There was a chill in the air when half the neighbors, wearing overalls or housedresses and aprons, out in their yards, were watching the clear sky for the small noisy plane buzzing above.
A biplane had landed in a field east of Gowdy’s farm and now was droning over the town of Dexter, Iowa, population in the 1930s of about 750 souls.
Early, before school.
As the low plane roared overhead, a boy’s cap blew out and sailed down onto Leora’s tomato patch.
“Well, if that don’t beat all!” Leora Wilson wiped her hands on her apron. “My boys are having a ride!”
“Which ones?” Addie Cresswell was the Wilsons’ next door neighbor.
“Dale, Danny, and Junior!” Leora and Addie both headed for the cap in the garden. “When they heard it go over the first time, those boys ran out to Gowdys’. The pilot said he’d give them rides for $1 apiece. You should have heard them counting out all their summer earnings.”
“Your boys are good workers, that’s for sure.” Addie still watched the sky. “Do you s’pose one of them threw his cap out?”
Leora planned to can tomatoes that morning. “I reckon it was no accident!”
It wasn’t long before three breathless boys in overalls had run the mile and a half home.
“Wow, what a ride!” Junior, the youngest, was in fourth grade. “Where did you find my cap? I threw it out right over the house.”
“It landed right in the tomato patch. You’ll sure have something to tell at school this morning!”
Danny was a grade ahead of Junior. “Best day of my life! I gotta get my hair combed.”
Dale was a seventh grader. “That was a swell ride! I’d sure like to be a pilot someday.”
“You boys get yourselves a drink of water. Hurry! It’s about time for school to commence.”
After that wonderful ride in a biplane before school, is it no wonder these three boys wanted to become cadets when WWII broke out less than a decade later?
Junior drew planes in school.