For years I wanted to fly in a sailplane.  A sailplane is a light glider that makes use of rising air currents in order to soar.  It is flight without an engine.  In order to go up in the air, it is towed by another plane to a certain height and then released into the air currents.  If you have seen advertising banners towed in the air you have seen the tow-plane.

My children heard me voice the desire to fly on a sailplane, not once, but several times.  Christmas 1993 they gave me a box wrapped in Christmas paper and inside was a beautifully framed picture of a sailplane.  Both children were standing in front of me smiling.  My son was actually giggling and my daughter was dancing from one foot to the other!  My son said, “Mom, you have always wanted to do this, and now you can” taking out of his pocket a ticket to a sailplane ride.  Talk about excitement!!  It was a huge surprise and something I thought I’d never get to do.

The ticket was for a company that operated in Florida and other states in the south.  I decided that I would like to travel to the one in Lancaster, South Carolina, and insisted that the children come with me. We went on Memorial Day weekend.  My son lived in Tampa, my daughter and I in the Ft Lauderdale area.  We synchronized our flights to 30 minutes apart, my son arriving first in Charlotte, NC.  There we rented a car choosing Raleigh, NC as our place to stay because we also wanted to travel the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The next day we went to Lancaster for the flight.  This time, I was the one giggling and dancing from one foot to the other.  The pilot of the aircraft was “Ledell”.  He had beautiful blue eyes, and a charming southern accent.  I immediately fell in love.  Off we went, towed over rough terrain until we lifted off.   In a few short minutes we were about 5,000 feet above the ground, soaring!  The only sound to be heard was the air rushing through the aircraft.  Looking below I could see the beautiful countryside.  Ledell, did a few loops, I squealed, clapped my hands, laughed and sang a song.  We stayed aloft for some time, then Ledell caught another air current and up we went again.  It was exhilarating and wonderful!  When we went back to the hangar, the owner asked what took us so long.  I found out the flight was supposed to be about 20 minutes and we were in the air about 45.  I received a bonus!

The rest of that weekend, the three of us explored the Blue Ridge Parkway.  What a wonderful time we had together.  All of us single and loving each other.  Taking our time, we stopped at the overlooks and antique stores that dot the Parkway.  Of course we didn’t get to see everything, but that is saved for the next trip.

It was an incredibly joyful time.  I imagine that heaven is much better, but I believe this trip with my children is a close second.  It is a sweet memory.

Jane Owens

© 2013

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