Sunday, August 06, 2017

A Family Reunion

Used to be, family reunions were something to be counted on every year, same as summer, sweet tea and cold watermelon. We don't see that much anymore in many families - we're strung out so far and wide that it's hard to get everyone together - so it was really nice to meet the Osteen and Parks families at the Western North Carolina Air Museum with a special guest, an airplane they called "Jezebel".

Some of these "kids" (no matter their age today) played and rode in this old airplane during the time their fathers flew it - between 1956 and 2012. Count it ... that's 56 years' ownership. Of course they looked a little different then.
I got the story from Mrs. Osteen about how Jezzie got her name. It seems somebody asked her how she liked Burt's new airplane. "Airplane?" she replied. And it went from there. Burt Osteen loved that airplane - so much so that he spent a little too much time with it, in the opinion of some. You can take it from there. (Mrs. O and her children said when Burt was in his last days, he didn't talk about the business or about much other than the airplane and how much he wanted it to go to someone who would enjoy it as much as he did. What a wonderful story. I can't imagine how hard it was for them to sell it.)

We had a nice lunch together and the docents at the museum were terrific - showed everyone around and told stories about each airplane there. They even added a story: the Curtiss Robin in the museum is owned by the family of a fellow named Red Nichols who once owned Jezebel! He had a little airport at Black Mountain NC and gave flying lessons, maintained airplanes, and sold a few. Jezzie was one of the few.

All in all, a great day and an opportunity to honor two wonderful families. It was a great pleasure to meet them and to know that the ties that bind are alive and well and strong. Even with a Jezebel thrown in.

What a pleasure, too, to meet Steve Hawley from South Carolina, owner of a beautifully restored Interstate Cadet. This is a rare picture - there aren't all that many left flying.