It was almost airplanes instead of ATVs

Published 6:28 pm Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Yes, folks, we’re talking about an international airport—right here in Chilton County! Was it a joke? Not in the least. Ever heard of Minooka?

At Minooka Park, where they ride motorcycles, there was enough media coverage and serious consideration given Minooka for an international airport site that the governor met with movers and shakers of the surrounding area. I was contacted to take the governor to Ware Island. The only problem was that I was still on my honeymoon, and Baby and I had other plans for the beach. I asked if they could call our office and get someone else.

Gene Cleckler had offered a super nice pontoon boat. Problem: Gene wanted me to operate his boat in that unpredictable water below Lay Dam. Dr Baker got in touch with us as soon as we got back and told us of the predicament, set for that evening! I was glad to help my old buddies out. I had a counter offer. Baby was coming, too! I had to have an experienced “deckhand.” “A what?” she said.

I drove up to the dock where the boat was located, all shiny and looking good. Everything was ready. The governor’s security, the governor and his lovely wife, and my wife—just as lovely and just as important! Except Baby was a little inexperienced at jumping from a moving boat onto a floating dock in that rough water with a rope in her hand [all this in the dark] and tying off the boat. “Remember, dear, the Governor’s aboard. Got it?”

After the meeting and dinner, we took our party back to shore. While the governor and his wife, Helen, were all cuddled up on the back seat, Lavada smiled and looked at me as to say, “Whose honeymoon is this?” “Grab that rope, darling, and hush, please.”

Doctor Baker thanked me, but said, “I need to get this boat down to my house. Would you take it, and Bev and I will take Lavada?” That man has lots of surprises! As I got down to the mouth of Walnut Creek, I ran out of gas! Now, there I sat—a beautiful night, but my bride was somewhere else!

I waited and waited and thought surely he will come back to check on me—and waited some more. Here comes a boat, but it didn’t look like the “Good Doctor”. I had on every light that I had. The boater stayed just outside my lights, made a circle of the boat then stopped! I knew not to ask him to tow the big boat, so I said; “Mister, I’m out of gas. Could you spare a couple of gallons, please?” He was really getting a kick out of hearing me beg! (Did I say this guy was my friend?)

But, back to Minooka. If Dr. Myers had served steak instead of hot dogs, and if Dr. Baker had put two gallons of gas in that boat, we may all be riding in a Concord or one of those Air Buses instead of dodging motorcycles trying to enjoy the beauty of Minooka Park.