Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blue Angels

This past weekend was the Grand Junction air show.  It all started Thursday and Friday when the planes began practicing their acrobatic flights.  We had several opportunities to enjoy watching the jets each afternoon looping and spiraling all over the valley.

On our return trip from Montrose on Sunday, we decided to head over toward Brett's work which is located just south of the airport.  The Blue Angels were scheduled to fly about 3:30 and while we didn't want to go into the actual air show, we were figured that we could see them just fine from there.  After parking the van, we trudged up the bank of the irrigation canal and laid out our picnic blanket there in the midst of several other folks with the same idea.  And then we proceeded to wait.

I have to say that this was the most curious episode with my kids ever.  The girls were in their leotards and everybody was in the dirt.  They picked at rocks, shuffled clumps of dried mud and ground the silt with their hands, feet and sometimes hinnies.  Brett and I gave up asking them not to get dirty or dusty, we were just glad that they were not whining or moaning to loudly.  They were impatient and grumbly, but we knew that the wait would pay off.  Several times Brett and I reiterated, "You will be impressed by the planes and your patience will be worth it."  To which they would mumble and moan.

And then the Blue Angels took off and they started "wowing" and "zowing"!  It was an incredible show - loud, exciting and awe-inspiring.  They clapped and cheered as the planes flew over us in tight formation.  And I marveled again at close their wing tips were.  I can't even ride on a bike that close to anybody else!

As anticipated, the Blue Angels were the "bests" of each of their days and the dusty wait was forgotten.

This wasn't the first time we'd seen the Blue Angels in action ...

Prior to moving to the house we currently live in, we had lived closer to the airport and consequently, we had the opportunity to see up close the acrobatics of the Blue Angel jets.  I remember vividly sitting on our front porch with little Aaron and Norah as they tried to point at the jets and keep their ears covered with their pudgy little hands at the same time.

A few years passed and the weekend for the air show rolled around again.  We had since moved across town and I figured we wouldn't see much from our new neighborhood.  One particular afternoon the Blue Angels were once again practicing their maneuvers and we could see the loops and lines of the jet streams in the blue sky as the pilots performed their acrobatics, but it was difficult to see the actual planes.  Ashley and I were sitting out in the front lawn trying to catch sight of the jets as they shot overhead and Ashley was asking questions about the mysterious roaring she was hearing.

Drawing from my non-military expertise, I tried to describe the jets and how they would fly side-by-side in formation, making loops and spirals in the air.  She sucked her thumb and nodded, but she still did not have the context for what I was describing for her.  To her three-year old mind, a plane was a big thing that people rode on to get to Grandma's house.

And then suddenly it was all perfectly clear for her.

We felt the rumbling first, a persistent vibration in the concrete step we were perched on.  Then the roar grew and suddenly right over our culdesac flew a jet!  He was so low we could have waved to him and seen him wave back.  Time seemed to freeze as we watched him fly by.  All Ashley and I could do was sit their with our jaws slack staring up at the belly of the plane as he cruised over.  Then we yelled and cheered and clapped our hands ... for our own personal air show!

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