Formals & More

Posts Tagged ‘red eagles

 

 My husband is a pilot. He flys his bright red Christen Eagle, along with his partner, in airshows around the nation. 

Last week he was in Florida for the first big show of the season, Sun-n-Fun.  He had gone down last Wednesday, and really, by Sunday he was anxious to be home again. He and his partner flew their routine mid afternoon, and were hoping to be able to refuel and head for home as soon as possible after they finished. But, he had some trouble with the canopy on his plane, and even broke his finger trying to fix it! He knew at this point he wouldn’t get out before the ThunderBirds flew, and that would set the departure time back quite a bit for him. So, with his broken finger throbbing, the canopy giving him trouble, and not being able to get out of there on his own timetable, he went stomping off to the VIP tent to find some ice for his finger. As he walked by all the spectators lined up against the front line fence, he saw a little girl wave him over. Never one to ignore his fans, he walked over to her. She pointed to the US Army pin he had on his hat, and asked him, “Are you a soldier?” He told her that, no, he is not a soldier, but his son, Derek, is, and that Derek will be leaving for Afghanistan in the fall.  She held out her small hand and gave him a shiny gold coin. She asked him to please give it to Derek and to tell him that someone he doesn’t know loves him and is praying for him to be safe. The gold coin had a stick drawing on one side of a little girl holding a flag, with her name and the words, ‘I Salute You’ on one side. On the other side, the words, ‘Thankyou for being my soldier’. The little girl reached out to shake his hand, then stood back and saluted him.  As he continued on his way to the VIP tent, he struggled to hold back the tears. And when he got there, he found a quiet corner where he didn’t hold them back. One small child had helped him to prioritize his life, and remember what is really important.  Our government may be screwed up, our education system may be in need of a make-over, and in this great country we live in, we have our share of overwhelming problems that may or may not get solved in our lifetimes. But as long as we have children who care,as this little girl does, and soldiers who are willing to die for us and our freedoms, we will be ok. Because America isn’t about the government. It isn’t about the technologies or the organizations that make us up. When you get right down to it, it is about the people.  I pray that we will all raise our children to be as caring as this little girl.

 

 

                                                                       

I can always tell how much fun I am having by how soon I start thinking about home and work. This time was no different, except for my question as to whether or not it would have happened at the same time if the weather hadn’t turned sour.

During the winter months, I typically start to feel a little cabin/spring fever by the end of January. By the end of February, it gets pretty intense. This year was worse, only because the weather here (as in the rest of our fine country) sucked. Just when you think it may warm up a degree or 2, it plummets back down 10 degrees, then has the gall to rain or snow more! So when I learned back in January that we would be going to Roatan, Honduras (WHERE?? –  you say?) the end of February, I couldn’t have been more ecstatic! Of course, I first had to look it up on a map. Honduras is a smallish country at the northern border of South America. Roatan, is an island of Honduras, just about 44 miles off it’s northern shoreline. Focusing on the warmth and sunshine I would soon be absorbing is what has kept me going these long days of winter. So, I finished as much work as I could, packed my bag with new bathing suits, 3 new dresses ( 2 of which I never even wore) a few other items, and I was off. Delta only has 2 flights there every week and they are both on Saturday. Oh, boo-hoo. My husband, who would be flying his Christen Red Eagle Bi-lane down, (the whole trip was for an airshow that he and his partner performed in down there) wouldn’t be leaving til Sunday, not get there till atleast Monday. Guess my friend Maria and I will have to spend a few days alone. Stepping off the airplane into that warm sunshine was like walking into heaven!!! I could feel the warmth seep down into my bones and completely and truelly warm me for the first time in months! We were greeted at this tiny primitve airport by 2 gentlemen who quickly let us know that they were to be our official escorts until our husbands made it down. They had promised our husbands that they would take excellent care of us in this strange country we had never been in before. These gentlemen were the ones in charge of producing the airshow, and seeing that everything went as planned. They were awesome! I now know how royalty feels. They brought us to the resort we would be staying at, telling us that whatever we want, we do not have to pay. It is all taken care of. They wined us, dined us, took us snorkeling, gave us a tour of the island, took us to a very ‘cultural’ shopping district, and wouldn’t allow us to be left there to shop on our own until they had deemed it ‘safe’ for us. They were perfect gentlemen. Easy to talk to, fun to be with, very informative, and just plain nice. By the time our husband finally got there late Tuesday afternoon (which is a story in itself), we were so relaxed and happy, we wouldn’t have cared if they made it or not! We lay on the beach all day for 2 days. Stayed mostly in the shade, so as not to  burn our fair winter skin – yet somehow still managed to come home with a perfect tan. The airshow was set for Friday, and while our husbands were at the airport on Wednesday, giving rides and preparing for the airshow, we continued to relax and soak in the rays. Thursday dawned with another story. Winds, the likes of which I haven’t experienced since hurricane Opal rushed through Georgia many years ago, bore down on us. Some rain, not much. Mostly strong winds. The palm trees were whipping around, the ocean water was churning up creating huge waves which splashed upon the rocks and the docks. The sky stayed quite dark all day. The wind never let up. Much too windy to go outside, let alone to the beach. It was really quite devastating; to have come so far for the sun and warmth, get a taste of it, and then be hurled back into a frozen state again. You see, I didn’t bring warm clothes. No sweaters, no jackets, no socks. I was frozen. I all but cried. Not only for myself ofcourse, but for the very real possibility that if it continued, there would be no airshow the following day. After all the miles over that great expanse of water called the Gulf of Mexico, which our husbands had flown their tiny little airplanes over, after all the prepartion and planning our gentlemen escorts had done – we couldn’t concieve of the airshow having to be cancelled because of something so uncontrollable as weather. So what do you do when the odds are stacked against you? You pray. I am here to tell you – God answers prayer! We woke on Friday to beautiful, calm sunny blue skies! Perfect airshow weather! It couldn’t have been a more perfect day for an airshow! And let me tell you – those red airplanes looked so damn good up there against that blue sky! I have always been very proud of my husband for the man he is, and what he does, but there was something special ‘in the air’ that day!  The crowds started to gather early, and as the Red Eagles came screaming down out of the sky, the crowd roared! Many of the viewers had never seen an airshow before, and were amazed, awed and even a little bit frightened!  Maria and I felt like celebreties, as everyone wanted to ask us about the planes and our lives as airshow pilots’ wives. It was a grand day, the culmination of months of hard work and planning on many peoples parts. A grand end to a grand stay. Saturday, our day to return home, brought another cold hard rain, which started to finally let up as we were boarding our airplane to return home. Our husbands were planning to leave today (Sunday), weather permitting. In those small airplanes, they are limited on conditions they can fly in, so if it’s too windy, or the clouds are too low, or if it’s raining very hard, or even if the temperature is too cold, they are grounded. What I am really not liking about it, though, is that our phones don’t work down there, and they didn’t have room in the airplanes to bring their laptops (yes – very small airplanes!) so, they can’t let us know when they are heading home! I put them in Gods gracious hands and just let it go . . .

All in all – the best vacation I think I’ve ever had.  Here are just a few pics . . .

The beach in front of our resort.

Heading out on the boat to snorkel, with my escort, Odirre

A perfect sunset after a perfect day

A view from our room

The guys finally arrive and relax

The weather turns nasty

Getting the beach ready for the airshow!

The Red Eagles soar!!

Our last day – heading home!

 

My sweetie and I!

 


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