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  #141  
Old 09-12-2019, 07:30 AM
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Default 21. On High



















Between the Vietnam War Gallery and the World War II Gallery, a fine display of airmen's flight jackets met the son's eyes.

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  #142  
Old 09-12-2019, 07:31 AM
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Default 21. On High

The World War II Gallery drew the son in.







The famous B-17, Memphis Belle, was suspended overhead from on high as if still in action after 75 years.













The B-29 responsible for delivering the "Fat Man" nuclear bomb over Nagasaki, Japan, was known as Bock's Car. It sat before the son---passive, iconic and integral to ending the war in August of 1945.

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  #143  
Old 09-12-2019, 07:31 AM
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Default 21. On High









The early years, beginning with the Wright Brothers' contributions to the Great War and moving into the Golden Age of Aviation, concluded the son's tour through the museum.





The Wright Wind Tunnel from the year 1916 rested before him.







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  #144  
Old 09-12-2019, 07:32 AM
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Default 21. On High

A complete display of Bob Hope attire and memorabilia stood between galleries as the son moved toward the exit. The son departed the museum with a seemingly resurrected Bob Hope waving him on.



The son followed a group of high-school-aged students out to the parking lot. It had stopped raining, and it was hot and humid outside.





Back in the Chevy Cruze, the son departed the museum grounds and drove toward another destination. He felt a powerful draw. It was a divine calling that could not be refused.



Not long after, he was walking through the Woodland Cemetery where he finally arrived before the site where two brothers lay in state before him. The son spent many moments alone with them. He felt the father pressing him on toward a moment spent in eternity, and through the vision and experience of that moment, the son gave thanks for the two men who were set apart from humanity to give it new birth from above.













Then he departed. He departed in the promise of awakening to a new life of joy in the coming of a new creation---of a new gift of flight---where on high, a host of angels could be heard in the resounding chorus of singing and celebration.
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  #145  
Old 09-15-2019, 04:48 AM
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Default 22. Wisdom







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  #146  
Old 09-15-2019, 04:50 AM
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Default 22. Wisdom

The son dropped off the Chevy Cruze at the Greene County Airport and left the key with a secretary inside the FBO building. He uncovered the Dove and packed his gear quickly as evening began to settle onto the Dayton countryside.





After pre-flighting, the son climbed aboard and strapped in. He taxied out from the transient area and blasted out to the northwest, climbing out over the Dayton Class Charlie airspace and leveling off at 9,500 feet.



It was a short but lovely flight as the Indiana countryside drew the son toward a setting sun where the storms from earlier that day left tufts of billowing moisture that burned bright and golden over the nose of the Dove. In just over an hour, the son touched down outside the town of Rensselaer, Indiana, at the Jasper County Airport (RZL).

He pulled up to the pumps and shut down. There were puddles of rainwater on the tarmac, and a suffocating heat and humidity seemed to be blowing in with the direct crosswind from the west. He got out of the plane and proceeded to top off the tanks.

Just then, a large man in a bright red shirt came zipping out of the hangar rows on an electric bicycle. He had several satchels and rucksacks slung over his shoulders as he hummed by toward the FBO building.

"Nice plane!" he called over his shoulder, and then in a fading voice as he rolled further away yelled, "See you at Oshkosh!"

The son watched him closely as he pulled up to the FBO building and dismounted. The son could see him punch in some numbers on a keypad and pull open the door. There came a sense of relief that there was an after-hours access pilots lounge on the field, and the son was glad that he didn't have to search for another airport for the night or sleep in a tent with the unbearable steam bath swirling about him.

After fueling, the son parked the Dove on a tie-down cross and walked over to the building.



He entered the CTAF frequency and opened up the door. Inside, he found the man in the red shirt. The son introduced himself. The man's name was Bill, an Indiana pilot and C-172 owner who was on his way to Oshkosh. He had landed his Cessna only a few minutes before the son entered the traffic pattern. He told the son that his mechanic was based at the Jasper County Airport and he needed to have a new, larger set of tires installed before he launched into Wisconsin the next day. Meanwhile, Bill was going to open up a bottle of wine and sleep in the FBO building that night. Would the son like a glass?



The son thanked Bill for the offer, but he still had to get his plane wiped down and covered up. There was another couch in the main lobby that the son would use to sleep on that night, and Bill would have a couch in the conference room. The air conditioning in the building was refreshing and very efficient, and having a little company in the FBO for a night seemed a welcome change.

