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  #241  
Old 10-11-2017, 02:50 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default Day Thirty-Five: Part I (cont.)

I wiped down the Dove in the morning sunshine. She was quite dirty from all the rain the night before which carried a lot of silt in the downpour.

I looked to the south where there was a DUTY FREE sign stenciled onto the side of a building. I walked over there, thinking of John Corey, the millionaire guy I met over in Jackman, Maine, who made his fortune through such stores.





I went inside thinking I might be able to get a cup of coffee in there. I couldn’t. All I saw in there were bottles of liquor and cartons of cigarettes stacked everywhere. The nice lady behind the counter said that if I wanted a cup of coffee, I could go about twelve miles into town to get some. I thanked her, then left.

I could see the entrance to the actual Peace Garden beyond the U.S. checkpoint, but I figured a view of the garden from the air would be enough to satisfy my curiosity as to what lay beyond the guards. I decided that I would just go ahead and get airborne again.

I said good morning to a group of chickens on the way back to the airport. They were hungry and thought I was going to feed them. I felt their disappointment as I walked away.



I blasted out of the International Peace Garden and cranked hard into a downwind departure to the west, hugging the U.S.-Canadian border. The garden fell below my starboard wingtip as I climbed out.



I saw some cheap fuel being sold only 60 miles to the west at Mohall, ND (HBC). I landed there a short time later.





Before I topped off, I walked into a little shack to see what was in there. I still wanted some coffee and needed to use the restroom.





There was a small office inside, but judging from some of the notes and receipts hanging up on the bulletin board, nobody had used that place for years.



I found a microwave and some instant coffee, so I heated up a styrofoam cup full of water and threw in some coffee and stirred it up and went back outside. After topping off, I gulped down the cup of coffee and blasted out of Mohall to the southeast past Minot Air Force Base.

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RV-8 N898W Descending Dove

Last edited by Scott Chastain : 10-11-2017 at 10:30 PM.
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  #242  
Old 10-11-2017, 02:54 PM
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Default Day Thirty-Five: Part I (cont.)

In less than an hour-and-a-half, I landed in Aberdeen, South Dakota (ABR).



There was a very stiff wind as I touched down on Runway 35, and I ended up having to taxi about half a mile to get to the FBO as a result. A crew of green-vested workers and several black SUVs were parked on Runway 13. A few guys with ties and sunglasses were leaning on the SUVs and watching the green guys. They were working on the PAPI system and they all stopped what they were doing and watched me cross over the runway toward the ramp. The wind was whipping their ties around.

There was a guy with a purple button-up shirt and polyester pants waving me over to a fuel pump. I decided to go ahead and pull in there. When I shut down, I opened my canopy and felt it grinding behind me. The UHMW friction block was wearing out, and it was the first time I felt it grinding on the slide rail.

I told the guy in the purple shirt that I would probably top off later. He wanted to know where I was heading. I told him that I was on a flying mission through America for 40 days and 40 nights. He shook my hand and introduced himself as Jason. He was a charter pilot who was trying to keep himself busy during his down time. I climbed out of the Dove and felt the wind trying to push me around. Jason took me inside.

Behind the counter, there was a very pretty young woman sitting there. She looked very unhappy. I was sorry to see such a pretty young woman with a visage of hopelessness and unhappiness etched so fervently onto the features of her face. It was a face that begged to be filled with joy but bore instead a look of dread that would not dare to smile no matter how hard one tried to make it do so.

Mark, the owner of the FBO, was sitting in an office behind the counter. He seemed very upbeat and encouraging, a stark contrast shining out from the office doorway through the cloudy reception area. He asked me if I needed some wheels into town. I told him that I wanted to get something to eat. Mark got up and walked over to the counter. He asked me what kind of food I preferred, and I told him that a greasy spoon breakfast was my favorite. Then he told me to drive about four miles into downtown Aberdeen and look for a place called Sammy’s. He put the keys on the counter. They were for the Malibu sitting outside.

I thanked Mark for the wheels, then used the restroom and went out to the car. I drove off and started exploring Aberdeen.





I parked the car in front of the Capitol Theater in downtown Aberdeen and started walking toward Sammy’s.









