The Way It Was

WayItWas_FirstSolotoon

 

The Way It Was…
“First Solo”
Joe E. Morgan
As Spun by the Old Publisher

There’s just something about an unnatural thing like flying an airplane by your self for the first time that brings out a crowd. My dad drove down to Warrensburg for the occasion, my girlfriend, Patty (later my dear Missus) was there as well as other assorted friends. It gave me a rather uneasy feeling somewhat like a Christian at his first lion gathering. However, everything went reasonably well. I got back in one piece. My dad presented me with my first real wristwatch and the real prize was a big hug from Patty.

The more eventful “first” solo was my maiden Naval flight while stationed at the Olathe primary base. They had several breeds of training planes there, all painted a bright yellow and appropriately dubbed yellow perils. For my big event I drew an ancient NP-1. It was told that one could cut the throttle at 500 feet directly over a circle and land right in the middle of it. To make up for this critical lack of ability to glide, they had large loops on the wings, somewhat like a W.W.I. Jennie. This did help keep yellow paint off of the runway, of course.

I had brashly told my dad, Tom, that I would fly down to Excelsior on this first trip and sneaked him a call shortly before takeoff to announce my E.T.A. for this historic flight.

My troubles began when I couldn’t fly straight down Highway 69. I’d burned that road up in the old cleaning truck so much that I probably could have made it blindfolded. But Fairfax was still a Naval base too and it was very verboten for cadet types to pollute the sacred airways around there. I thought about sneaking south and then coming back to the river, but somehow an end run around by Kansas and back by Parkville seemed a better idea. Somehow things don’t look quite the same from above and I almost made it to Cameron before I got started back in the right direction.

If you’ve ever flown over Excelsior in a small plan you’re sure to remember that the valley creates lots of convection currents and makes for pretty bumpy riding. This combined with my inexperience, not to mention my streak that matched the plane, made my two passes over the old hometown rather traumatic.

It was all worthwhile…and patriotic too! I finally spotted my dad behind the cleaning shop mightily waving his giant American flag. Normally reserved for Armistice Day and the Fourth, it was now being unfurled for a fledgling son.

With a trembling, but jaunty, salute…I headed back to the barn. I was already five minutes late and it was no time for any more “short” cuts. I firewalled it right on down 69, over Fairfax and back to Olathe as fast as my archaic machine would take me.

All of the other sheep were long in the fold as lonesome me came in for my approach. At the end of the runway was the “Blue Goose” (a C-54 that took all of the instructors into K.C. for their nightly opportunity to forget cadets). I knew that I was in for real trouble if I held them back from their revelry. In panic I kept hitting the throttle until finally I was clean past the main runway and was actually landing on the parking apron. The area was still under construction and suddenly looming ahead of me was a double row of workers’ cars. At the last moment with a might braking…and a loud ping as the prop grazed the cement, I stopped just short of disaster. I had homed in on a spot with a single row of cars so that I actually had cars parked on both sides of me.

As I started my prayer of thanksgiving it was quickly drowned out by the roar of the Blue Goose overhead as it was finally able to take off.

In a state of stupor, I could only sit there until the lineman came out and pulled me backward until I could taxi in on my own for almost certain retribution. What happened? The duty officer was down drinking coffee and didn’t see my fiasco. The crew just shook their heads as they witnessed another dumb cadet miracle. Remember I never said I was good…just lucky.

Friday

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.

Hall of Waters Tour

Today we held tours through both the Excelsior Springs Museum and the Hall of Waters downtown. On the August ballot there will be an opportunity for the public to vote for a property tax that will be dedicated to improving our historic museums in town. Both today and next Saturday at 6:00pm the public is invited to take a tour through the space, ask questions, and see firsthand the priorities that will be set with the money generated from the tax.

City Manager Molly McGovern and City Councilwoman Sonya Morgan look over the study of the space from 2014. In the plans, there is space planned for a lobby, circulation, leasable space, staff only space, mechanical, public space, and storage.

Hall of Waters Building Manager TR Kennedy walked us through the old woman’s spa that has been turned into a museum. Here he is demonstrating how the light boxes were once used.

This is probably the space most folks have a heart for and memories of. I brought a couple down to see it and the man told me he remembered taking water babies here. I was able to tell him that I did, too!

This is the boiler room. The boilers are literally from the 50’s and could go out at any time. The first priority for the Hall will be to fix the ventilation problems, including the HVAC from mold and other harmful airborne contaminants.

In the sub-basement there used to be a water tank attached to the base. They ended up torching the tank off the base to find a huge buildup of sediment from the mineral water underneath. It’s so heavy that it will probably never be removed.

In the tunnel that runs alongside the bottom sides of the swimming pool, you can see the corrosion around the columns. The iron underneath is reacting to the contaminants in the air causing the damage. A new ventilation system can help to stop it.

