a memorial fly-in

One aspect of my life, that people find most curious, is the world of airparks and my affiliation to experimental and vintage airplanes.  I think, when I mention we have property and a hangar on an airpark, most people visualize a commercial airport with international hubs and extensive security lines.  (I would include a picture but I’m technologically challenged at this moment.)  In reality this property is an empty field (on the edge of the high plains desert) with a big metal building and not much else.  On a busy day there may be five small airplanes that take-off and land within a few hours and it is less noisy than a construction zone.

About 5 decades ago, a few people in Oregon City were so into the airplanes of the time they bought a big plot of land and mowed a long grass field to land their planes.  They built small houses to live in and wide, short barns, with no internal beams, to park these airplanes.   In the decades since, in Oregon City, homes and neighborhoods have been built up around this airpark.   High tension power-lines were installed near the flight path at one end, and what were short trees have become tall ones at the other end.  The original airpark owners have died, gotten old and ill, or sold their homes and hangars to non-aviators.  The terminology of liability has also taken shape over this little oasis for barn-storming.  There is now only one active airplane at this airpark.

One of those originating people of this small airpark – Dave – died, in December.  Dave’s wish was for no funeral or memorial service.  All he wanted as a tribute to his life was for airplanes to fly-in when the weather was good.  That was yesterday.

This memorial also included lots of family and friends.  There were pictures and stories of Dave’s eight-plus decades on this earth.  He had many children.  He did many things.  He was a veteran, a fisherman, a hunter, a husband, a dad, uncle, cousin, grandfather…  The list goes on and there were about a hundred people at his memorial.   I only knew him for about four years, and maybe a dozen visits.   Ed is the pilot, Ed is the one who talked his language.  I was the one who made the brownies Dave adored.  🙂

For Dave’s memorial, 15 airplanes arrived and were parked on this airstrip Dave created.  The airplanes were varied, from the old and slow to the new and innovative.  There was a barbecue/pot-luck and the food selection was extensive.  Laughter flowed.  I chatted with friends I hadn’t seen in years and had to verify their names then remember who they are (were) and the spouses they’ve lost, the changes they’ve endured.

I met new friends and reconnected with others I may see again.

Today I bought and planted a selection of annual flowers around my home.  Many are small plants of the chrysanthemum variety that will become awesome in the months ahead.   Vibrant splashes of color for the autumn season.

About Terri Patrick
Writer of Romance and Memoir. Life is an adventure, take that journey.

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