A Goofy Grandfather Conversation Inspired a Book 15 Years Later

Goofy Grandparent Conversation that led to a book.

My Grandfather

My grandfather, having worked at White Sands Missile Range for a number of years, retired in 1979, and he spent nearly 30 years enjoying life.

He was reclusive, spending most of his time programming, building computers, and playing chess against a computer. He spoke very little until he moved to Florida. It was at this time that he opened up to me about some interesting subjects ranging from ‘time as a fourth dimension’ to tests he participated in with nuclear weapons. Some of these stories were from his work experience at White Sands, while other subjects weren’t as clear. He mastered the art of saying much while saying very little, never crossing the line on classified information.

I started to discern his awareness of many projects that have been classified. There had been sightings but often were mistaken for as Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). Technically, those observors were correct: those objects were unidentified, were flying and were objects.

Conversations with my Grandfather

Back in December 2008, I visited my grandparents, who by this time had retired in Roswell, New Mexico (Yep…we know where this is going). This was a time in my life when my marriage was falling apart, I wasn’t where I wanted to be in my career, and everything around me seemed gloomy. I looked forward to only spending time with my kids, pushing myself in study with sips of Scotch and whiskey, and escaping reality with up to four cigars a day.

Which such bad habits, my feelings became more difficult to control.

Thankfully, my grandfather never judged me. Rather, he saw all the good things I had been doing in my life, and he opened up more about his own experiences, and as strange as it may seemed, there were many parallels between his life and mine.

His more humorous stories involved his car and plane during World War II. Despite his lower rank, he managed to buy one of each and kept them both on base. Many of the soldiers took it upon themselves to take the plane on several occasions to upgrade it with new tires and more. The car was very popular, many of whom sought him out for his car to impress the ladies.

My grandfather with his car and plane during WWII

With all of our discussions, there was always more behind those eyes than what he had revealed. Things he had seen, or known about, that we chose to never speak about. Well, almost.

A Goofy Conversation

The mark of a goofy conversation. A UFO chasing my grandparents in the New Mexican desert.

One evening, after going out to dinner, my grandfather drove us back to the house along an empty road, common in a New Mexican desert. I sat in the back with my daughter, letting my eyes shut. At one point my grandmother, who sat up front in the passenger’s seat, waved her hand to the right. “That’s where the flying saucer followed us in the car,” she said, almost nonchalantly.

I lifted an eyebrow, pulling my eyelids open, wondering if she was joking. I mean, it had to be a joke! Right? My grandmother never spoke of such things. She didn’t believe in a metaphysical realm beyond that of her Episcopalian faith.

If my grandmother’s comment wasn’t weird enough, my grandfather’s response took the cake. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked.

By this time, both eyes were open, baffled by the conversation. It almost seemed like flying saucers in this area were not much of a big deal. Probably a regular occurrence.

My grandmother didn’t even turn to look at my grandfather. “You were asleep. I didn’t want to bother you,” she said, voice trailing off.

I wanted to jump in and say something, but quite frankly, I was at a loss for words. I sat perplexed, questions piling up in my mind. Which do I ask first? Are there aliens? Are flying saucers real? Are there secret bases nearby? Oh my!

My grandfather answered simply. “Oh,” and that was it. No further discussion.

I sat for the rest of the ride speechless, looking across the seat to see my three-and-a-half-year old daughter falling asleep with an iPod in her hand watching Smurfs.

Days later, my grandfather and I had more discussions, but when it came to flying saucers, I was left to believe the one my grandmother had witnessed was probably of human origins.

Ufology Intrigue

I probably had a deeper interest than most on the subject of UFO’s. I was fascinated by the idea that there was more to our existence than just this little blue-green planet known as Earth. But this exchange of words between my grandparents led me down a path where I read more about the so-called conspiracy theories and mysteries surrounding the subject. The conversation with my grandparent only sparked more interest.

Sparked Interest in a Book

Years earlier, in October 2005, I toyed with a science fiction book idea involving a 19th Century American sailor. It was a ridiculous idea, but that is exactly what I wanted.  In fact, the character himself was imagined by me in the late 1990’s. It was during our ride back to Roswell that the idea of a sailor stationed in a desert struck me as a bit funny. About 15 years later, that inspiration finally made its way into the book, Kantara: The Captain.

Inspiration for Captain Blake

This fictional character, Captain Blake, is the culmination of many people and characters I admire for leadership. As I mentioned earlier, I noodled with the idea back in the 1990’s and explored story ideas in 2005. But, I wanted him to be a character that I’d admire. I pictured him like William Riker from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I liked how that character found happiness on the Enterprise, even if it wasn’t the Captain’s chair. However, my grandfather inspired some of Blake’s attributes such as the calm demeanor, confidence, sense of humor, and mysteriousness.

It always makes me grin when my wife says that her favorite character is Captain Blake.

On a side note, a co-worker of mine had a father-in-law who knew of my grandfather, Mr. Weller. Apparently, my grandfather earned a reputation. It was a common phrase to hear ‘It will get worser before they get Weller’, meaning that things will get worser for us before they get to my grandfather.

Captain Elton Blake is featured in the book Kantara: The Captain, nearly 15 years after the desert incident.

Check out these YouTube Videos

Kantara Inspirations: My Grandfather

Kantara Inspirations: UFOlogy

Get your copy of Kantara: The Captain here.

6 Responses

  1. OMG I REMEMBER THAT TRIP! I also remember the picture always being around the home! This explains so much it’s not even funny! I honestly don’t remember much about that trip aside from all of the alien aesthetic from roswell. So funny to remember all of the afternoons you’d have a drink or a smoke and watch shows like ancient aliens. I can now understand why you have such a fascination! I have to admit I do too!

  2. I’m eager to get to know the captain more in book 2! It’s neat that his inspirations stemmed from your grandfather, an inspirational man in your life.

    Also, it’s cool to now know where the “Worser/Weller” saying comes from

    1. The Captain is a fun sort of mystery. My daughter drew a bust of him for the book and it was fun to see him a character I imagined for over 20 years come to life. Sukesha Ray is working on a depiction of him, which I’m eagerly awaiting.

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