In the elevator. This is a relatively new floor, meant to match the other Mayan styled decor that exists throughout the building. It was paid for by ghost tour proceeds.

Under the front lawn is the well room where the original Siloam well is housed. You can see above the five pipes that were used to bring the Springs into the Hall.

On the wall, you can see the workers initials with the year 1937 (when it was built) etched into the cement. I wonder who they were.

Ceiling damage in the well room, underneath the front lawn.

The original well spring Siloam. You can see the red iron in the water coming out of the floor. The springs are healthy!

In the Solarium we have our Visitor’s Center, where the public can walk around the water-bar and learn some of our history.

I can’t imagine our community without the Hall of Waters. It’s the heart of the downtown and was built in celebration of our unique waters whose varieties can’t be found together anywhere else on earth. It would be such a disappointment to see it go. I hope everyone votes Yes on August 7th to restore it.

Visit www.museumtax.com for more information and details on this project.

Thursday

Strong people stand up for themselves, but stronger people stand up for others.

It is well…with my soul…

Found Sketch hanging out in Mack’s room this morning

The first Elms Boulevard fountain freeze of the season!

Our friend Darryl Couts led Children’s Time at church this morning. Can you find Mackenzie in this pic?

This is my friend and pastor Laura Blevins. Each week she inspires us to be better, reminds us of God’s unconditional love, and motivates us to get involved in our community.

This morning she welcomed us all to come and revisit our baptisms. It was a moment I want to remember, walking down with S. Jason to pray.

Today our church was celebrating 25 years being in our new church building

Pastor Laura just had a little pumpkin, Noah, and it was nice to see them both this morning!

The bell choir practice is underway! Our church always has something musically special being planned!

The preschool is having fun with Fall!

We went and got some pumpkins of our own.

Kitty was enjoying laying in the warmth of the sun light coming through the window

Braces

Love these kiddos

Mackenzie found an old picture she drew when she was 7 years old.

And so she updated it! (The book she is using is one she made out of old cereal boxes given to her by Gail Brown)

Thanks for following along!

A Day in the Life

Follow as I take you along, on a day in the life of Courtney Cole…

I love mornings on the boulevard, when the Sun is in the East and warms everything up with its radiating presence. This is what greets me while walking Mackenzie to school.

Meeting with a good friend at the Elms to discuss internship possibilities for our students at the Career Center. The Elms is a wonderful partner for our school district. We appreciate them being open to possibilities in giving students real world experience!

I obviously couldn’t get enough of this amazing fountain in front of the hotel. With the Sun behind it in the mornings, it’s beautiful.

My next stop was to Spirit Pack, where I got to see the last of the three orders I placed for Homecoming come off the line, ready for packaging.

Recently I organized t-shirt sales for Mackenzie’s elementary school, the alumni association, and the educational foundation.

Spirit Pack is a local shop that offers promotional materials to market your business or organization. It’s nice having them in town but they actually do business across the nation.

Quick stop at Aunt Molly’s to talk Budding Artists. Aunt Molly offers painting workshops to kiddos every Wednesday evening. She donates 20% of the proceeds back to our Educational Foundation! So grateful!

Couldn’t resist taking a pic of these cute Halloween creatures in Aunt Molly’s studio. So fun and she’s got a bunch of cute stuff right now for Fall.

I don’t know the names of any of the pictures of flowers that I take for you. I also don’t have a green thumb. In fact, I’m known in the plant community as the “plant killer.” I still appreciate their beauty and am drawn to want to photograph them. 😊

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'm a board member of SAFE Community, which is a local committee whose goal is to prevent drug addiction and destructive decisions in our kids. I took this to share with our local community.

I run a Facebook group for Excelsior and try to keep them updated on what's going on. Let me know if you want me to put you in. 🙂

Picked up the alumni t-shirts that are ready just in time for Homecoming tomorrow! Spent the afternoon sorting and selling shirts to alums who dropped in to get their orders.

Tomorrow we are having an alumni tailgate, before the Homecoming game. I’m going to be signing folks up for the alumni association. Anyone who donates $20 or more to the Foundation will be recognized as a founding member! This will provide us with seed money to get our association started. So exciting!

This evening we walked down to Wabash BBQ and met my parents for dinner. Couldn’t resist taking a photo of the hotel, though. My castle at the end of the street.

I had the Golden Spike chicken sandwich at Wabash and have determined it’s the best chicken sandwich in Excelsior, for sure.

Stables at the Elms. When my Aunt Molly was growing up, her job was at the stables, taking care of the horses. She had a horse that she rode everywhere she went and at night she would tie him up on the boulevard. She’s always loved animals so much.

He’s almost done with painting her room what he calls “The Royal Tenenbaums” pink. I agree and think he’s such a great dad. 💗

Thanks for following along! Still loving these mums!