If I've learned anything in the 11 years my family and I have lived in Huntington Beach, it's that you never know who you'll run into in Huntington Beach.
Take, for example, the man I sat with recently. He sat on a couch thumbing through a photo album.
"Here's Dwight Eisenhower," he said. "And LBJ, Gerald Ford, Leonid Brezhnev and Walter Cronkite."
Renowned Army One helicopter pilot and Retired Master Army Aviator Lt. Col. Gene Boyer glanced over the images that defined his life. He stopped and recalled what it was like to get to know the writer John Steinbeck during the Vietnam War.
"He was amazing," Boyer told me. "The great Steinbeck. And just look what he wrote about us helicopter pilots."
Clearly, Steinbeck was impressed.
"I wish I could tell you about these pilots," he wrote. "They make me sick with envy. They ride their vehicles the way a man controls a fine, well-trained quarter horse. They weave along stream beds, rise like swallows to clear trees, they turn and twist and dip like swifts in the evening."