Monday, April 6, 2009


We dropped down the hill and the airstrips came in sight. The familiar red and blue taxi lights edged them. I loved hearing my Dad tell me about the colors, the angles of the strips of pavement, the types of buildings at the airport. I feel a connection here. I flew out of it a few times as a teenager, picked Dad up occasionally from a trip, knew he was down here flying planes to and from sites across the Midwest. This place reminds me of him, of how he used to be.

Dad sits silently in the car looking out on the field. I wonder what he is thinking. I wonder what he remembers.

My grown son follows the signs and smoothly gets us to our destination, the Airline History Museum. We pull up in front of a metal corrugated hanger on the flat concrete tarmac. It feels so good to be on an airstrip. The small plane engines purr in the distance. I see a red two-seater and am reminded of the time Dad took us girls along to a rural airstrip as he practiced landings and takeoffs. Two sisters would wait on the ground, while one soared into the sky with Dad. I loved every minute sitting next to him as we gently lifted up into the bluest sky. Coasting along with dad all to myself, amazed at how small everything was back on earth. He was in total control of flying us through the air.

Dad struggles to get out of the car, holding on to the door until my nephew gets the wheelchair behind him. He looks rested today and should be able to go through the museum okay. His legs will not allow him to climb steps and walk through the old planes. The stroke has left him unable to tell me stories of his flying days. His time in the Air Force or years in small planes. He can't answer my questions.

But we have each other today. Father, daughter, grandsons. Sharing our love of flying.