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  #51  
Old 08-21-2019, 03:02 PM
simpkinsona simpkinsona is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Vacaville, CA
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I heard Walmart carries air mattresses.
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  #52  
Old 08-21-2019, 05:15 PM
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Bubblehead Bubblehead is offline
 
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The tombstone for Paul Powell intrigued me. Did a short search on the internet but only found one reference.

http://https://soonergraveyardrabbit...?q=paul+powell

It states "Paul was the pilot of an air ambulance that operated out of Mangum, OK for Dr. F. Border, a very prominent early physician in SW Oklahoma. Paul and two passengers were killed when his plane crashed near Childress, TX in 1934. I have been trying to find out more information about this crash and will post a follow up if I can ever find a good source. I'm sure there will be a story about it in The Mangum Star since Dr. Border was also a former owner of the newspaper."

There is a lot more to be found on Dr. Border. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/...-fowler-border

PS - I need to make a couple of years worth of donations to VAF. I will attend to that next! I don't get on much anymore and just plane forgot to donate!
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  #53  
Old 08-21-2019, 05:54 PM
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snopercod snopercod is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simpkinsona View Post
I heard Walmart carries air mattresses.
Kinda' what I was thinking... They also carry Depends. (Ask me how I know...)
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  #54  
Old 08-22-2019, 02:08 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default 9. Trees to the East







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  #55  
Old 08-22-2019, 02:09 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default 9. Trees to the East

When the son made it back to the Vicksburg-Tallulah airport that evening, there was another RV parked next to the Dove, an orange and white RV-7A. He realized there was no place to sleep indoors, so he began making preparations to set up a tent behind a row of pickups that were parked by the FBO. A padding of grass lay behind the tailgates of the trucks. He knew there was no way he could sleep in the impossible steam bath that was sweltering outdoors, but at least he would be able to lie down protected from the mosquitos, gnats, and blood-sucking flies that were already coming out in force at dusk. Heading out to the Dove for his gear, the son was met by a man driving a pickup on the flightline. It was Randy, the airport manager. He was a thin, gaunt man in his forties or fifties who appeared to be somewhat starved nutritionally but who spoke and moved his body in such a way as to suggest that his energy came from sources other than food. He had a cigarette burning in his hand and the smoke drifted lazily out of the truck cab.

"Is that your plane?" he asked. The son told him it was. He told him that he wanted to set up a tent outside the perimeter fence for the night and asked if it was okay.

"Do it," said Randy. He pointed his thumb to a mobile home right next to the FBO. There was a Jeep and riding mower, a small boat, and a great deal of clutter in the carport. "That there's my house," he said. "Let me know if you need somethin'. Right now I gotta go check the water level on a couple of ponds on the other side of the runway." He drove off and hit the gas hard across the tarmac and disappeared over a rise to the west.

The son set up the tent and cooked up a pot of dehydrated lasagna. He was eating it when Randy came back.

"You've got the place locked up," said the son. "I was needing to use the restroom and couldn't find one. Where is it?"

"There isn't one," said Randy.

"Really?" the son said, a little astonished. "You mean if somebody lands here in the middle of the night and has to take a dump, they have to do it on the tarmac? Where do you want me to go?"

The airport manager gave some thought to the son's question and looked out over the steering wheel to the flat emptiness beyond. Then he turned his head. "There's a back door to the building right over there," he said, pointing toward the carport of his house. "It isn't locked. You can go through there if you need to use the restroom."

"Thanks," said the son. "I appreciate that." The son looked over to the carport and saw two large cats on the front steps of the mobile home. "Looks like you've got a couple of friends," he said. "Who are they?"

"That there's Maximus, and the white one's name is Killer." Randy said they both pretty much kept to themselves, but if Maximus got to know a person, he'd warm up to him. The son had seen Maximus walking the tarmac earlier as he was setting up the tent. It was a big cat with candy stripes lacing down through a thick brown coat.

After eating, the son decided to go through the back door of the FBO to brush his teeth and clean up a bit after the long day in Vicksburg. He was met by the welcome chill of cool, clean, air conditioning as he walked in. After brushing his teeth, he checked the glassed-in door of the pilots lounge where the long leather couch was. It was very dark inside with the lights off, and the door was open. That was when the son realized just how tired he was.

The son quickly walked back outside and went to the tent for his pillow and sleeping bag. When he approached the back door of the FBO again, he came around the corner of the building and stopped. There was Randy, sitting on the front porch with Maximus and Killer, smoking a cigarette and looking down at his phone. The cats were looking right at the son, but Randy kept looking down.

