Prairie Flyer – Part I
I saw it below, through the clouds, on the ground;
a speck in the dust, it was kicking around
making its way towards the hangar at the end
of the airstrip of dirt where soon I’d descend;
my trip back home…. nearly done.
I took off from Galesburg in a bright morning sun
in a brisk wind that rattled the old Gatling gun
for I’d flown out east…. to buy it for a friend
who wanted it for the museum…. and those who attend,
for an exhibit how air battles were won.
The yellow two-winger was just sitting there
as my wheels touched down in the brisk Kansas air.
It’s an obscure little stop for fuel and some rest
and not known by many….maybe a barnstormer, at best;
but I had stopped here….before.
But I didn’t know the plane sitting bright against the sky
and probably not the pilot, who I just taxied by,
as I headed for the ‘shack’ for some coffee and some fuel
and a chat with the Kansan…. Harley P. O’Toole
and I yelled at him, “Hey, sunflower!” entering the door.
“Who’s flying the yellow bird sitting on the tarp?
I queried of Harley, who’s, when sleepy, not sharp.
But who is, I’m thinking, as I take off my coat
“Just landed,” he said, pulling hard on the rope
the Billy goat not wanting to go out.
“How you been, Jake?” he said with a hug.
“It’s been quite a spell,” as he gave me a mug….
the beer not as cold as I thought it would be
as I went to the window to see what I’d see
the pilot still sitting in his seat.
The ‘hangar’ was all ol’ Harley ever had
a one-floor oasis, a gift from his dad,
who was famous in these parts – a barnstormer’s friend,
and they all showed up to honor him….at the final end
and ever since, Harley’s picked up the beat.
Three hundred miles from Kansas City’s lights
the hangar was like home when dropping from the heights
And the stories of Harley were true…. that made his legend grow
and brought in flyers from all the states…. just like a minstrel show
but the bi-plane on the tarp, he didn’t know.
(to be continued….Part II)