Two German Shepherds Wearing Flying Goggles
Manfred von Richtofen and Werner Voss . . . best friends . . .
. . . two of the most famous German fighter pilots of the First World War, 1914 – 1918
Two weeks ago, I was heading back to California after a trip to North Dakota. While driving through Wyoming, the driver side window of my car suddenly crashed down inside the door and shattered with a loud thunk.
Suddenly, the wind was blowing through my hair.
In my imagination, my very sedate family van was suddenly turned into an open cockpit, wind-in-the-wires, WWI British Sopwith Camel fighter plane.
(My wife, Jackie, says I have an active imagination.)
Anyway, fifty miles down the road, I’m standing in line inside Mac’s Steakhouse (McDonalds, the hamburger place) waiting for my order when through the restaurant window I see two German shepherds in the bed of a Flying Circus red pickup truck.
I quickly race outside to my car to grab my camera, waving hurriedly to the driver to slow down just a little so I can take a picture before the shepherds disappear from the parking lot.
Seeing these two guys with their flying goggles in their red, open cockpit flying machine, I know for sure these guys are none other than Manfred and Werner, after Manfred von Richtofen and Werner Voss, two of the most famous German fighter pilots of the First World War.
As you can see in the photo, Manfred is barking at me, just as the real Manfred (von Richtofen) would be barking at me with his twin Spandau air-cooled machine guns spitting red hot 7.92mm spitzer boat-tail bullets through the fabric wings of my Sopwith Camel. Werner (Voss) is watchfully flying cover for his pal, Manfred.
The total time of my contact with Manfred and Werner in the parking lot was probably no more than 3.5 seconds, very much like a real “dog fight” in the sunlit sky over the Western Front in 1917.
Manfred and Werner (in their red, open cockpit flying machine) then zoomed away to the right, while I (in my imaginary olive drab Sopwith Camel fighter) zoomed away to the left.
Wow! How great was that? Thank you, Lord!
I just experienced the most spectacular, split-second, unexpected photo opportunity, in Wyoming of all places, with Manfred and Werner . . . and I’m very okay with my active imagination.