The son stepped back behind the FBO building and went over to his tent. He had to do something about the bugs. He felt he was being eaten alive. He unzipped the flap and found the bottle of bug spray he had tucked away in a camping pouch. But even after covering himself with it, the high-pitched mosquito wings continued to needle him around the ears. He decided to walk out in the relative darkness of the tarmac and wait behind the cover of the Dove. Maybe there would not be so many blood-suckers out there, he thought.

He sat on the heat-soaked asphalt behind the left wing and waited for Randy to go to bed for the night. It was 11:30 before the son made a decision. He was going to get some sleep tonight one way or another. So he walked through the back door of the FBO and into the pilots lounge. In the darkness of the glassed-in room and in the cool of the air conditioning, the son slept for six hours before his alarm went off at 5:30 AM the next morning.

He wasted no time packing up. He took his pillow and sleeping bag and went out to the tent where everything outside was covered in dew. The tent itself was saturated with water as the son rolled it up and packed it tightly into its satchel.

After he put the camping gear back into the airplane, the son decided that, since he still had the keys to the Crown Victoria, he would drive into Tallulah for coffee and some fruit. It was after 7:00 AM when he got back, and Herm was there in the office. The son handed him the keys.

"Thanks for a great time in Vicksburg," said the son. "I appreciate the help, Herm."

"Yes, sir," said Herm, shaking the son's hand. "Be safe!" He was smiling the gentle, soft-spoken smile of contentment and inner peace.

As the son was completing his pre-flight, Randy came out of his house and walked up to the Dove. He wanted to know where the son was going next.



"East," he said. "Where exactly, I'm not sure." There was a fairly lengthy conversation about camping equipment, dry food, and airplanes, but the son eventually wished Randy the best, climbed into the Dove, cranked over, and departed. He struck a course through a heavy mist into the rising sun over the Mississippi River and the city of Vicksburg. Soon enough, the city of siege was behind him.





He flew a nearly perfect course east for two hours before a company of thunderstorms forced him to make slight diversions, first to the south, then to the north, and then the son began a descent.





The son headed at first for a town in Georgia named Baxley, but as he approached, he could see it would have been impossible to get in. A deluge blackened the horizon ahead and lightning was flashing before him. He quickly made one final diversion to Hazlehurst (AZE) and cut short the flight by only 17 miles. He was on the ground again after 2.5 hours of flight.



At the pumps, he got out of the airplane and walked over to the FBO building. The son was relieved to find an after-hours keypad entry system there, and stepping inside, he found a lot more.





There was a pilots lounge with a kitchenette, bathrooms, and a snooze room with a bed and shower. He decided to top off the Dove, push it over to the tie-downs and cover her up. The son had been asking for a place to rest after the last two nights without sleep, and he heard the father granting him his wish in the thunder that cracked and rumbled around him.



As he was finishing up with the tie-down, a large red pickup with a trailer attached came rolling in through the front gate. The driver pulled slowly up to the son and rolled down his window. "I'll bet you've already heard this before, but you've got a beautiful plane!"

"Not from you, I haven't," said the son. He introduced himself to the driver, a man in his early to mid-sixties whose name was Milton McDuffy. He offered to put the Dove in the large FBO hangar if the thunderstorms got really bad, and the son thanked him. Back inside, Milton showed him where the keys to the courtesy van were.

"You staying here tonight?" he asked.

"I was hoping to," said the son.

"There's fresh sheets and blankets in the chest of drawers. I think there's plenty of towels and such, too, if you need to take a shower."

It had been almost a week since he had taken one. Just the thought of taking a shower made the misery of the heat and bugs and humidity swirl away from him. He was grateful to have landed there, and remembering how the downpour over Baxley had developed so quickly when he was in the air, the son felt the father comforting him with the promise that he would be taken care of no matter the difficulties that might arise. The diversion to Hazlehurst seemed providential. So he ran with it.

After Milton left him there, the son picked up the keys to the courtesy van and headed into town. Something there was pulling on his heartstrings and he needed to see what it was.

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RV-8 N898W Descending Dove

Last edited by Scott Chastain : 09-26-2020 at 03:20 PM.
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  #56  
Old 08-22-2019, 02:11 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default 9. Trees to the East

There were trees growing tall and lush and green everywhere he looked as the son drove the van beyond the airport perimeter toward town. There were tall, sparsely branched cedars that came out of the ground so closely packed to one another that their collective array created a wall of moss-covered trunks on one side of the road. Ahead, there grew a tunnel of trees that led the son all the way into Hazlehurst as the first drops of rain began to smatter the windshield.



When the rain did come, it was like a fountain of hot bath water showering down from the darkness, and by the time the son reached the center of town, the streets were sloughing off the downpour into steaming gutters and drains. He pulled off the main road and parked the van and got out. It was the Hazlehurst Veterans Memorial and the Jefferson Davis County Courthouse.





