Many people have been reminiscing about Preisdent Ford, his life, his character, and his career today. I have my own President Ford story. He was probably the first President I was really aware of. I was too young for Nixon to register, and even President Ford didn't make a great impression on me. In fact, I'm thinking my story dates from after his term as President, given that I must have been 15 or 16 at the time and which would have made it 1980ish. On the other hand, he was travelling in Air Force 1, so it must have been while he was President, which means I must have been younger, or he was out on official business for President Carter...
Anyway, I spent a month (give or take) each summer with my grandparents in Columbus, Indiana. The summer in question President Ford stopped by Columbus, I think on the campaign trail. He was just in town for a couple hours, touched down out at Bakalar airport, made a speech, and then flew on to the next stop. My grandfather was all excited about the possibility of me and him flying his little Piper Comanche and being the first plane to touch down at Bakalar after Air Force One. My grandmother was thoroughly disgusted. Maybe, she said, I'd rather hear what the President had to say, rather than land an airplane after his.
Well, being a teenager, I thought it's be more fun to go flying than to hear what a politician had to say, even the President. Lo and behold, we were indeed the first plane to touch down after Air Force One. I think we even made it back to the hangar and down the field in time to hear what President Ford had to say. That, however, wasn't as memorable as the flight, or the discussion between my grandfather and grandmother, one of the few times I can remember them being in disagreement.
Well, now my grandmother and grandfather have both passed away, and so has President Ford, and all that's left of that summer, and all the summers I spent in Columbus, are my own precious memories. Maybe I need to start writing them down before I too am gone.