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Family.

My sister and brother-in-law just left after an afternoon visit. We spent most of the time going through the family photo albums looking for photos of my Dad to display at the calling hours and memorial service. It’s not easy to summarize 64 years in 40 photographs. We made a decent attempt.

I haven’t left the house today. Everyone at my dad’s thought I needed downtime today because I’ve been going non-stop since the crash answering phones, answering questions and coordinating things. If this were to happen again I guess I would need an assistant. On second thought, my family here at home has been very helpful. Scott spent the day adding to the outside Christmas decorations he put up yesterday. They look beautiful. Jamie scanned all the photos we selected. He was kind enough to crop out my ex. That made me happy.

Even though I haven’t left the house today I am exhausted. Oddly, the blahs that I felt a few months ago have not returned. This should be a good thing. My sister remarked that dad smiles a lot in all the photos. I need to remember that and follow his lead.

It was nice to visit and reminisce today. I feel centered. I’m ready for the services tomorrow and Tuesday. There is comfort in knowing that I feel ready.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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Repost from Aug. 23 ’05: “Flying With Dad!”

This is a repost of an entry from Aug. 23 ’05.

Flying with Dad!_36710965_o

Tonight I had the opportunity to do something I haven’t done in a long time. Dad and I went flying together.

My father has been a private pilot for a long time. I’ve complained about flying in the past, but those complaints are limited to flying the commercial airlines, mainly because they herd you like cattle through a shoot. I also have another beef, no pun intended, about flying commercially. I don’t know the pilot. And I can’t trust a pilot I don’t know.

I’ve been flying with my father since I was six months old. My grandfather was a private pilot, so we’d fly with him, and then my dad became a pilot in his late 20s. Where most people have blood flowing through their veins, my father has aviation fuel.

When I was growing up, we started off flying in the pilot’s association’s Cessna 150 (which is still going this day, I might add) and then a Piper Tomahawk. Later in the early 1980s, my grandfather and father bought a 1940 Piper J5-A that my dad stripped down to the metal and rebuilt. He had that for several years, before building the plane you see in the picture, his Acrosport.

The Acrosport is a lot of fun to fly in, but it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s open cockpit, so you get to wear all the Snoopy gear. I had the honor of wearing my grandfather’s pilot gear tonight. The passenger’s seat has the ominous warning: “PASSENGER WARNING: THIS HOME-BUILT AIRPLANE IS EXPERIMENTAL AND THEREFORE DOES NOT MEET FAA SAFETY REGULATIONS”. Who cares. It’s rare that I feel that free as when I’m sitting in the passenger’s seat of my father’s airplane. Just be sure to sit low in the seat so the wind doesn’t blow your sunglasses off!

Right after take off, the engine backfired a little bit and did a little sputter thing, just as we were banking to the right. My father straightened the plane to the horizon and it stopped. Another quick bank to the right to make sure it didn’t do it again, then a zip around 180 degrees to buzz (that means fly really low and fast) my sister and Earl, who were standing along the airfield watching us, both waving. Did the sputter worry me? Absolutely not. I was in the capable hands of my father, so that meant there was nothing to worry about. He’s been in worse situations and has never had even a close call. Nothing to fear.

The rest of the flight was awesome. We flew eight or nine miles to the west of my hometown to fly along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario a little bit before heading back home. I wasn’t ready to take the controls to fly yet, though Dad would have let me. I used to fly occasionally with the club instructor or my dad when I was younger, given the controls of the Cessna or the Apache. And I’m eager to try my hands at a Cessna 150 or 172, but not his Acrosport. Not yet.

Afterwards, we had a wonderful meal with my Dad, his girlfriend Karen and my sister Jennifer. Great conversation, delicious food and a flight down memory lane.

A wonderful evening.

You can click on the picture above for more pictures from the flight.