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» Saturday, October 22, 2011The Big Hangar
Will you tell me why I am so blankety-blank hard to unwind? I have never been a "type A" personality, yet the only time I seem to relax any more is when I am reading; otherwise I'm strung tighter than a bow. Last night we had a comfy bed and comfy pillows in a nice cool room after a great shower. The blackout curtains really worked (and a good thing, too, because there's a spotlight that shines right toward our window). We went to bed and had eight solid hours of nice sleep ahead of us, from 11:30 to 7:30.
I woke up at 6 and never could get back to sleep. My mind was racing about the glass of milk I stupidly left in the refrigerator; I was supposed to drink it yesterday before we left. Now it's going to sour in there. Left a cup of yogurt behind, too. I can't sleep because I am thinking about having to clean the refrigerator. Is this idiotic or what?
So we were up at 7:30 to dress. I got a rude surprise: the last pair of GV jeans I bought at Costco didn't fit. Although they were marked my size, they were at least one size too small. Phooey! James walked the dog and then we went down to breakfast. I hate to be disloyal to Drury, but I think I like the Staybridge breakfasts better. Their oatmeal was in packets and didn't have a metallic taste. They also had mixed fruit instead of just apples and bananas. And there was toast.
So this morning we were headed to the Air Force Museum. We were here eleven years ago, having stopped in Dayton a day early before going on to Columbus for the "WENNvention" [gathering of Remember WENN fans] [that account is here]. There was a new hangar of experimental planes James wanted to see, and some of the planes formerly on the flightline were now inside. Plus we had had to rush through the post-World War II galleries very quickly last time. So since we were heading for "points north," it made sense one of the points was here.
The first thing we did was spend a half hour in line to get registered for the bus to the hangars where the Presidential planes and the experimental Air Force planes were. Both of us skipped out of line to take a couple of pics. After that we started walking through the galleries we had examined in detail last time: early aviation (starting with balloon ascents and the efforts of non-Americans—there's an actual Bleriot, which will mean something to anyone who loved the British seies Flambards) through World War II. The exhibits segue logically one into the next along a curved pathway that makes the experience more interesting, as you turn a corner and see a new vista of aircraft, or come upon a little alcove where you might have a small exhibit about spying or prisoners of war. You walk out from the World War II gallery into a short, but very effective display about the Holocaust. There is also a display for Bob Hope's involvement with entertaining the troops, a small exhibit about service flags, and a huge, beautiful hanging quilt paying tribute to Air Force installations, as well as a mosaic reproduction of the famous photo of the Wright brothers' flight.
At this point we decided to break for lunch, so went upstairs to the cafè, where they have hot dogs, hamburgers, some ham and cheese sandwiches, fruit, drinks, milk, chips, and desserts. It has been busy here all day, and we shared company with what sounded back down on the exhibit floor like veterans visiting for the day, plus a plethora of Boy Scouts. After lunch there wasn't much time before we needed to be on the bus, so we just wandered around the gift shop until it was time to gather in the auditorium.
For reasons that I'd rather not go into, I ended up not going to the experimental hangar. James enjoyed the excursion very much and took about a gajillion pictures, to the point where he ran down my spare battery down on his camara. He had already run down his own in the first gallery! By that time I was slightly better and wandered after him through the remaining two galleries: Vietnam and Korea, and the Cold War, which also included the missile gallery and the few spacecraft exhibits (including the Apollo 15 capsules, Gemini and Mercury capsules, and a moonrock). All those names from Vietnam bring back such bad memories. We watched it night after night on television. My cousin Jimmy went to Vietnam and came home so changed and emotionally fragile. My friend Penny's dad went as well. I remember going to her house one night to watch her Dad appear on the news. And we never saw the actual carnage...just indistinct bodies and wounded men wrapped in bandages.
Vietnam was part of my childhood, but it's funny how the World War II gallery also always resonates with me, as it was my parents' war. But then it was as alive in our house when I was a kid as it had been to them twenty years earlier. I would ask my mother to tell me the story about what happened to her the day of Pearl Harbor, and even today I can't hear John Charles Daly's Pearl Harbor announcement or FDR's "Day of Infamy" speech without getting gooseflesh.
While waiting for James to finish taking pictures in the last gallery, I sat down near a young mom discreetly nursing a baby under an afghan; she had another tiny little girl with her. Very soon dad and slightly older brother turned up. I'd say she was three and he was about five. She was sitting in the stroller and would push him away and he would pretend to get pushed backward, then come back for more. Then she slipped out of the stroller and they were trotting around the stroller. So cute!
So, very close to closing time, we ended up back in the gift shop. They have a great selection of military and aviation books, and I could have bought a lot more than I did, including a illustrated book of World War II memorabilia (games, ration cards, greeting cards, etc.), several space books, and others I can't recall. I did get a book called A Ball, a Monkey and a Dog, about the early days of the space program, and a book chronicling girls' serial/series stories about aviation (The Girl Aviators, The Aeroplane Girls, etc.), plus the souvenir booklet. By the time we walked out it was 4:55 and they closed at five.
We had supper mostly at the Drury evening meal setup. This time they had hot dogs, mac and cheese, baked potatoes, salad greens, pretzels and chips, and chili. I had to have some mac and cheese (if you get my drift) and also had a baked potato with cheese sauce, and some bread. It was terribly noisy in the dining area; apparently there was a little girls' soccer competition in the area. This explains the three little girls on the elevator yesterday, as we ran into one of them on the elevator again tonight—she said, "I remember you; you're the ones with the parrot." Schuyler gladly accepts the compliment!
We finally fled from the tumult and walked across the parking lot to the Panera Bread to buy some of their chicken soup, and two cookies, and brought it back to the room. Willow fixed her eyes on the bowls for the entire time we ate, those big liquid brown eyes that try to persuade you that she's starving to death with a bowl of kibble not a foot away. We finally mixed her dog food with two spoonfuls of the broth and she scarfed it down.
Wandered about the television dial tonight, ending up finally watching the second half of The Fugitive on "Spike," and most of an America's Funniest Home Videos. Did some checking; the Neil Armstrong museum doesn't open tomorrow until noon, so we have a quiet morning tomorrow.