The son went outside and collected his gear, then began wiping down the Dove. Bill came out to have a look. As they were talking out on the ramp, the airport courtesy car pulled up. Two people got out. One was a young woman in her late twenties or early thirties. She wore a long pink-orange dress that went down below the knees. She had on a pair of sneakers, and she walked a beige toy poodle on a leash. With her was a lean man in his fifties with grizzled hair and a wiry, athletic build. They went over to a black and white C-150 parked on the ramp across from the pumps. They pushed the plane over to the Dove, then parked it in the grass where the young woman said they were going to set up a tent. Her name was Joanna, and her Norwegian partner was named TJ. They were on their way to Oshkosh and flying out of Flagstaff, Arizona. Bill, Joanna, TJ and the son conversed on the tarmac as the sun went down.



Not long after the son finished covering up the Dove, the airport manager showed up. His name was Ray, a chubby-faced man with a dark complexion and pleasant, smiling demeanor. Ray offered the son the courtesy car to go into Rensselaer for something to eat and told him that he was welcome to use it in the morning, too. The son thanked him and took the keys. Ray and Joanna were having a look at weather inside the office as the son was leaving.





The son drove into Rensselaer and stopped at a Wal-Mart where he purchased some Marvel Mystery Oil and several packages of fig bars. He then ate a large roast beef sandwich with fries at Arby's before heading back to the airport.

Ray was gone when the son arrived. Joanna and TJ were camped inside their tent by the Cessna. Before they turned off the lights and went to sleep on their couches that night, Bill and the son had a long conversation about flying in the Midwest, especially near the Great Lakes region. They pointed out places on the map in the conference room as Bill tossed down another glass of wine and reminisced about some of the adventures he had had. Then they wished each other a good night. The son closed the door to the conference room and went to his couch in the lobby and lay down and slept soundly through the night.
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  #147  
Old 09-15-2019, 04:51 AM
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Default 22. Wisdom

He awoke to his alarm at 5:00 AM and saw the red PAPI lights glaring through the condensation on the windows as if splattered on the glass like paint. He got up and made coffee and started checking the weather. He kept the lights off. Eventually, TJ came in and walked into the restroom where he stayed for nearly an hour. Bill came out of the conference room some time later. He did not have much to say and seemed very focused on the mission to get his plane airworthy. Bill took his bags, his bike, and rolled away toward the hangars into the light of morning.

The son was waiting for a laundromat in Rensselaer to open because he had a lot of clothes that needed washing. Ray showed up with a girl about 15 years old who was part of an educational aviation program that Ray was spearheading for Jasper County. He explained how local high school students were getting firsthand experience at the airport to prepare them for possible careers in aviation after high school. The son was very impressed with the details of the program, and Ray was very enthusiastic and highly motivated to see the program succeed.

Soon, the son drove back into town to do laundry. However, he found that the laundromat in question had gone out of business and had locked its doors permanently. So the son drove into the center of town, parked, and explored for a short time.









He found a very modest veterans memorial marker on the courthouse lawn.



On the outskirts of Rensselaer, the son parked the car and got out. There was an abandoned quarry where mining of some sort had taken place years ago. It was filled with water now. The son wondered just how deep the water went. He thought about what it would feel like to plunge into its depths from the quarry's rim, to leap from the edges and fall freely to the surface and feel his body received by the cool darkness, his soul thrilling to rise up again for breath, for the joy of living.



It was the same thrill the son could feel after he departed that morning. Looking down to the port side, he saw the hewn crater filled with water as it was falling away at his wingtip.



The son set a course to the south-southeast, flying directly over Indianapolis and heading back into the great state of Kentucky.



After 1.8 hours, the son landed at Williamsburg, Kentucky (BYL). Fuel there was selling for $3.97 per gallon. Strangely, however, the airport appeared abandoned.



He shut down at the pumps and walked over to the FBO building but found nobody inside. There did not appear to be any after-hours access to the building.

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  #148  
Old 09-15-2019, 04:52 AM
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Default 22. Wisdom

After using the restroom, the son walked back over to the pumps to top off. The only person he saw at the airport was busy on a riding mower some distance away.



After fueling up, the son blasted out of Williamsburg and headed for another airport about 40 miles east. He made a left downwind entry over the town of Loyall, Kentucky, landing on Runway 26 at the Tucker-Guthrie Memorial Airport (I35).





As in Williamsburg, the son found himself the only bird on the field. He taxied in and kicked the tail around on a tie-down cross and shut down. Then he got out and walked over to the building in front of him.







The door was open, but there was also an after-hours access keypad at the entrance. He went inside.



It felt like a brand new facility. It had a large lobby area, a conference room, a kitchen, a pilot?s lounge with a couch to sleep on, and showers.





