The "Show-Me State" showed me a good time. Part 1 "Sam Elliot"
I knew this was going to be a great trip the moment I sat down in the plane at LAX and this Sam Elliot look-alike was next to me. He was wearing headphones and drumming away on his knees with his hands. Given his look, I assumed he was listening to Country, but later I found out it was The Doors and The Rolling Stones. He worked for an oil drilling company that set up oil and gas rigs all over the world, but recently their work was mostly focused in the southeast Asia region. He’s worked with locals setting up rigs on the India-Pakistan border as hostile jets patrolled overhead, in the jungles of Cambodia where bomb ordinances left over from the Vietnam War lurked nearby (and controlled disposal explosions occurred hourly), and in southern Bangladesh where highways are paved over landfill dikes made of open-air garbage.
“Sam Elliot” was on his way home to Wyoming. Chuckling, he spoke with his deep and raspy voice, “We [Wyoming] would love for you to come visit, have a great time and spend your money… And then get the hell out”. Despite his isolationist joking, he was a friendly and honest guy.
As the plane pulled up to the gate he revealed that his wife passed away last Fall in a car accident while he was working abroad. “That’s life” he muttered. People in the airplane aisle expressed their condolences, however he waved them off. “I loved her, but we were like oil and vinegar”.
He smiled. “You know she shot me once. It was accident. She handed the gun to me and said, ‘Here, your turn’.”