Thursday, March 25

The Adventure Begins

I am Sheryl Christian. My husband Gene is Check Airman for the Flagship Foundation. I have been to several air shows and on short local flights, but this is my first time to travel with the Flagship. On Friday, March 19, I head out from our home in Covington, Georgia to Shelbyville, TN to meet the ship as she comes in from Texas.
It was a marvelous day. Warm temps and blue skies. Around 1:30 I reached Bell Buckle which is a darling town with neat shops about ten minutes from Shelbyville airport. Hmmm. Have at least an hour until the guys are due in. And look ahere. They are having a daffodil festival. How can I pass this up? If you are ever near here, The Bell Buckle Cafe has the best down home cooking you have ever tasted. It is here I once had blueberry salad which should have been on the dessert menu! Nothing really wanted to come home with me so I headed out. Get about two blocks and there is a yard sale in front of a vintage Victorian. Interesting looking furniture. Had I been in the Surburban I would now own a Sheraton dining room table and a lyre ended coffee table. But, alas, I am in my Mitsubitshi headed to pick up 3 XL sized guys so I have to pass.
Shelbyville is nestled in lovely rolling hills and is the center of the Tennessee Walking Horse World. I am told that the real champions are never let out of the barn except under supervision so all the ones in these pastures are wannabees. George Dennis, founder of the Flagship Detroit Foundation, and his wife Kay, own a horse that was Grand Champion a few years ago.
Arriving at the airport, I am told that the plane is running an hour late. That is par for the course in this world so I settle into a rocker on the back patio with magazines and a book on tape. There is a woman with a small dog also waiting. I think about starting a conversation, but don't. An hour passes and Gene calls. Seems they stopped for fuel and he somehow taxied the plane into a position from which it could not recover. So all hands a that airport were pushing this large plane back and forth to wiggle it back out. Finally, when the sun is low in the sky, they arrive.
The woman I have been eying for several hours also approaches the plane. She is Ann Drake, Lewis' wife, who has been summoned from their home 2 hours away to ferry Dave Buffington to an airport for a flight home. Really lit into Gene and Lewis for not telling either of us that the other would be there. Man, all that good gossip time missed! Burke Butler is also at the airport by coincidence. He lives next to George's cabin and we were at this home the last time I was here.
We pile into vehicles and head for Legends for dinner and then George's "cabin," a 4BR, 4BTH log house on a grass landing strip about 15 miles from his residence. It serves as the Foundation's bunkhouse when needed. We turn in early as it is wheels up at 6:30 the following morning.

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