Soon enough, I found Sammy’s and went inside where I ordered French toast and coffee.





During breakfast, a mother and her two children sat at the bar and ordered. There was a young boy, about 6 years old, slouching in his seat and refusing to order anything because he did not get his way---over what, I did not know.

After I ate, I paid my bill and shared a good laugh with the waitress about the poor little boy creating misery for himself while his sister and mother enjoyed a hot breakfast at the bar.

Then I walked out and started exploring more of the City of Aberdeen.

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Last edited by Scott Chastain : 10-11-2017 at 03:04 PM.
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  #243  
Old 10-11-2017, 02:55 PM
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Default Day Thirty-Five: Part I (cont.)







The Brown County Courthouse was a 113-year-old structure with nobody inside. There were only pigeons nesting near the pillars when I walked in.











The old city hall, with its beautiful masonry work, was nearby on Lincoln Street across from the courthouse.



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  #244  
Old 10-11-2017, 02:57 PM
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Default Day Thirty-Five: Part I (cont.)

The federal building was just down the street from city hall.





There was a veterans memorial building nearby, but it was locked up and appeared to have been that way for some time.



A Methodist Church dominated the street corner across the street.







I walked back to the Capitol Theater and climbed back into the Malibu and drove back to the airport. The Lord was telling me that it was time to push on.







Back in the FBO, I sat down to check weather. The beautiful young woman who wore a cast of unhappiness on her face walked by.



Then it was time to leave.
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  #245  
Old 10-11-2017, 02:58 PM
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Default Day Thirty-Five: Part I (cont.)

Outside on the tarmac, the wind continued to whip over the asphalt while Jason, in his purple shirt and polyester pants, bade farewell to a C-206 crew as they prepared to crank over.



I went out to the Dove, performed a quick preflight, and topped her off.





After I finished fueling, I went back into the FBO and thanked Mark for the courtesy car. He asked me where I went for lunch, and I told him. He told me that, yeah, it was hard to go wrong with Sammyís. Then he sat down with somebody in his office and went back to work.



I used the restroom, then came out and spoke with the secretary who appeared so unhappy. She said her name was Lacey. She told me that she was a commercial pilot who only worked behind the desk when she wasnít flying. On the way out to the Dove, I prayed for Lacey, that the Lord would someday enter her heart and lift her into a life of joy and freedom and adventure. I hoped that someday she would find happiness.

I cranked over and taxied all the way down to the end of Runway 31 for departure. I blasted out of Aberdeen on a left crosswind departure with the South Dakota city fading below my starboard wing tip.



It was very bumpy flying out of Aberdeen. I felt like getting a lot of flying done that day, so I did. I climbed up above the unstable air to the cool skies above and headed southwest over Badlands National Park.



At Hot Springs, South Dakota (HSR), I cut hard to the north and overflew Wind Cave National Park and Mt. Rushmore over a thick layer.



Beyond the range of the Black Hills, the bottom fell out and I looked back. I thought that they did not call them the Black Hills by accident.





I flew at altitude for another one-and-a-half hours until I decided where to settle down. It was smooth and cool and like letting my soul glide over the surface of a mountain lake in the still of a summer day. Then I started a descent. From 10,500 feet all the way to touchdown, it was a like falling through a rock quarry---bumpy to the point of discomfort. After a 462-mile flight from Aberdeen, I landed in Beach, North Dakota (2ōU).

I did not know it yet, but the Lordís voice would speak to me most loudly and clearly in this tiny town on the high plains of North Dakota. It was a day that was far from over in a world that was not.

I pulled off the runway and taxied in.

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  #246  
Old 10-12-2017, 02:39 PM
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Default Day Thirty-Five: Part II

As I taxied onto the ramp at Beach, I saw a man in his seventies standing by his car. He was wearing a baseball cap, and a pair of suspenders were pulled over a flannel shirt and holding up a pair of blue jeans. He walked gingerly over to the Dove as I swung the tail around and shut down.

When I opened the canopy, he asked if I were going to tie down for the night. I told him that I did not know. I got out and introduced myself. He said that his name was Boyd. I told Boyd about the 40-day and 40-night flying mission I was on, and he took me over to a recently constructed pilotís lounge with after-hours access. It had rest rooms, a couch, and a courtesy van that was nearly new.







