Friday, September 30, 2016

It tastes a lot like chicken or it looks a lot like Texas.


Right before last year ended, it was decided that It Was Time for Landyn to get his first airplane ride.

His older brother, Dylan, had been up a number of times and now that Landyn had been six-years-old for over half a year, I was informed that he needed to get some aviation experiences under his belt.

So off we headed to the airport. Once at the hangar, I asked Landyn where he wanted to go. "Cooperstown, New York--to the Basesball Hall of Fame," he announced.

I replied that Cooperstown was a little far for this airplane to make in one day and back, plus having time to see the baseball legends and greats. I explained that his mom expected him and his brother home for supper.

"So how far have you flown your airplane in one day?" he asks.

"Well, I've made it to Ohio before," I answered. "That's where the football Hall of Fame is, you know."

"Okay," the six-year-old declared, "let's go to Ohio then."

"Well, then," I said, "to Ohio it is."

We loaded up, spun the prop and in a few moments were on our takeoff roll down the runway. My original destination had always been to take the boys to Granbury (Texas) where the world's best BBQ ribs are found along with our favorite pickles. It's usually between a thirty to forty-five minute flight depending on winds or how direct you want to fly. Since this was Landyn's first ever airplane ride, we took a scenic route.

Time while traveling is a funny thing for kids. Fifteen minutes or fifteen hours doesn't seem to matter--especially if they're in the backseat of the car or plane. In due course, I made my approach and landing to Grandbury Municipal Airport. As we were taxing up to park, Landyn asked where we were at. Without really thinking, I said, "Granbury."

"Is that in Ohio?" he wanted to know while looking out the window.

"Yep!" his brother immediately piped in, giving us both an idea at the same time--of which it only took a look between us to hatch this plan.

"Really?" a wide-eyed six-year-old said as he was unbuckling his seat belt and waiting for me to move the seat forward so he could get out. "We're really in Ohio?"

"Absolutely," I said. Dylan had run ahead into the FBO to tell the folks in there that we wanted to borrow an airport courtesy car, and while he was in there he'd told the airport men that his brother thought we were in Ohio.

When we walked in the door, all the old men came up to Landyn and greeted him with "Welcome to Grandbury, Ohio, son. Glad you could make it all the way here!" Other men came up and shook his hand and welcomed him to Ohio as I signed the sheet for the car. Finally, as we made it to the door, the airport manager asked Landyn, "So what do you think of Ohio so far?"

Landyn looked around at the countryside and then back at the man. "Looks a lot like Texas," he said. I had to bite my lip to keep from busting out laughing.

When asking the boys where they wanted to eat, Landyn wanted to know if there were Chili's restaurants in Ohio. "I reckon we can find," I assured him, looking over at his brother and winking. At the Chili's, Dylan bolted out of the car and into the restaurant to find a hostess and let her in on the ruse.

"Why, hello there!" the hostess gushed over the boys. "Welcome to Chilis in Ohio. Do you want a table or a booth?" A few moments later, our waitress comes over and welcomes us to Ohio. "So what do you think of Ohio so far?" she asks Landyn.

"I like it," he tells her. "It's just like Texas."

At the restaurant, I take a few pictures of the boys and text them to mom and dad, along with a message that we're in "Granbury, Ohio" and how much Landyn is enjoying this serious travel experience. Dad thinks it's hilarious, Mom's message is, "Just so they're back by supper time."

After Chilis, a quick trip to the famed Rib Shack and a half-dozen jars of pickles later and we're back to the airport where the FBO men shake Landyn's hand and urge him to "Come back to Ohio and see us again, son!"

For the return trip, it was Landyn's turn to ride in the front seat. Dylan had grown bored with the ruse and curled up in the backseat and promptly fell asleep right after takeoff. I let Landyn take the controls long enough for us to cross Interstate 20 going into Weatherford, then told him to look out his window and down. "See that big highway down there, the one with all the cars on it?"

"Yeah?"

"That's the state line--we're back in Texas now. You've flown us all the way back home to Texas. What do you think?"

He was quiet for a moment as the airplane hummed along and as he looked out the windows and then back at his sleeping brother, he looked over at me and announced, "It looks a lot like Ohio."

Being a grandpa. There is nothing like it.