He felt the warm rain falling down on him, impressing him more as if they were drops of blood than water as the names of the fallen were stamped into the son's brain with a blur of anonymity that he could vaguely comprehend as being specific to the suffering, to the death, to the sacrifice of one single solitary being, so many were the names did he see there. But when he got into the van and drove off, he thought about the life-giving gift of water and the resurrection to come, when all the son had just witnessed of the suffering, of the death, and of the sacrifice of each solitary being would become as naught in the rising up and rejoicing of a countless throng for the new and everlasting life they finally received.

And the father once again led him to a place where the son could be with those awaiting such resurrection---a resurrection that would most certainly come, even as there grew another tree so filled with life and promise and grace of size and shape that the son himself felt a tug of recognition at his heart when he saw it. He saw it, and with it he saw much more.











Back at the airport, the son removed his clothing and showered a long and rejuvenating shower before preparing his bed for the night.



Then he walked out to the Dove and confirmed with his father the promises he experienced and felt and lived by that day. There on the tarmac, the son heard the father calling him again from the farthest corners of creation. And it was all very good.

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Last edited by Scott Chastain : 09-26-2020 at 03:24 PM.
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  #57  
Old 08-25-2019, 02:35 PM
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Default 10. A Mansion







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  #58  
Old 08-25-2019, 02:37 PM
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Default 10. A Mansion

After sleeping well into the morning, the son awoke. The snooze room was completely blackened with the door closed. He saw a bright line of sunlight bleeding through the threshold of the door frame, and not knowing or really caring what time it was, the son arose from bed and dressed. He went out into the kitchenette and prepared a pot of coffee. It was Sunday morning, July 7.

As the son was enjoying his coffee at one of the tables in the pilots lounge, a large man with a pot belly walked in. He did not swing his arms when he walked but held them in a seemingly deliberate manner as if to allow them movement would result in an agonizing falling off at the shoulders. The son wished him a good morning. The man told him his name was Mitch. Mitch washed his hands in the kitchen sink, then turned and went into the large hangar where he pushed out a Piper twin and began a preflight.

Soon after, another large man with a bald head, a sweaty gray tee-shirt, and a gleaming smile entered the pilots lounge. He addressed the son by name, much to the son's surprise.

"How did you know my name?" he asked.

"I recognized your plane, Descending Dove," he replied. "I know who you are." He shook the son's hand and introduced himself as Robby. He and the son shared over an hour together while the son drank coffee. The son shared with Robby having recently lost his father, and Robby told him about his Christian conversion experience, meeting his new wife in the mission field, his RV building and flying adventures, his new Sonex building project, and about the time some guy took his Swift on a little excursion to Baton Rouge without Robby's permission. The two enjoyed their time together, but by 10:30, the son broke off their conversation to prepare for a drive back into Hazlehurst for church. Robby wished the son well for the rest of the journey through America. He, too, needed to get ready for worship.

The son attended the 11:00 service at the United Methodist Church in downtown Hazlehurst. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming as he walked into the sanctuary of the 109-year-old brick building.



The sermon, preached by the pastor Allen Hartsfield, followed the story of Moses and the Passover blood of lambs, developing into the elements of Grace where freedom from the law of sin and death was found in the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God. After the sermon was finished and Communion was served, the pastor blessed and dismissed the congregation. The choir filed out and people began clearing the altar.



After leaving, the son drove to a Wal-Mart and purchased a new air mattress and a batch of strawberries to help satisfy a natural craving he had for fresh fruit. In the produce section, he met a woman who had been worshipping with him at church that morning. Her name was Sue. She wanted to know where he was from. He told her, and then Sue told the son about her aunt and cousin who lived in California. They had just felt a large earthquake in Ridgecrest the day before and couldn't stop talking about it. Sue wished the son well as he turned to leave the store.

He drove back to the airport in haste. It was just after noon, but already he could see some serious thunderstorms popping up around him. If he had any chance of getting out of Hazlehurst that day he would have to move quickly. So he sped north through the tunnel of trees to the airport where he immediately began packing his gear into the Dove, pre-flighting, and checking weather online. It did not look good. To the southeast only 17 miles away sat Baxley, Georgia (BHC). Unlike the day before, there was a clear path to Baxley before the radar began showing unmistakable signs of foul weather further south and to the east. So the son decided to go there as a change of venue and to get some flight time for the day.

Just as he was about to leave, an old man drove up in a small brown pickup truck. He got out. It was a tiny 4-foot man dressed in an orange, button-up shirt and brown pants. The son guessed him to be approaching ninety. He could hardly walk. He met the son at the front door of the pilots lounge and had a conversation with him. His name was Leonard.

"I really like your paint scheme," said Leonard. "It reminds me of the ones I knew."

