By Tonya Stevenson
It’s a beautiful February morning, temperatures in the fifties and only a slight breeze. My husband and I had just finished feeding all the livestock when he walks up to me in the barnyard.
“Ed called … we’re going flying.”
“Okay, I have to work on the company’s taxes. Be careful, I’ll see you later.”
He is so excited about learning to fly — excited and consumed.
I head back to the house and emerge myself into yearend taxes.
My throat is raspy. I am feeling cold, so I go stoke the fire. The phone rings.
“I just wanted to call you before someone else does. We just wrecked the plane, but we’re all okay. Ed feels terrible; I told him it’s just material stuff.”
“Well, I’m glad you’re all okay?”
I shut down the books and head out to the airport. Jay (Otie’s brother), Otie, and Ed are wandering around between the runway, policemen and the upside down plane.
Everyone’s story is the same. They were getting a little wind so Ed took over. He did a perfect wheel landing (just front tires) right down the centerline. As the speed bled out, Ed set the tail wheel down — immediately the plane careened hard right. Ed stood on the left rudder, but it would not correct, veering off the runway and flipping onto its top. Everyone bumped their heads, but they are all laughing.
It is windy. I am shivering — I excuse myself and drive into town. Tomorrow is Valentines, so I stop to pick-up a card for Otie. He calls…
“Ed says he is taking us all out to eat tonight. We’re going to celebrate…”
“Celebrate? You are going to celebrate wrecking your plane?” I ask in disbelief.
“No, we’re celebrating that everyone is okay.”
I leave to go home and get evening chores done, but I am uptight.
Coughing, I keep my back to Otie in bed.
“That is why I don’t want you to have a plane. I don’t want to lose you. When you had that brain aneurysm, it was touch and go for a full year, and your health is still a struggle. No one even knows what went wrong today. So how can you be careful?”
“You didn’t about lose me. We’re in God’s hands; you can die on the roads. Go to sleep.”
“You can’t fly now until the insurance is settled, so can we please just drop the plane thing, for a little while?”
I lay in the dark silence, stomach rolling, knowing Otie is right. He is finally getting a life back– he is ready to live again. I need to join him. I need to get back to the basics of my faith … trusting and putting God first.
Next morning, I drag out of bed to find Otie on Barnstormers looking for his next plane. I apologize and hand him his Valentine’s card signed, “I am glad I still have you.”
“Ed will be over to fill out insurance papers.”
My fever hangs around 102, I am taking some natural stuff, but my stomach discourages me from consuming the big guns of garlic and oil of oregano — until I am in the 103’s.
I try to continue basics, but drag to a halt. The days blur into bits of Otie’s telephone conversations …” The FFA inspector will be here Thursday… It was a tailwheel malfunction … I am sorry. We can’t make it down until Friday…”
Wednesday night I am 105.5. I sleep on the couch, praying Otie won’t get this.
I spent the night in an exhausted stupor trying to stop my body’s train wreck. My heart feels like it will pound out of my painful chest. I lather it in frankincense. My throat is raw. I take all the big guns, and keep the vaporizer full of oils. At one point I cool to 103.5. When Otie awakes, I am 105.8.
Otie makes us red smoothies before rushing off to chore and meet with the FAA. It is amazing how good it feels to get my temperature down in the 102’s; by night fall I’m hitting 101.
During the night I sweat the bed three times, but awake to a temperature of 100. I wash the sheets and my stacked dishes, weak as a kitten — but getting back to basics. Today we must drive to Texas, need to be home tomorrow night.