Wednesday, May 09, 2007

New Wings...

I can hardly believe its been over a week since i last posted. Its been a little crazy around the Kingdom lately.

First of all, Jameson is taking his first unassisted steps. He has been letting go of the couch or whatever he is using to balance himself and with arms outstretched in the "high wire" technique, he takes a few steps via solo. I watched him yesterday take about 8 steps and move an entire 12" in the process, a major trek for the novice hiker. Normally at any given moment he will artfully take an athletic pose and slowly deflate assuming the familiar modus operandi, you can almost see the little gears spinning in his head, "You know, i'm getting no where fast, if i can just...get the...NOW!! LET'S ROLL BABY!!! At which point he hits the afterburners and leaves burn out spots on the carpet. I absolutely have to get some footage before he completely 86's the crawling!

First of all #2 (i know, but this is equally momentous), Leah has taken a great liking to wearing panties, and you know what that means. Yup, she's using the bathroom IN THE BATHROOM!!! She has been doing great with the potty training so far. We've only had a couple miscues and many triumphs so we're all pretty excited. We bought this huge bag of assorted Reece's Peanut Butter candies for the Awards Program and she, like her parents, has found a great affinity for "Reece's Pieces". Its enough for me to see her face on high beam after each successful trip, she is so proud of herself and doubly so as she sees how proud we are of her. It is obviously time to up the ante and go buy her some new panties. Last time i bought them there was just no interest there, so the Tinkerbell's have kinda lost their faery dust so a new pack of shiny Tink's should put her over the top! I'll use the new ones to help motivate her to greater levels of control on the dorsal side of this adventure.

OK, which brings me to last Saturday. I had gotten a call on Friday night from a good friend who is a small aircraft pilot. He was wondering if we would be interested in attending a fly-in with him and his family the next morning. He said there were going to be some old WWII planes there and it would be fun. So, we made a day of it. I had no idea how cool it was going to turn out.

We got there around 11 a.m. and walked around a little gawking at the old bi-planes that were parked on the small tarmac. The local Boy Scout troop provided some grilled hot dogs and burgers for the event which began smelling really good so we decided to support the boys and had some lunch. Can i just take this opportunity to say that these Boy Scouts were very impressive in what they were charging for their little operation? It was $1 for a burger or hot dog, yeah, that's ONE DOLLAR! And these weren't your average scrape-the-whatever-that-is-off-the-packing-floor-and-pour-it-into-a-hot dog-shape dogs, these were the spicy ball park style dogs that were too long for the bun! They had the full gamut of condiments for both entrees. I even found a cutting board and knife, and began dicing a slice of onion for my 'dog and one of them jumps out of his chair and says, "I can do that for you sir if you'd like." He didn't look old enough to have handled many kitchen knives and this one was pretty dull so i thanked him and declined his kind offer, hoping to keep him with all his fingers attached, telling him i was done anyway. I almost cut my own finger when i heard a nine year old refer to me as "Sir". It was just that whole Boy Scout servant attitude that makes the calibre of boy in that organization shine, its one of those instances that makes you think, "Wow, someone out there is still doing it right with their kids". Oh and did i mention, they had ice cold bottled water FOR FREE?!!! Amazing, simply amazing. They even tried to give me some Hostess Ding Dongs for free, looking at each other like, "I don't know, do you know how much those are?" So i took two and donated to the cause. It was just refreshing. Good, good kids.

After lunch we strolled back out onto the tarmac area. One of the pilots, who was also grabbing some lunch, had tethered his plane fairly close, so we secured a guide and walked out for a closer inspection. WOW!!! It was just simply nostalgic. All the movies i had ever seen come to life right in front of me. It was fantastic just standing there looking at that piece of history! The Stearman's weren't actually used much in combat missions but were mainly training aircraft, then de-commissioned, fitted with sprayers and flown for local farmers spraying their fields of produce. Their value diminished with the unveiling of the supersonic age, but has in recent years increased greatly with the obvious value of their history and antiquity in the war effort.

There were rumors floating about that the pilots would give free rides after the show. I was hooked. If there was the remotest possibility that i was to ride in one of these i would wait if i was the LAST person.

The show wasn't much, just a simple flour bomb excersize and a simulated aircraft carrier landing. The hard deck was SUPPOSED to be 200'for the flour bombs, but i know some of the pilots were below 150'. No one really got close to the target but it was fun to watch any way. No doubt its much harder in the air than on the ground. There was a lot of comeraderie with the pilots and i heard some ribbing about who broke the "hard deck".

Then, it happened. They had all came in, topped off their tanks, and began taking war veterans and those that had volunteered for working the fly in for rides. The line slowly formed and my friend began asking questions on how we could get a ride ourselves. To make an already somewhat boring and long story a bit shorter, we FINALLY, after a full day of waiting, got a front seat to open cockpit flying!! To say it was fun would be like saying your wedding night was just ok. For the 7 minutes i was in the air, i was projected back in time, to a mission over western France, flying over deep green fields, looking for the dreaded Iron Cross on the fuselage of any approaching aircraft. The Queen insists that i didn't stop smiling until sometime on Monday. It really was a dream come true. It was simply a perfect day for flying in that type of plane. It was overcast, somewhat hazy and misty. We have had so much rain lately, the fields were just beautifully green, even for Oklahoma. A thin fog lay all about the ground from 500', it was entrancing, like an etheral western European landscape. Yeah, i could get into that. My pilots name was Gary, he was a spectacled, white moustached gem, a truly nice guy from Ft. Worth who flew for the Navy and then for Southwest. He had over 30,000 hours as a pilot and now just flew for fun. He said the most fun he has is just watching guys like me get into an open cockpit for the first time and fly in his plane and i'm sure he enjoyed watching my face go to "high beam". Thanks Kris, for the invite, and Thankyou Gary!!!! it was a very memorable experience and i can't wait to do it again!!!


Bag Blog said...

kris called and invited us too, but we were busy Saturday trying to get ready for next Saturday's work day at the Lazy B. If you want more hot dogs and burgers, come on by. I promise to be respectful and call you sir. I can't believe you got to fly! Don't tell Jesse, she will kill us because she wanted to go to the air show rather than work (true Baggett). Next week she and Lindsay are sky-diving.

As for the first steps of the young hiker - hope he has your legs. And as for Leah - yeah big girl panties!

the friendly neighborhood piper said...

how much is that skydiving? (as i scornfully laugh at myself saying, "Like i need another expensive hobby!" still, i've always wanted to do it.) Bungee jumping was cool, but once is never enough. Oh just you wait, i won't just tell JB, I'LL INCLUDE PICTURES!!! So, is the barnraisin' this Saturday, or next?

Bag Blog said...

Tomorrow is the barn raising. The sky-diving is 120 - all day lessons and then the jump.

Buck Pennington said...

Wow. There's nothing to compare wiht open cockpit flying. Unless it's being inside an old WW II bomber, but even that, while it is definitely cool, doesn't compare. I'm tempted to say a fast bike, too, but once again: it doesn't compare...coz you're only moving in two dimensions.

Great pics, too!!