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Gary Peterson Art Blog

Flying to Carolina

by p3t3rson , June 10, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: All Posts

I used to fly a lot in small planes and even a helicopter now and then with my two brothers, both pilots (the oldest flew Hueys in 'Nam). I also did some hang gliding, once into half-gale force winds off of the sand dunes near Lake Michigan with a group of pals who later became hot-air balloonists.

I went aloft with one of them in a balloon one summer evening years ago. What a trip - serene but exhilarating. We ended up touching down in a lake though. Long story short: After a leisurely flight, we'd landed in a farmer's field but our chasers couldn't find us so we had to get back up in the air. Clearing the treetops, we drifted over an inland lake with the breeze pushing us towards a small town - and a water tower!

It was dusk now and we didn't have the time or propane to get up and over that obstacle before dark so Pete says we've got to hit a small beach that he spots on the upcoming shore. Just to be sure, we touched down in the middle of the lake. Braced in the gondola of that ten-story air bag, we skimmed and skipped across the surface of the water and finally landed on that sandy little beach where our ride was waiting in the pick-up truck.

Well, it's been well over twenty years since I last saw some of those guys, but my buddy Rob called out of the blue last week and says come on down to his place in South Carolina for a reunion of the old gang. So that's what I'm doing. Catch ya'll later.

UPDATE: 6-16-09

I'm back home now but that was a hoot!

For organizing and orchestrating the happy fiasco (a reunion of nine old buddies in one place for the first time in thirty years) and for providing his fabulous lake house on Keowee, the watercraft, world-class food and drink, etc., all thanks go to Rob! Only he could pull it off. To the others - Steve, Ted, Pete, Doyle, DJ, Bill, and Chris - thanks for the laughs and memories then and now. I'm the neighborhood kid who gets to hang out with the big guys.

I hadn't seen Chris for the longest time of all, and enjoyed catching-up on the boat. But the glitch on Saturday night was not in the program. I hope you're out of the hospital in Greenville, SC within the week, pal, and can soon get back to your home in L.A. to recuperate and recover in full. Just maybe, hopefully, we can all get together again next year and share an ironic grin over this episode. I mean, considering this group of guys who've always worked hard and played even harder, I guess the odds were good, at this stage of the game, that one of us would have a heart attack at this event. Hang tough, as you always have, Chris. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.



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