Friday, April 10, 2009

Thursday April 9, 2009

We stayed in the trailer this morning but got out in the early afternoon. We decided to go to the local Historical Aviation Memorial Museum which is located at the airport. This was a very interesting museum, with many scale models built out of plastic, wood carved and metal. The docent that led us through, Jerry Jordan, was very knowledgeable and informative about the museum, having been a crew chief on a jet fighter while in the service. He told us that the museum allegedly has more model airplanes than the Smithsonian. I don't know about this claim, but there are plenty of airplanes to look at.

The weather was threatening rain, so he took us out to the outdoor display of eight different airplanes, from small trainers to the largest single engine fighter/bomber in the Air Force inventory. All of the airplanes have had their engines removed when they were turned over to the museum by the originating service, to keep the airplane from ever being flown again. Of course, all of the weapons were removed, but I noticed what appeared to be some barrels sticking out of the gun port on one of the Vietnam-era planes. Jerry said that they had made the "guns" out of PVC that had been painted flat black. They were very realistic and if he had not told me, I would have thought they were the real thing.

While we were at the museum and outside, an Army Blackhawk combat helicopter came in with a problem with the rear propeller. They sat on beside the museum on the tarmac and repaired the prop, and soon took off. Jerry told us that it is very common for aircraft, especially helicopters, on their way overseas to fight in the Middle East, to fly into the Tyler County airport if the weather is bad or if there is a mechanical problem. He explained that the crew flies the craft to Beaumont where the rotors are removed or folded up and then loaded onto a transport ship for transport to the war. He said the crew will fly back to their base, and after about a week, they fly overseas to find their aircraft and put it back together and go off to war.

It is humbling to see these brave young men as they prepare to go off to battle in foreign lands. Although my career in law enforcement had many dangerous moments, they pale in comparison to what these men and women face daily.

We went to the hospital to see Aunt Frat after completing our museum tour. She was much worse today, probably from her medications. We understand that she had a bad night last night, vomiting several times. Today, she slurred her words and seemed lethargic, and later went to sleep while we were there. Burch, Thomas, Misty and Sunny all came by and invited us to Butch's house for supper. We told him that we would be there about 6:00, but got delayed by the bad traffic in Tyler. We got there about 6:20, not too late, but after the time we had said. Butch's wife Cathy greeted us with their other daughter Mandy, who was there with her two sons, along with Thomas and Misty and Sunny. Mandy had fixed a King Ranch Chicken casserole and Cathy had fixed a green salad and a great cherry/pineapple dump cake with Blue Bell. Yummmmmm

We visited with Thomas and Misty for a while and learned that he has 14 years in the Marine Corps and plans to put in his 20 and retire. He has gotten promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and hopes to get promoted again in July to 1st Lt. He said he hopes to make Captain before his retirement. He told me that his plan is to retire and find another career that he can retire from. Misty intends to find a career of her own and they will have three retirements when they finally retire. They are a young couple with good plans made for the future. Thomas said he will have to deploy overseas in a combat zone at least once before he retires, so we wish him well when he does go in harm's way.

Thomas and Misty are very interested in our lifestyle of living in our RV and said they would like to do something similar when they retire. They made plans to come by the trailer tomorrow to see how we live.

We returned to the trailer and had another good night.

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