Friday, August 19

Show Time

The four troopers were up and out to the airport at 6:30 AM, hauling what seemed to be an endless pile of luggage and totes. We do not seem to travel light. Jack Grenier joins us shortly as does Mark Uriarte, the American Airlines GM at Denver. Mark is just a delightful young man, we all think too young for such a big job. It is obvious as the day goes on that he cares about his people and they for him. We take off about 8;30 for the short flight to DIA and upon landing are greeted by Zane and Deanna Lemon, just in from Dallas.
Before we can even unload things to set up a display table, we are inundated with enthusiastic people wanting to see the plane. There are not only AA employees, but Frontier, British Airways, United, and more....airport employees, firemen, police, TSA and several retired flight attendants. One of these, Jane Meyer Reilly, flew with Jack and many photos are taken of them. Everyone wants a photo of Peggy in her vintage get up too and she complies, even smiling through the pain of a recalcitrant neuroma in her foot.
The day is hot but the AA people take very good care of us, providing water, ice, hamburgers and even ice cream. We all stay with the plane all day except for bathroom breaks. Ninety-three year old Jack is right there with us, even helping to sell tee shirts. He is a big hit, and so is the plane.
The folks in cowboy dress are airport volunteers. And Peggy is in there third from the right. So fun to be among people who appreciate aviation and its history. Mark is also there with us almost all day and loving it. Mark even has an air conditioning hose run into the plane to make it tolerable for those inside. Jack leaves us around 2PM as he has another engagement. And it is not long after that we start to pack up. People just keep coming and we finally have to tell them we are about to start the engines to call a halt. We have sold 23 shirts, in spite of the fact that we are out of the most popular sizes. Jeff Selby had shipped some smaller sizes in and we sell the bulk of them also.
We blast off, feeling a little out of breath, both from the altitude and our hasty packing while still running people through the plane. Good thing the aisles were wider in the 1930's! The land we fly over is desolate. I see no buildings and no roads for most of the way and yet, there is Peggy chatting on her cell phone. I cannot even get a signal in my living room!! On occasion there is a stream or river and agriculture adjacent to it and there are signs of irrigation.
Word comes from David Gorrell that there is a mix up on hotel rooms and we have none. Actually, there is to be a dedication of a memorial at a former Japanese internment camp this weekend and the proprietor decided that taking paying customers was better than comping them to the air show. The next thing we hear is that there is a room with three beds. Hmmmm. What will we do for the Flagship?
After about three hours we land at Powell, WY. This could be described as prairie. There is pretty much nothing except golden fields ending in mountains on one side and the horizon on all the others. There is a welcoming committee and a nice fellow named Bill ferries us to the restrooms in his truck. The organizer of the show is there also and takes off to find us the van we will use while we are here. While we wait on the tarmac with our luggage, we cut the tops off empty water bottles to make cups and share a bottle of pre-mixed margaritas with Bill.
Soon our van appears and we are glad it holds 7 as that last place is needed for the overflow of our stuff. We are off to Cody where a room has been secured.
Cody is a larger town with more restaurants and things to do. It is 9PM again when we get to the Proud Cut, where we eat some really good food. Then we fall into bed.

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