With some difficulty, Leonard expressed how much he wanted to build a plane. He owned a shop that was 40 feet by 80 feet and was considered a machine shop by all accounts because of all the equipment inside. The son told Leonard to get ahold of Robby, the guy who was building a Sonex just a few hangar doors away. Then the old man smiled and nodded and sat down in one of the rocking chairs by the door. The son wished Leonard the best and turned toward the flightline.

The son climbed into the Dove, cranked over, and blasted straight out on Runway 14. He could see Leonard still sitting there in an orange shirt as the plane lifted off and flew away. In a matter of only 10 minutes, he was on the ground again.

Others were landing in Baxley as well: a Cirrus landed and shut down only moments before.



A Piper Saratoga landed, too. A C-182 followed. It seemed everyone was coming to Baxley at once. The son climbed out of the Dove and walked slowly toward the FBO building. It appeared to be recently built.



It was. The doors were open and the son walked inside. It was like walking into a miracle that he somehow knew was coming, but because it had arrived so powerfully and at a time that was so unexpected, there came upon the son a joyful shock that often arrests young children when presents are opened at Christmas. He found a 24-hour access keypad outside, a luxurious kitchenette downstairs, a pilots lounge, and a laundry room. Upstairs were bedrooms replete with master bathrooms and showers and an adjoining den disposed for flight planning and Internet use. It was a pilot's mansion.









The son placed his flight bag on the bed and sat down. It felt like the father was right there with him. He thought that there had never been a Sunday afternoon so perfectly planned---even designed---for where the son was at that moment, both spiritually and physically. The long and peaceful night of sleep he received in Hazlehurst was now being extended to him in Baxley as a gift of luxury, almost as if the mansion itself had been provided as a reward for the successful completion of a long, harrowing journey. Ironically, the son felt undeserving, knowing that his journey was still in the beginning stages. He had many, many more miles of travel ahead of him. But he nevertheless received the gift with gratitude and joy. The giver wanted it that way.

"Thank you, Father," said the son.

Then he got up, went downstairs and tied down the Dove for the day. He signed out the courtesy van and drove into Baxley. He felt again the great draw within his heart to explore. So he did.



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Last edited by Scott Chastain : 09-26-2020 at 03:31 PM.
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  #59  
Old 08-25-2019, 02:39 PM
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Default 10. A Mansion

The son found a ride-along friend on the passenger-side mirror as they drove into Baxley together. He welcomed the company, but warned the frog to hang on, at least until they could park the van. They crossed the tracks together.





The son found a place to park in the shade near a shopping center by Harvey's Market. When he looked over, the frog was gone. So he got out and started walking through an alley toward the center of Baxley.










At the Appling County Courthouse, the son found a veterans memorial built next to a bubbling fountain. He spent a few sacred moments with the names of the fallen.







He was getting bitten by a ferocious legion of gnats that seemed intent on driving the son away from the fountain. Movement became their enemy, so he began walking again to the west where the tilt and blast of the afternoon heat leaned against him.

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  #60  
Old 08-25-2019, 02:41 PM
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Default 10. A Mansion







The son walked through several swarms of gnats that had become incessant and increasingly aggressive, so he turned back toward the van at an intersection where, across from him, the sanctuary built under the lush shade of well-watered groves appeared like a mansion unto itself. He yearned for such shelter as he turned to go. The walk back to the center of town was at the quickstep.



He walked into Harvey's Market and bought a tube of anti-itch cream and thought himself foolish for not bringing bug spray with him. But soon the son was back at the airport where, strangely, no blood-sucking or biting insects bothered him outside. He discovered after parking the van that he had the entire airport to himself. But he still felt his father with him as the sun began its descent behind the building.



Before heading inside to take a shower and do laundry, he walked a long curving trail behind the hangar rows and found himself standing in front of the local law enforcement shooting range.





Near the casings that lay spent and hollow and glittering in the twilight of the dying day, a pressing and deliberate surge of life---resurrected after another mowing in the form of Bermuda tendrils---raced happily in cross-thatched patterns over a slab of tomb-colored concrete, taunting the tools of death to do their worst. Life, and the very breath of it, prevailed, the son standing as a witness to the victory.



Back at the pilot mansion, the son considered the bagworm and its chrysalis. There were several of them hanging on support beams and sidings.



What work it was for the bagworm to collect in its short and weary life the needles and bark of the trees around it, all to simply disguise itself ingeniously as a tiny pine cone for the infusion of life that came with mating, and itself a mansion from a world of steady threat and danger! There it hung, as determined as the promise of another day to survive, a resurrection waiting patiently to happen. And it would.

The son thanked the father again for providing him so much, being so little and so insignificant, it seemed, to the glory of creation that made itself once again so evident and obvious.



Then the son turned away from the Dove and went inside. And he did not come out again until morning.
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