I met my group at the end of Morton Farm Lane. All the girls along with Jenna, Jason and Norman Pyle – the construction estimator for Bob’s Construction – were waiting for me.
When I made the turn off the highway, I knew why the name Crash Morgan sounded familiar to me. Years ago, long before I went into the Marines, Jake had just gotten his drivers license. The only way that Mom and Dad would let him and Crystal go out in the car was if I was with them. They were using me as chaperone, figuring that nothing would happen if I was along. Of course I had to have Betty and later Samantha go along to keep me company.
Little did they know the group of us together was trouble! We had been playing sex games for over a year before Jake received his license. We had some wild times together in the front and back seat of Jake’s car.
There was a lane off 301 that we used to go parking on. That lane was on the west end of the Morton farm and was used by farm trucks in the spring and fall. It was also used to carry water and fuel to the crop dusters. The rest of the time it was not used and grown up with weeds and grass. We used it for fun two or three nights a week until the state – in one of it drainage improvement programs – dug up the tile and left a big ditch.
We met Crash and Roger in front of the house. Crash, Norman, Jenna and Marcy inspected the interior and exterior of the house generating a list of repairs that met Crash’s expectations.
Jenny, Lorrie and I sat on the porch with Roger and discussed the list of questions the corporate lawyers had checked off. All of them were small stuff – to me they were nothing – but I guess that is why they get paid to cross all the tee’s and dot all the eyes.
After the house tour was completed we made our way to the big shed Crash used as his airplane hanger. In one side there was a Stearman biplane modified for crop dusting. Crash explained it was a 1939 model he bought as army surplus in 1946 and had it modified in Ohio. It was dusty and dirty but looked ready to fly.
“This is the plane I want in the terminal as a display,” Crash said.
With my help, Norman took all the measurements so a place could be engineered into the plans for the terminal for the plane. Then we made our way to the other side of the shed. There was Crash’s newer crop duster.
I could tell Crash was proud of it; he stood a little straighter, his voice stronger. “This is a Thrush 550p turbo prop with a Pratt and Whitney engine. The spray hopper holds 550 gallons or the seeder holds 74 cubic feet of seed and can climb 750 ft a minute and only needs 1050 feet to take off fully loaded,” he said.
“You do understand we need a 6000 foot runway, and 7000 would be better,” I said.
Lorrie interrupted with, “We have two pilots that have done crop dusting and with a turbo prop would do it again,” she said.
“Yep I knew it would take a long one. If you angle it from corner to corner of the property you can have one over 10000 feet and straight on, a little over 8000,” he said.
Norman worked in the prices for the house repairs. The rest of us loaded into the back of Jason’s pickup and Crash showed us where the property markers were. Roger and Jeanna each took a rocker on the porch and waited for our return.
I noticed that even though it was 1400 acres there were only two ditches, and for the most part the land was fairly level. It did not have the hills and low bottoms like some of the other farms in the area had. The wheat had been cut and all that was left was stubble. I made a comment to Crash about that.
“No good nephews baled the wheat straw and sold it to make sure they got the last nickel off my land that they could,” he said.
Crash directed Jason to where the blacktop strip was that he used for a runway; it was 20 feet wide and a thousand feet long. The blacktop had been deteriorating for years; it was cracked and broken and had grass up through it in places.
When we got back to the porch Norman was sitting with Roger and Jeanna as we joined them.
“Well Norman, did you come up with a price?” I asked.
“Yes Ma-am, I did. Replace the linoleum flooring in the kitchen, with new sink and spigots, new carpet in the living room, and completely gut the master bath. Install a new tub and tile the walls and floor, vanities, flush and cabinets. Replace all the windows with triple pane energy efficient; replace both entrance doors with steel and double pane. Replace all the carpet and paint all the rooms. Replace that old oil furnace with a new propane one and clean all the duct work or replace as needed. Replace the guttering and down spouts. Replace the front walk; it is cracked and broken – a trip hazard – totals $63,500.00.
“That is a lot more fixing than I had in mind,” Crash said.
“If we are going to fix it we are going to do it right,” Marcy said.
“How soon can you start?” I asked.
“While you were gone I took measurements of everything. I will place the order tomorrow; it usually takes about two weeks, then we can get started,” Norman said.
“Do you need us to sign anything?” I replied.
“No Ma-am, boss said your word was better than all the gold in Fort Knox. I will get started as soon as I get back,” as he stood to leave.
“I have a check for the remainder,” Marcy said. “And the forms for the insurance for the both of you.”
“I have a bill of sale and deeds ready,” Roger said. “All we need is a notary.”
“I have my stamp with me,” Jason added.
Two hours later we were finishing up the paper work, crossing the tees and dotting the eyes as the lawyers wanted. A cloud of dust was coming up driveway; there must have been a dozen vehicles making it.
Edit by Alfmeister