One of the best parts of dating a wonderful man with an exotic job (pilot) is meeting his friends, many of whom also have exotic jobs. See, a few days ago, James asked if I wanted to go to Ohio on Sunday to meet his friend Dewey. I knew I'd be tired and would really want to stay home and clean and organize and practice and answer emails and catch up on projects, but well, I had a feeling it would be a good day away from The Grind, and of course said yes.
And wow, was I in for a treat! After a surprisingly productive morning (including finally changing my strings and an hour of practice) we drove out to eastern Dayton, where Dewey lives. He told us to meet him at the airstrip from which he flies his plane. Turns out it was also a sky diving school, so we got to see all kinds of people gently floating down from the heavens as we waited for Dewey. Some of them landed very gracefully while others tumbled, and one even landed in a very dramatic somersault!
And then Dewey arrived. He owns an open cockpit biplane made in 1929, and it was our turn for a ride! "Mr. Goodfolk" of Goodfolk & O'Tymes Biplane Rides (also know as Dewey) and James met many years ago when they were trained for a new job together, and recently reconnected while overseas working other jobs. Now living only 2 hours apart, it was a no-brainer that we'd come visit. And yesterday just happened to have absolutely perfect weather.
I had never been in an open cockpit airplane before, and it was amazing. I felt like a movie star from the 1930s! Mr. Goodfolk flew us for maybe a half hour (which is an extended tour, for sure!) and we got to see the really beautiful Ohio landscape. It was so green and the sky was so blue. I could see the horizon in every direction with hardly any obstruction. We saw the corn stalks rustle as we flew close to their tips and waved to the people who waved to us, and even flew close to some beautiful horses grazing in a field next to a mansion with a pool so clear we could see our reflection in it. Amazing! I only took one photo from the air, as the current was VERY strong and I didn't want to risk dropping my phone. Can you see our shadow?
Instead of landing back at the sky diving school, we landed at Dewey's hangar. He had a few more airplanes there! He and James talked shop while I ogled the airplanes. And then we drove (how boring!!) back to the sky diving school, where we picked up our car and followed Dewey back to his home. There we consolidated into Dewey's car, and our Ohio Wonderland tour continued.
Dewey took us to his friend Jim's house. He mentioned something about a carousel as we were driving, but I was distracted and didn't really understand what he meant... until we got to Jim's house. It has a large barn next to it, in which is contained a 1920s carousel that Jim has been restoring for years and years and years.
A carousel. In Jim's barn. In Ohio.
It even had this incredible old pipe organ with drums and an attached cymbal that played tunes off a reel of paper with holes in it. Each hole corresponded to a different sound.
And the final product looked and sounded something like this (Jim turns on the music after a few seconds, and I'm walking backwards while recording, which is why it's a bit bumpy. You see Dewey wave in the middle.):
At this point I was starting to think I had woken up in some sort of amazing fairy tale wonderland where in order to enjoy its splendor I had to wear bug eye protection.
As though this wasn't enough, after the carousel, we headed to Jim's hangar and airstrip, because Jim and Dewey were expecting their friend Andrew to land soon. He was ferrying an airplane formerly owned by Charles Lindbergh. As in, THE Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic ocean, back in 1927. And I got to see one of his planes. Apparently this is one he bought to teach his wife to fly. Wow.
And then, FINALLY, we went off to do something "normal," which was to have dinner and get ice cream. As we were driving, Dewey mentioned that Dave Chappelle lived nearby. "That's neat," I thought, as Dewey drove us in to Yellow Springs, Ohio. As we drove through the very funky downtown (it reminded me a little of downtown Northampton, MA) Dewey pointed out the restaurant Dave Chappelle owns. Then half a minute later we drove past Dave Chappelle, chillin' on the sidewalk with a friend. I smiled at him as we drove past, and he gave me an acknowledging head nod.
So as though everything else hadn't been enough, I made eye contact with Dave Chappelle yesterday.
Finally, we went to Young's Jersey Dairy, where Dewey treated us all to dinner (by this point we'd been joined by some of Dewey's other friends, seen in the carousel video). As a side to my bacon cheeseburger, I got some completely delicious fried cheese curds. They were so tasty! It wasn't a healthy meal, but it was very very yummy! And to finish up the night, James treated us all to ice cream. And MAN, was that some gooooooood (and huge!) ice cream!
Shortly before we were done, Jim and Andrew joined us, and The Boys got to talk shop for a bit longer. I really don't know anything about aviation, but I can imagine the conversation was for me something like the conversations I have with my musician friends are for James. It was neat to listen, though I didn't understand much.
Finally, we went back to Dewey's house, where James and I got back in our car and made the trek back to Muncie. It was an amazingly surreal day.
Thank goodness I had the sense to go to Ohio, instead of work from home yesterday. It was a truly amazing and special day. I will never forget it.