Boyd showed me how to use a remote control to open the hangar door so that I could get the van out.







Then, as if he had been sent there on a divine mission to meet me there, Boyd got into his car and drove off into oblivion. I had the whole airport to myself with a place to sleep, a vehicle to drive into town, and a telephone to call somebody on. But there was nobody to call.





After I wiped down the Dove and covered her up, I took the courtesy van into Beach and began to explore.



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  #247  
Old 10-12-2017, 02:41 PM
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Default Day Thirty-Five: Part II (cont.)

I drove the courtesy van across the railroad tracks and headed toward the water tower. There, I parked, got out, and started walking. I had no idea what the Lord was about to do with me. But this was his call, and so I just followed his lead.





At the top of the hill beyond the water tower, I found an open gate, beyond which lay a beautiful acreage that pulled me in beyond the threshold, then thrust me out unexplainably.



It was on that spot where I placed a captive cross of Merced soil and prayed fervently for guidance, because I felt a sudden form of confusion and disarray come over me that I did not understand. As I stood up from that prayer, a car approached the driveway and stopped right in front of where I had been kneeling. I walked onward from that scene with a clear sense of focus. I found an alleyway where I heard many doves moaning in the afternoon shade.



At the end of the alley I encountered a church by the same name and denomination as my congregationís back in Merced. It was another St. Paul Lutheran Church.



From there, I asked the Lord to take me wherever he wanted me. Beyond the empty playground of an elementary school, I watched a couple come out of a house and get into their car and drive off.





Then as I kept walking down the street, I stopped. I heard the distinct call to go around to the back and enter, so I did. And I was not afraid.



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  #248  
Old 10-12-2017, 02:48 PM
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Default Day Thirty-Five: Part II (cont.)

The rear door of the house was open, so I went inside. The Lord wanted to show me something, he said. And he took me to it.



He took me through a paneled room into the basement.





When I first saw the chest and the books, I did not want to disturb anything in there. As it turned out, I did not have to.



The Lord showed me a large manila envelope lying on the basement floor under a faded newspaper. I opened it and saw WWII unravel before me.











I did not know Frank. I did not know his wife. The photos and telegrams were in nearly perfect condition, as if never before seen or read or examined by the eyes of the living or perhaps even by those who had survived the war with grace and dignity and with a stalwart determination to remain hopeful, even in the wake of such horrific death and destruction that no part of any human soul could find the words to describe it, especially in the complete and utter darkness of a cellar that may as well have been a tomb of transience for a nation that still remained somewhat oblivious to the war that was coming, and coming soon.

I placed the keepsakes back in the envelope and left them exactly as I had found them. I asked the Lord for wisdom. I asked the Lord for strength. I leafed through a ledger and wondered what numerical reconciliations were being made there in the transience of time and wealth and prosperity toward a conscience caught unawares in the sudden and scorching winds of global warfare.

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Last edited by Scott Chastain : 10-12-2017 at 03:02 PM.
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  #249  
Old 10-12-2017, 02:49 PM
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Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
 
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Default Day Thirty-Five: Part II (cont.)

From the cedar chest, to a stack of books, to an assembly of mason jars long fouled by the ravages of dank stillness and time, I moved up toward the light of day feeling somewhat numbed and overwhelmed by the realization that there were virtually thousands upon thousands of places like that across the vast reaches of America, and that soon, there would be millions more.













Outside, a barbeque with a long-extinguished log resting atop a rusty grill sat surrounded by a forest of wild growth, awaiting the day to be either knocked down or reignited or both.



From there, I continued my walk through Beach in the slowly reddening rays of daylight.





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  #250  
Old 10-12-2017, 02:52 PM
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Default Day Thirty-Five: Part II (cont.)

The Golden Valley County Courthouse was bathed in early evening sunlight.



A small veterans memorial was stationed nearby.







As I walked through the commercial district of Beach, I decided that I would come back later to the Backyard Bar for dinner. I could not pass up the slogan: Good Food, Lousy Service.



Meanwhile, there was a wealth of antiquity and abandonment and decay to explore along the railroad tracks, so I wandered over there to have a look.









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