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  #149  
Old 09-15-2019, 04:53 AM
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Default 22. Wisdom

There was a courtesy vehicle parked outside with a sign-out sheet on the front counter.



Before the son made any attempts at finding a laundromat in town, however, he decided to go outside and get the Dove wiped down. It was very hot outside and he wanted to get it done sooner rather than later. As he was walking out, there came a transmission over the radio behind the counter: "The low wing that just landed, are you on one-twenty-two-eight?" It sounded like there was a plane in the pattern outside, so the son wondered if the transmission was meant for him. He walked outside and proceeded with the wipe-down.

A Cessna 182 touched down and took off, performed another pattern circuit, then landed and taxied onto the ramp. The plane moved past the Dove and shut down in front of a large bifold hangar door. Two men got out. As one proceeded to open the hangar and push the plane inside, the other approached the son as he was getting ready to cover up the Dove. It was a young man in his mid-twenties who introduced himself as Adam. The son shook hands with Adam and told him that he needed a place to relax for the night. Adam said that he was the son of the official airport manager, Mark Miracle. His father, Mark, owned a mining company which focused on mining safety and accident prevention. The airport management job was secondary and often handed off to Adam when his father was pre-occupied with other business, as he was now.

"That sure is a nice facility you have there," the son said. "It looks brand new."

Adam told the son that a recent snow storm caused the former building to collapse under the weight of all the snow on the roof, and an insurance settlement helped pay for the new building.

"Do you have a laundromat in town?" the son asked.

"Yeah, I think," said Adam. "Not in Loyall, but I think there's one in Harlan. Hold on, let me check." He took out his phone and started doing an online search for a laundromat in the area. "Yeah, I know where this is," said Adam. "Why don't you follow me in the courtesy car and I'll take you there?"

The son picked up his bags, including the satchel filled with dirty laundry, and walked into the building with Adam. When they were ready to head into town, Adam brought his truck around and the son followed him for about 7 miles into Harlan. After winding his way through a narrow set of streets, Adam parked the truck and got out. They were in front of a gas station.



"I think they moved or shut down. There's signs on the door. And they're closed," said Adam.

The son looked cattycorner from the gas station. Adam was right. Just like in Rensselaer, Indiana, the laundromat in Harlan, Kentucky, had closed its doors permanently.


Adam took out his phone. "Hold on," he said. "Let me call the Quality Inn and see if they'll let you use their laundry room."

"They'll do that?" the son asked.

"We have a pretty good relationship with folks," said Adam. "Like most airports."

Five minutes later, the son walked into the Harlan Quality Inn with a load of dirty laundry. Adam took him to the front counter.



Adam introduced the son to the lady behind the counter. She looked up at him. "You needin' some quarters?" she asked in a thick Kentucky drawl.

"How many will I need?" the son replied.

"Wash is a dollar seventy-five, dry is seventy-five sayunts."

The son took $5 in quarters and thanked the lady. Adam gave the son his business card and told him to call if the son needed anything or if he had any trouble. The son thanked him, and then Adam walked out to his truck. The son took his laundry upstairs and started a wash cycle. Then he went back downstairs. There were reclining chairs tucked away in a room by the lobby where he could wait.

A man was taking a nap down there. He was holding a pen and notepad on his belly as if he were about to take notes should he wake up, but he never did. Throughout the son's excursions upstairs and back downstairs, the napping man never moved.



Back at the airport, the son folded up his newly washed clothes. Adam left a note on the desk for Oshkosh-bound pilots that he would not be on the field the entire weekend. The son watched the early evening sun pouring into the lobby of the building. It was a very empty place for all of its splendor.



The son decided to take the courtesy vehicle back into town to explore Harlan. He drove by the old high school, then turned and parked downtown.





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  #150  
Old 09-15-2019, 04:54 AM
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Default 22. Wisdom

At the Harlan Country Courthouse, the son encountered several people who were milling about near the memorial markers there. He could hear music around the corner from the Great War Memorial, and a few children were running up and down on the sidewalk.



They were playing Christian music on loudspeakers across the town square, and it appeared there was going to be an outdoor movie event for family members to enjoy. So far, only a handful of people had shown up.



Nearby stood the Harlan County Coal Miners Memorial. Chiseled onto both sides of an imposing thick slab of granite were the names of miners who had paid the ultimate price in their devotion to the industry. A local man showed the son the names of three friends who died in the dark, dank recesses of the earth. He told the son that, as a first responder to a mine collapse, he tried to free one of his friends from the crushing rubble and held him in his arms when he died.





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