Though Mr. Harbert was very wealthy
you sure could not tell it from his manner. Being always on
top of things though did require that he run in the right circles, for
While we still only had the Jet Ranger I had been told I would be flying Nelliebelle up to Pennsylvania the following week and meeting Mr. Harbert for some local coal mine inspections. I was also told to wear a coat and tie and that Nelliebelle was to be looking her very best for the trip. It took me most of the following Sunday but I got Nelliebelle washed and waxed so nice it would have made the Koreans proud. I put the "VIP" carpeting in and had her looking fine for the trip.
Mr. Harbert was looking at old coal piles throughout the area and the feasibility of rewashing the coal, with the new technology we were using at two of our own jobs, thus recovering a good percentage of the lost coal. He also wanted to make his presents know at a very exclusive club, just for "Millionaires", that was in the area and one that he was a member of.
Before we began taking a look at the coal piles and getting dust over my nice wax job, Mr. Harbert had us fly over to the Millionaire's club. He had me land right in front of the main entrance and he and Mr. Cook and one other went in, I was to join them as soon as the ship was shut down.
The place was magnificent and I felt as if I was in some famous castle somewhere in Europe. Mr. Harbert showed us around and even took us to the upstairs suites that were all very spacious and luxurious. We then made our way to a private bar just for the sportsman of the group. Don Cook was kidding Mr. Harbert about all the pampering being spooned onto all the guest. We sat down near the big picture window that opened up onto the hunting preserve that was the back of the estate. Three "hot rum tidies" and one hot chocolate were ordered. Boy! Did those tidies ever smell good.
About this time a very elderly man walked slowly by that was obviously being pampered by a private gentlemen escort. The guy had to be all of 85 and had to walk with little steps. He was decked out in very heavy and expensive hunting gear. I thought it funny that his belt line was way up on his chest and guessed that the pants had to have been made that way to get that fit. Mr. Cook brought that to Mr. Harbert's attention and Mr. Harbert told him to speak softly or someone might hear. The escort was carrying the gentlemen's double barrel shotgun. As they went by we could easily hear the escort proudly proclaiming the shot the gentlemen had just accomplished that had bagged him his big buck deer.
Mr. Cook couldn't pass up a shot on that and whispered to us they probable sat him down in a soft chair and left him by himself for 10 minutes before giving the signal to let the deer out of the cage. He said that the buck was probably trained to walk from the cage to a hidden food pile and that the walk would take him in front of the hunter. Mr. Harbert quietly laughed at that one as well but reminded us that he only fished there. Mr. Cook laid into that one as well and said that the stream was probable stocked with big fish that had just been starved slight. Mr. Harbert then said that it was indeed hard to catch those fish with only a fly rod.
About this time the head pamperor of the bar came over and told Mr. Harbert he was glad to see him again. He then asked Mr. Harbert, if he had the time, if he would consider giving fishing lessons to some of the newer and less skilled members. Mr. Cook had to turn away on that one and it was all we could do to hold straight faces in order not to embarrass Mr. Harbert. Mr. Harbert told him that he did not have the time right now but might consider it on a future trip. The gentlemen then went on to others that needed attention.
While we were waiting on the drinks to come Mr. Harbert told us to be quiet and we heard two gentlemen, in gray suits on Mr. Harbert's side of the room, talking about whose helicopter that was out front. We heard one say that he had heard it belonged to some rich construction man from Alabama. Mr. Harbert just looked at us and smiled.
When we left he had us fly over some of the huge estates that surrounded the club. The one that stood out the most of the one owned by the "Melons", of "The Melon Foundation" fame. Besides having a huge mansion, they had the back woods cleared away for maybe a mile or more. The 100 yd or so wide clearing had huge light poles that went from the back of the mansion to the top of the hill where the clearing ended. Mr. Harbert told us that they would turn the lights on at night and you would see deer by the hundreds grazing there.
The next few days found us flying all over eastern Pennsylvania looking at coal piles. Towards the end of the week they left in the airplane and I flew back to Middlesboro. The trip sure had been an interesting one for me. It also reminded me of how lucky I was to be flying for Mr. Harbert. He truly was a rare person indeed and the people he had hand picked to be around him were all of the same caliber as well with the exception of me. I was learning fast though.