We touched down on Morton Field at 0630. Even though it was a chilly 30 degrees cold, Marcy, Jenny, Ching Lee, Lorrie, Jason, Lisa, Jake, Mindy, Dad and Mom came out to the tarmac and met us at the bottom of the stairs as we exited the plane. It was a warm reception standing in the cold wind.
We quickly made our way into the warmth of the terminal building where everything was set up for the grand opening for the restaurant. The County commissioners, the dignitaries from the state aviation administration, the county EMS aviation, along with Eric and Frank and Amy along with the media and a large crowd were waiting for the ribbon cutting and breakfast.
After our quick hellos to the extended family, we six went into one of the meeting rooms for what we called a 15 minute debriefing. We just wanted time alone for a few minutes before we started our day. A few minutes before 7, we came out to start the festivities.
To get things started, I sent Lorrie and Marcy to do the honors with the manager of the restaurant. Lorrie and Marcy using the giant scissors cut the ribbon while the rest of us stood to the side and cheered them on.
The breakfast menu had all the sure favorites. There were eggs, bacon, sausage, sausage gravy, chipped beef and biscuits, hot cakes, waffles, fruits and cereals. There were huge coffee makers – both decaf and hi-test as Vicky called it.
I was sure that when the local construction and farmers found out they could get a full freshly cooked breakfast in the wee hours of the morning, this place was going to be busy.
We were going to get our breakfast on a tray and disappear into Carson’s office to have a real business update. While we were waiting, Hanna Page walked over to ask for an interview. Marley Kendall was nowhere in sight; I wondered if she had finally gotten the promotion she had been seeking for so long.
I had a feeling what she was after; the State Department had released the back gate shoot-out camera footage from the Bogota embassy. Hanna was gunning for what the Sunday morning talk shows were missing this past week fill in the blanks from JGB. It was the interview that would make her day.
JBG had not issued a press release related to the Bogota embassy incident and had given no interviews. The talk show hosts were dismayed that no representative was made available for the Sunday news cycle. We had long ago made the policy decision that we would not participate in the Sunday morning talk show armchair mud-slinging for ratings. As for Hanna Page and Marley Kendall because they had gone out of their way for us, we would gladly return the favor.
Hanna had another exclusive. I answered her questions until our breakfast was delivered. Some of her questions were coming from her ear wick and I was sure from the national news desk as well and spun her own way. Then when she had killed the mike I asked, “What are you doing from 10:30 until later in the afternoon?”
“Why?” Hanna replied.
“There is another news conference and announcement about JGB in Rochester at noon. We are flying out at 10:30; there is a seat for you and your cameraman if you want it,” I replied.
Hanna lit up like she had won the Pulitzer.
“Let me call my desk; I’ll get back to you,” she replied as she hurried away talking on her phone a mile a minute. Hanna still had several county commissioners to interview IF they were willing.
Duke Justice and Clarence Hallworthy were both in attendance. I would have loved to listen in on their interviews but I would have to listen to the edited version tonight from the DVR.
As we ate there were the general conversations about our trip and events in the gym. Marcy and Lorrie both said, “We have a lot of business to discuss at our meeting tonight.” It did not surprise me one bit. After getting shot at again, I was expecting to see a ring mounted in the office floor with a log chain and ankle cuffs just long enough to make it to the bathroom if Jenny got her way.
Lorrie discussed the repairs to the first 407 that had made the return trip in the C130. “The engine is going to need a complete overhaul. We found all the tools to do the job in-house, on e-Bay, Amazon and the military web site. The parts are from several places, the interior completely needs to be re-upholstered and the windshield replaced. The mechanics think 500k will make it a first class chopper. I gave them the go ahead.”
“Jack Rush has two friends who want to partner in his flight instructor school and start a sight-seeing venture located here at the airport. They are both chopper instructors from the Air Force and are retiring. They want to work out a lease rental for both a 407 and a Blackhawk, if we fix one up. They already have a small 2 person chopper and they have rented one of the small offices in the terminal,” Lorrie added.
Marcy was smiling like a Cheshire cat, which meant that meant that she was on board with Lorrie’s conversation. Our conversation was interrupted by Frank and Eric walking our way.
“You certainly know how to make an impression for all the right people and all the right reasons,” Frank said. Then added, “You have no idea how many calls I took expressing support for the decision to turn the State contract over to JBG since the Bogota fire fight.”
“Congratulations on the Rochester College Police force. I’m interested to see how it is going to work out for you,” Eric replied.
“I am hoping that it will eliminate so much lost time, but only time will tell,” I replied. Then I continued by saying, “Oh, by the way we need a sit down at the big table to deal with how bad the embassies are when we get back.”
The Bombardier had been pushed in front of the terminal building signaling that it was almost time to go, the time had crept up on us. Carson announced on the PA system that JBG Flight 716 for Rochester was now boarding. The new flight numbering system was something that Lorrie and Marcy wanted to try. 716 meant that this was the 7 flight of 2016. We were only 10 hours into the New Year and already six flights had departed from Morton Field. I guessed that most of them were to Florida rental houses and the islands for warmer weather vacations.
Lorrie and Carson had created a log sheet with the flight number; plane number and passenger list in case there were “Heaven Forbid” any accidents.
We had intended to fly in the G5 this morning, but with so many people going up there with us, there were not enough seats in the G5, so we switched to the 50 passenger Bombardier 200.
The whole gang was going up to Rochester for the publicity announcement of the Rochester College Police Force. The list was long all six girls, Mom and Dad, Jason, Lisa and Joey, Judge Slaughter and his wife, Jake and Mindy, Cindy and her husband, Mark and his fiancée, Jamie, her husband and their two teenage children, Crash and Marlene and finally Hanna Page along with her camera man. There was one flight attendant, and a pilot and copilot.
The weather for the flight was good but cold. Rochester had had 30 inches of lake effect snow several days ago but everything was clear at the airport. The pilot had given us an update as we were finishing breakfast. He asked if there were any last minute changes.
“None just get us there safely,” I replied.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Joe H.