The Motor Vessel "Once Around"

The Motor Vessel "Once Around"
The Motor Vessel "Once Around" in the Florida Keys

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Ma'am, Which Way Did the Preacher Go?

Yesterday, Carrie and I visited the Orville and Wilbur Wright Memorial at Kitty Hawk.  We learned the amazing story of two bicycle shop workers from Dayton, Ohio, who through their own ingenuity became the first persons ever to achieve motorized flight.  Most of us probably recall hearing about the Wright Brothers from our school days, but the story of how they came to be the first to achieve flight was really impressive.  The National Park Service does a great job of explaining it all, and I would encourage anyone who is anywhere near the Outer Banks to make the drive down and see the Memorial.
Much of what we learned we absorbed from listening to one of the National Park Rangers give a very passionate 30 minute lecture, with full scale models of the original airplane as his backdrop.  He was a very animated character and very loud.  Sometimes he talked so fast I had to strain to understand him.  I wondered what the several dozen scouts and other youth groups in attendance thought.  Not a one of those kids moved an inch though, as the Ranger told the tale of the three years of the Wright Brothers’ trial and error in an almost fanatical tone.
Did you know that…
…although conditions were perfect the day before, the first successful flight was December 17, 1903, a Monday, because the Brothers had promised out of respect for their father (a preacher) not to attempt a try on a Sunday.
 …the first “flight” was made by Orville (luck of the draw), lasted 12 seconds and covered only 120 feet.
…Wilbur, on the second attempt flew only 175 feet, followed again by Orville going 200 feet.
…the fourth and longest flight was Wilbur’s at 852 feet and lasting 59 seconds?
…and the guy who took the famous photo of the first flight, which has been reproduced millions of times, had never before taken a photo of any kind, and claimed to have never taken another for the rest of his life?
These and many other bits of trivia and history flowed from the avid Ranger until he had worn himself and the rest of us out!
After the lecture, as Carrie and I were walking around the pavilion reading further details, a little boy of about 8 years came up behind Carrie trying to get her attention pleading, “Ma’am, Ma’am, which way’d that preacher go?”
Just as Carrie turned towards him, he was distracted by something else in the room and looked away for a moment.  Carrie started to move away, but again heard, “Ma’am, do you know where the preacher went?”  Realizing with a smile the park ranger must have sounded to this youngster like a “preacher” he’d heard somewhere, Carrie pointed the boy in the direction she had last seen the ranger heading.  Carrie noticed his mom watching from a short distance away with a smile.  Apparently the boy simply wanted the man’s autograph!  We chuckled to ourselves how close to a fire and brimstone speech we had just heard!
Well, today is Mother’s Day, and something we saw on a local church sign made us think of the little boy again:

 I am betting the little boy will never forget his scouting trip to Kitty Hawk.  He may even remember the ranger.  But, he will always remember that his mom was the one who took the time to take him there.
So, here’s wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to all the scouting, little league, soccer, ballet, teaching assistant, carpool driving, and every other “duty as required” mom’s out there.
Know that your kids love you, even when sometimes we forget to tell you.

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