Twenty-nine years ago last month, my mom, dad, sister and I loaded all my belongings into our 1973 Beechcraft Baron and flew me to Grand Forks, N.D., to move me into McVey Hall at the University of North Dakota.
Fast forward 29 years and the roles had reversed. My wife and I drove to the southeastern Washington town of Walla Walla to move our daughter Savannah into her dorm at Whitman College.
Move-in complete, Deb and I headed home after a few last hugs. The drive home was rather quiet. Both of us were lost in thought.Mine fixated on time. How could nearly three decades have passed so quickly?
Full circle? It feels like I’ve barely completed a standard rate 360° turn…with a few snap rolls (called life) thrown in for good measure.
I took a mental inventory of 29 years while the miles ticked by…
- Added Commercial Pilot certificate as well as Instrument and Multi-Engine ratings;
- Joined the UND Football and Basketball Cheer Teams (this is where I met Deb, my wife of nearly 23 years);
- Graduated with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration and moved back to Washington to work at General Aviation News (1993);
- Married Deb (1994);
- Sold 1946 Piper J-3 Cub (1996);
- First child (Savannah) was born, bought The Southern Aviator, took over management of General Aviation News, The Southern Aviator and SUN ‘n FUN Today, sold Baron, bought Cessna 205 (1999);
- Second child (Brenna) was born (2000);
- Stopped flying. Not by design, it just happened. Sold the 205. (2002);
- Third child (Jack) was born (2005);
- My Dad died in July, Deb’s Dad died in November (2011);
- Started flying again (1946 Piper J-3 Cub) in February, sister died in March (2013);
- Watched Savannah graduate after a very successful high school career (2017).
And of course, there are many, many other milestones – large and small – that I’ve skipped over. We’ve all got ‘em. It’s called life.
While Savannah isn’t a pilot yet, she’s happy to be a passenger with me in the Cub my friend owns and lets me fly.
At this point, Savannah’s future is somewhere in the sciences. She’s wicked smart. She took four Advanced Placement (AP) classes her senior year and earned a 5 (the top score) on three tests (Chemistry, Physics and Calculus) and a 4 on the fourth (Spanish). I can barely spell AP. Color me proud.
Soon, I hope, life will settle back into a familiar routine as Brenna is now a high school junior and Jack starts middle school as a sixth grader. For now, the house feels different. Being down a kid at home makes a big difference.
The morning after Deb and I returned from Walla Walla, I asked Jack if he wanted to go flying with me in the Cub. He’s flown many times on airliners, but never in a GA aircraft. He’s a bit on the cautious side. “Yeah,” was his response. So we did.
He enjoyed the flight, but only time will tell if it was one of dozens of “bucket list” item for him (he has a list, believe it or not) or a future path.
Either way, it completed yet another circle in life. My parents, my sister and I, and now all of my kids have flown GA.
I wonder what the next 29 years — let alone the next week — have in store.
In the meantime, good luck, Savannah. I’m so very proud of you.