A few weeks ago Charles heard talk of an Air Show in the neighbouring town of Princeton, about an hour up the Valley.
More information leaked his way and his interest piqued when he learned they would have a P51 Mustang at the show, the plane that in his opinion finally became the best and classiest fighter plane the Allies had when the British Rolls Royce Merlin XX engine replaced the Allison
Let me tell you about the Merlin. It has a unique sound that causes the hearts of anyone who has ever flown in a plane powered by the Merlin to start, to flutter and then to race. In 1985 at a 170 Lancaster Squadron reunion I watched a group of Veterans march past the Squadron Memorial while the City of Lincoln Lancaster Bomber flew overhead. The tears trickled down some cheeks, while other faces were screwed up in an effort to control their emotions. A powerful force, the Merlin.
A few years ago Charles was outside in the garden when the sound of the Merlin reached his ears, - first faintly and then roaring down the Valley. A Mustang, flying low along the river, skimming the tree tops about a hundred feet in the air. passed over his head scattering memories all along its way. It caught the ear of an old Navy veteran up on the hill, and who knows how many other hearts it quickened on its journey through the Valley.
We looked for more information about the Air Show, and finally found a site on the Web that had a newsletter and all the information we needed. It also had an Air Show contest, and this was the last day to enter. I quickly signed up for the newsletter and entered Charles in the contest. He won a T Shirt!!!
This encouraged us even more to attend the Show and immediately I thought how great it would be for Charles to have his Cart with him, and how he would be able to scoot all over the tarmac, looking at planes and talking to people (one of his favourite pastimes). He has owned the Cart Carrier that fits on the back of the SUV for a number of years, but never used it, but now that his enthusiasm was aroused the idea was airborne, and we started off early Saturday morning. With some trepidation on my part but total confidence on Charles' that the bar that holds the cart down would do its job efficiently, we started off midst all of the other Saturday morning traffic.
The Air Show was great, - we parked a quarter of a mile away from the tarmac, - unloaded the cart and Charles hopped on and was away down the road. I walked along beside him on the dusty uneven ground, under the blazing sun, but both of us enthused. We picked up our winnings, - the T shirt, and then proceeded to the tarmac, where Harvards and Yaks and a Sopworth Camel and a B25 Mitchell Bomber were gathered with other vintage planes .
Charles, talking to other enthusiasts of the Mustang......which unfortunately did not have a Merlin Engine in it, having to make do with the less treasured Allison.
We wandered around a bit, found some shade, bought a hot dog and some vintage airplanes books, and without the prospect of hearing the Merlin suddenly the heat and the dust and the walker's sore feet reminded us of the coolness of home.
We spurned the highway and came home leisurely along the shady Old Hedley Road, enjoying the river and the campers along the way.
A little drink, a short snooze, and we were off to a dear friend's birthday dinner and a visit with old friends.
Busy and pleasant day, even without the thrilling sound of the Merlin.