The other day I listened with great delight to a message on my phone. The caller identified himself as a local antique airplane owner whom I’d met a couple of years ago. I remembered him clearly, or should I say, I remembered his airplane clearly. Coincidentally (?), on the day I flew the Prince again after several years of being grounded while undergoing a major restoration, Bill happened to be in the air as well. It was more than fitting and poetic that I while I celebrated being reunited in the sky, a black and silver Waco biplane flew an unplanned loose formation with us. It was as if the Waco were saying to the Student Prince, “Welcome back to the sky where you belong old friend.” That flight was more than two years ago, and I hadn’t seen or spoken with Bill since.
I listened to Bill’s message several times as I stood in my kitchen. A smile spread across my face and butterflies did loops in my solar plexus. “Hi Summer, this is Bill. I don’t know if you remember me, but I flew formation with you a couple of years back in my black and silver Waco out of Jefferson County. Say, a few of us are planning on flying our antique airplanes to Blakesburg, Iowa next summer for the antique airplane fly in and wanted to know if you’d like to come too.” That message made my day for several reasons. I had been hearing about Blakesburg and the fantastic antique fly in they have there since I headed east to Ohio. Everyone I spoke to invited me to go, said I absolutely MUST go and that it was amazing. So Blakesburg has been brightly illuminated on my radar. I haven’t been to a full on antique airplane fly in since the Evergreen airport was sold and developed into a shopping mall. Hundreds of hearts were broken wide open when those hallowed grounds were tilled under and the site of decades of flying memories were entombed under asphalt. Evergreen had been the largest antique airplane fly in on the west coast, and every third weekend in August hundreds of pilots would make their way from all points of the compass to share in their love for old airplanes. It was a reunion of kindred spirits, even if they’d never formally met before. When someone mentioned to me that the Blakesburg fly in was the Evergreen of the midwest, I became even more attracted to the possibility of going one day.
I hadn’t made any plans for another long cross country in the Prince. But that doesn’t mean that I am a one trick pony. On the contrary, my sense of adventure and the confidence to actively pursue it have been honed to razor sharpness. When Bill mentioned that a whole gaggle of like minded antique airplane buffs were planning an odyssey to a fabulous antique airplane gathering, and they invited me, I was very excited. After I hung up the phone to ponder the conversation, I couldn’t help but wonder if possibly the article that was featured in the General Aviation News about our trip to Ohio had played any part in inspiring the adventure that is being planned to Blakesburg. And if it did, then it’s doubly thrilling. Inspiring others to pursue their dreams and passions inspires me, and I hoped that the article would inspire others to pursue their dreams. Maybe it worked! For whatever reason, it looks like something is happening. It’s a complete change from last summer when I would invite fellow pilots to fly across the country with us only to be met with a downward look, toes kicking at a dirt clod and, “Gee I don’t know, I don’t think I have time.”
It is wonderful to behold others while they kick the tires and light the fires of their own dreams!~