When I was a kid, if an airplane flew over, everyone would run out of their house and look up at it. There weren’t many planes at that time.
A neighbor boy, Carl Hudnall, went in the service before World War II and became a pilot.
I was about seven years old and we lived on a farm five miles out in the country. One summer day I was walking down our road when here came a small trainer plane flying real low and wiggled its wings at me. What a thrill! I could even tell it was Carl flying the plane.
After the war, Carl became a Schlitz distributor in Chillicothe and serviced most of mid-Missouri.
I had ridden my bicycle into town one Saturday and was standing on the sidewalk in front of the drugstore when “Moose” Conard decided to give his hometown a thrill and fly a World War II bomber down Broadway. He was lower than the top of the two-story buildings and it was the loudest noise I had ever heard.
I fell down on the sidewalk with a lot of other people waiting for the plane to crash and kill everyone. When I looked up, the plane had gone between two trees at the end of the street and was heading up.
After that, it became a custom of everyone who became a pilot in the Air Force to “buzz” downtown. We even had two local boys during the Korean Conflict and Vietnam War who flew jets down Broadway.
Several years ago, “Moose” was at our high school alumni reunion. When I asked him about flying that two-engine bomber down the main street, he said he never stopped to think if he could see the color of everyone’s eyes in Oak Grove, they could recognize him. A guy who ran the filling station at the end of town recognized “Moose” in the cockpit and reported him to authorities. He was grounded for six months.
I didn’t tell “Moose,” but I thought it was small punishment considering all the people in Oak Grove who had to go home in the middle of the day and change clothes.
Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075 or email@example.com
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