Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Path Across the Sky

Whenever I flew into Dayton, I strained to see the ground below looking for our farm. Not a great navigator on the ground, the sky offered me the same.

With our farm lying below the flight pattern between Chicago and Dayton, our house was buzzed several times a day and at night as well. First came the old props. The whine of the aircraft grew louder and closer to earth as the plane approached Neff Road. Dad would point out the airline company name on the plane.

Neff Road noises are good noises. Tractors in the fields, the clip clop of a horse and buggy going down the road, a dog (usually Cyril’s hound), an occasional car. Those were the sounds of country. With progress came more noise. Ours was air traffic.

The planes we knew best were crop dusters. The big old single engine plane would be heard coming miles away. It would buzz the farm presumably getting the lay of the land. Then it would bank and come in across the field with the white fog coming out fogging the field. I don’t know if anyone forewarned the bugs to seek shelter, or chased the bunnies from their nests. I’m sure the birds had time to escape, but probably not their eggs. We loved to watch the plane. Little did we know about the fog and it’s danger.

Props were replaced by jets. We would lie on the hill watching Air Force jets from Wright Patterson paint trails of white across the blue sky. Jets would fly low making their descent into Dayton. The sky became a noisier, busier place.

Street lights have not yet found Neff Road. An occasional farm light brings daylight to a home along the road. But for the most part Neff Road still hides from traffic jams, traffic lights and sidewalks. The riders in the planes passing overhead are missing a beautiful piece of Americana. Let’s hope it stays that way.

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