book published is not for those who get easily
Despite all that, I let the would-be author ask me questions about Griffiss,
a place I once worked, a place where I took my very first flying lesson. If
you couldn't land on that long Griffiss runway, you couldn't land anywhere.
As my flight instructor, whose fulltime job was flying F-106 Delta Darts,
once told me, "This will spoil you forever. Not all runways are this long or
In fact, very few runways are that long or that wide.
In any event, I answered what questions I could about Griffiss Air Force
Base. It brought back good memories. GAFB brings back good memories for many
I also made suggestions on things the writer ought to include in his book. I
always enjoy telling someone how to do their job. It's so easy to do.
But I didn't tell him about the time I went flying with the 49th Fighter
Interceptor Squadron, which was based at Griffiss and which had the job of
scrambling jets whenever Soviet aircraft got too close to the East Coast.
The 49th did the job perfectly. After all, during the Cold War the Reds
never made it past Boston.
And I didn't tell the would-be author how I once got to fly an F-106 for a
few minutes. I think I'll save that story.
Did I mention I'm planning on writing a book?
Joe Kelly is the editor and publisher of The Boonville Herald & Adirondack
Tourist and THE GRIFF.