Fly-in brings light planes and helicopters to town | TheFencePost.com

Fly-in brings light planes and helicopters to town

Laugh Tracks in the Dust
Milo Yield
Damphewmore Acres, Kan.

We had an interesting event in our community last weekend. My lucky-to-be-alive airplane flying friend, ol’ Soren Landitt, and his boys, hosted a “Sweetwater Ranch Fly-In.” Several of their friends with light planes and two with tiny helicopters flew in for the festivities.

Ol’ Nevah and I went down to watch the aircrafts and so watch the Landitt family’s old steam engine go through a its first workout after more than two years of rebuilding and renovation. Their massive old steamer is a 1908 Nichols and Shepard. The family acquired it in 2017 in northwest Kansas. Then they had the boiler rebuilt by an “iron artisan” east of Kansas City. All the plumbing was reworked and every part of the engine was retouched or repainted. It is fine-tuned to the maximum available.

After they got the boiler fired and the steam rolling, folks took rides around the grounds on the old steamer and pulled the cord on the shrill, ear-splitting, two-tone steam whistle. The cumbersome steering for the engine is accomplished by a steering wheel and a novel contraption that maneuvers two log chains hooked to the front axle. The operator stands on a rear platform next to the firebox.

All the kids just got a kick out of riding something that massive, old and loud. However, us old-timers recalled our youths when community threshing machines and hay balers were common and daily homemade meals for the “work crews” were where homemakers earned their stripes and made their names as culinary experts.

The Landitt’s Nichols and Shepard was a machine designed to provide power to a large fly-wheel that could drive, by belt, such machines as threshers, feed grinders and saw mills. It probably wuzn’t used for pulling farm implements — too slow and too heavy.

But we old-timers speculated that the first owner of the engine when it was new wuz a justifiably proud feller and most likely the talk of his neighborhood.

At noon, everyone enjoyed a multi-dish smorgasbord lunch, complete with homemade peach ice cream for dessert.

Nevah and I left early in the afternoon so we could watch an exciting football game. My alma mater Bea Wilder U won in convincing fashion over a much-favored opponent.

After the game, Nevah went back to the Landitts to take up their offer of a free evening airplane ride across the Flint Hills. I wuz invited, too, but I declined out of respect for a permanent inner-ear complication. Nevah really enjoyed her hour-long trip, in which she saw the Chase County resident herd of antelopes, plenty of deer, and a couple pastures of USDA wild mustangs. I kind of wish I’d gone ahead and risked the flight.

After the day, I realized that while you can’t relive the past, you can still enjoy reliving the past in your memories.

•••

One of the saddest days of the year happened last week when I ate my last fresh tomato from the garden. Now, I’ll have to survive on homegrown canned tomatoes, tomato juice and salsa. It could be worse. I could have to eat store-bought fresh tomatoes.

•••

Since the race horse I have a 10% racing interest in is racing his maiden race on Halloween Eve, I’m having to write this column early so we can travel to Remington Race Track and Casino in Oklahoma City Thursday for the racing party.

I’ll have to give you an account of the race and our trip next week. Right now, all I know is that “Trick” is running in the second race, a mile, for a $15,000 purse, probably around 7:20 p.m. He drew the Gate #1 inside post position, which ain’t the best spot. And the early morning betting line for Trick is 20-1.

From the weather forecast, we may be traveling in the snow. A bonus for a trip to OKC is the chance to spend a day with our great-granddaughter.

•••

Last week wuz a bad one to be a top terrorist. U.S. special forces proved that they are really “special” when they took down the two top ISIS killers in a single week. Even the military dog was “special.”

That’s really good news.

•••

When Homer got home from a local cattlemen’s meeting, he found his wife engrossed in reading the newspaper. “What’s so interesting?” Bart asked, slightly annoyed at her lack of attention to him.

“Reading about a poll of 100 local women and what they most want in life,” his wife replied.

Bart grabbed the paper and began speed-reading through the article.

“What are you doing?” his wife demanded.

Incredulous, Homer answered, “What do you think I’m doing? I’m making sure they spelled my name right.”

•••

Got room for a few words of wisdom: So, here goes:

“Cows, buffalo and elephants prove the point that it’s impossible to lose weight by eating green vegetation and walking.”

“Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Don’t cheat. Don’t sell drugs. Our government hates competition.”

Have a good ‘un. ❖