Tuesday, October 18

What a party!

On Friday, Oct. 15, the clan starts to gather for our appearance in Meridianville, AL for a one pony show hosted by Dan Gabel. Gene and Sheryl drove up to meet George Dennis, John Thatcher and Joe Roberts who had brought the plane from Shelbyville. Blake Butler drove up with Kyle Dennis so George would have wheels. Training flights were done until after dark.
John was staying with George at his daughter's home where he and Kay were baby sitting for the weekend. But they joined us for the evening as we descended on the Gabel household. There is some trepidation to entering a perfect stranger's home for the weekend with four people and all their gear, but Debbie proved to be up to the challenge. Not only that, but a lovely person who we instantly became best buddies with.
The Gabels are martini aficionados and have one of the best stocked liquor cabinets known to man. So the festivities began. The main topic of conversation was the recent end of Blake's marriage and his re-enty into the single scene. There was a possibility of meeting a new person sometime during our stay here and soon there were seven people giving Blake advice on his future. And the more time went on, the funnier things got. Dan and Debbie treated us to a fabulous steak dinner with all the trimmings and then folks stumbled off the bed. Literally.
We find ourselves at Madison County Executive Airport on a brisk fall Saturday morning. The folks there could not have been nicer. A very efficient and friendly woman named Marty runs the place and is a dynamo. The airport authority (including Tom Sharp, Joe Patterson and Smith Hayward) were hosting a hot dog and hamburger cook out for donations with all collected funds going to the Flagship. How great is that??
This weekend is the debut of the new tee shirt with the Flying Magazine 75th anniversary logo. We are all wearing them and they are a hit. (see photo) We sold $350 worth of shirts and hats to a relatively small crowd. Dan has done a good job of selling and we have an all but full heritage flight plus the cook out nets another $100.
That evening we repair to Nick's, a combination restaurant and cigar bar. We are joined by new members Peter Voetsch and Brandi and Turk Terkhuerst. Brandi works for Delta in operations and Turk flies helicopters for the oil industry in Eastern Europe. Brandi is a pilot also and has a 140 named Patches because the two wings do not match in color. Turk happens to mention that his flight brought back memories of flying DC-3s with his father. Gene asks if his family had one and Turk replies, "Twenty-six of them." At this point, Gene hones in like a heat seeking missile and does not let up until Turk agrees to accompany the plane to Ft. Worth and consider becoming a pilot member.
This is another fun evening with Brandi and Turk coming back to the Gabels with us and the party lasting until the wee hours.
On Sunday, George, Blake and Joe head to Shelbyville after more training. John Thatcher goes back to Dallas and Sheryl goes to Birmingham. Dan and Gene keep the plane open all day.
Monday morning, Dan, Gene, Brandi and Turk fly the plane to Ft. Worth. Upon arrival the Terkhuersts catch a Delta flight back to Atlanta where Brandi had a car.
It will be a busy week in Texas with two days of ground school, charity flights, an air show and Sky Ball.

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