Flight Training - November 2014 - 20

AROUND THE PATCH

By Jill W. Tallman

FRIENDS AND FAMILY

A CHARIOT RIDE TO A FAMILY REUNION

ou have your own airplane?" my cousin Emily asked.
I nodded.
"Must be nice," she said, in a tone that suggested that I
must be a Kardashian-and, in her corner of South Carolina,
that is not a comparison you want to aspire to.

Y

I wanted to tell Emily that my 50-yearold airplane cost less than her car. But I
didn't. Instead, I laughed a little and said,
"It is nice. But, you know, my airplane is a
little four-seater. It's not a jet."
Emily, her mom and dad, and about 50
other distant relatives were dishing up
fried chicken, potato salad, and biscuits
at a family reunion. I had never met any
of them before, but they were bona fide
relations: cousins and half-cousins and
second and third cousins once removed,
and even a half-uncle (step-uncle?) who
had driven down from Virginia.
Between them, my grandfather and his
six brothers had dozens of children, and
their grandchildren and great-grandchildren probably number in the hundreds. I
had discovered some of these relatives on
Facebook, and when they proposed a family
reunion, it sounded like an adventure. But-
drive seven or eight hours from Maryland
to meet a bunch of strangers? That sounded
less like an adventure and more like pure
drudgery. Flying, on the other hand....
The reunion was to be at Cheraw State
Park in Cheraw, South Carolina. Cheraw
Municipal/Lynch Bellinger Field (CQW)

20 /

FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

was just eight miles from the park. I
jumped on AOPA's online flight planner to
see how far the trip would be by my Piper
Cherokee: about three hours.
And that is how I found myself eating
chicken on a sunny Saturday afternoon in
May with my extended family, who-even
though they did not know me-nonetheless treated me as one of their own.
Once the initial flurries of "You're Dorothy's daughter!" from all my newfound
relatives subsided, my cousin Jerry came
up to me. He was wearing a "I love the
smell of jet fuel in the morning" T-shirt-
but not for my benefit. He works for an air
freight company in Portland, Oregon.
"I've got some folks you need to meet,"
he said. He brought me over to a man in
a ball cap, who said, "You're the one with
AOPA!" Turns out my cousin Jerel owns
a fixed-base operator at LaurinburgMaxton Airport (MEB) in Maxton, North
Carolina. He's owned several airplanes,
too. We had a great discussion about aviation, of course (because that's what pilots
do, even if they haven't known each other
more than a few seconds). Our conversation ended with a warm invitation from

Jerel to come visit. MEB is near Fayetteville, a beautiful part of the state, he said.
Oh, did he mention that the U.S. Army
Golden Knights parachute team is based
there?
By the end of the reunion, I had a bunch
of new names for my Christmas card list,
made a promise to come back and visit,
and got a grudging comment from Emily
that she thought flying to the reunion was
cool. She even wanted a ride in my airplane-so of course I need to make good
on my promise to go back to Cheraw.
Flying back to Maryland on Sunday
morning, I thought about how in all
likelihood, I wouldn't have made the
drive-nor met the family, nor visited
this corner of the South-had it not been
for my Cherokee. Most likely I would
have spent this Saturday like many other
Saturdays before it, consumed with
chores that don't get completed during
the week.
The airplane made it easy. The airplane made an adventure out of a trip
that would been fairly tedious. Best of all,
the airplane brought me to new friends
and family-something that in this stage
of life can't be measured in terms of
dollars or gallons of avgas, and is more
precious than gold.
Email Technical Editor Jill Tallman at jill.tallman@
aopa.org; Twitter: @jtallman1959.


http://FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

Flight Training - November 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - November 2014

Contents
Flight Training - November 2014 - Cover1
Flight Training - November 2014 - Cover2
Flight Training - November 2014 - Contents
Flight Training - November 2014 - 2
Flight Training - November 2014 - 3
Flight Training - November 2014 - 4
Flight Training - November 2014 - 5
Flight Training - November 2014 - 6
Flight Training - November 2014 - 7
Flight Training - November 2014 - 8
Flight Training - November 2014 - 9
Flight Training - November 2014 - 10
Flight Training - November 2014 - 11
Flight Training - November 2014 - 12
Flight Training - November 2014 - 13
Flight Training - November 2014 - 14
Flight Training - November 2014 - 15
Flight Training - November 2014 - 16
Flight Training - November 2014 - 17
Flight Training - November 2014 - 18
Flight Training - November 2014 - 19
Flight Training - November 2014 - 20
Flight Training - November 2014 - 21
Flight Training - November 2014 - 22
Flight Training - November 2014 - 23
Flight Training - November 2014 - 24
Flight Training - November 2014 - 25
Flight Training - November 2014 - 26
Flight Training - November 2014 - 27
Flight Training - November 2014 - 28
Flight Training - November 2014 - 29
Flight Training - November 2014 - 30
Flight Training - November 2014 - 31
Flight Training - November 2014 - 32
Flight Training - November 2014 - 33
Flight Training - November 2014 - 34
Flight Training - November 2014 - 35
Flight Training - November 2014 - 36
Flight Training - November 2014 - 37
Flight Training - November 2014 - 38
Flight Training - November 2014 - 39
Flight Training - November 2014 - 40
Flight Training - November 2014 - 41
Flight Training - November 2014 - 42
Flight Training - November 2014 - 43
Flight Training - November 2014 - 44
Flight Training - November 2014 - 45
Flight Training - November 2014 - 46
Flight Training - November 2014 - 47
Flight Training - November 2014 - 48
Flight Training - November 2014 - 49
Flight Training - November 2014 - 50
Flight Training - November 2014 - 51
Flight Training - November 2014 - 52
Flight Training - November 2014 - 53
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Flight Training - November 2014 - 55
Flight Training - November 2014 - 56
Flight Training - November 2014 - Cover3
Flight Training - November 2014 - Cover4
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