July 20, 2003
DAYTON, Ohio: Here in Orville and Wilbur’s home territory they put on the biggest air show in history of aviation, not counting the one over Baghdad a few months ago. The U. S. Navy Blue Angels, the Air Force Thunderbirds, the Marine Harriers, the Stealth fighter and Stealth bomber, Army Golden Knights… they’re all here.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds put on a fine show, too, flying as tight a formation as our own planes. It was mighty generous of Canada to send those 9 fighter jets down here because that’s about three-fourths of their fleet.
You couldn’t ask for a better day to celebrate a century of flying. And it was 34 years ago today another Ohioan from a few miles north of here, Neil Armstrong, landed on the moon.
There’s an exact replica of that first aeroplane here, and the fellows could have gotten it in the air today. But they decided keep it on the ground till they haul it to North Carolina in December. It wouldn’t be fair of Ohio to claim all this aviation history.
Speaking of history, this Ohio farm boy, Ben Curtis, went over to England and showed ’em how to play golf in a cow pasture. He didn’t need any practice, he just went over there and won the first one of those majors he played in. First time it’s happened in 90 years. It was a rough course. Tiger got lost in the hay, Bjorn is still trapped in the sand, and Vijay may switch to the LPGA.
Ben learned to play on a course his granddaddy graded out of farm land and woods. It’s at Ostrander, a few miles from where Jack Nicklaus learned to play years before on the big courses in Columbus. You just watch. Phil Mickelson will be there next week to practice. Iowa’s got their baseball Field of Dreams. Now Ohio’s got the one for golf.
There was more disappointing news from Iraq. We’re still losing soldiers over there. It seems we won the war too quick. If Mr. Rumsfeld had slowed down our boys, maybe Saddam would have kept his forces out in the open fighting where we could see them.
I know it don’t mean anything to most of you, but it hurt me to hear we blew up that statue of Saddam and his horse in Tikrit. As I said back when Saddam’s statues were being toppled (April 13), I hoped they could cut him down but spare the horse. We have to get rid of Saddam, but the horse never hurt anybody.
Tuesday I was up at Columbiana, east of Akron, where Harvey Firestone started testing farm tractor tires in the 1930’s. They have been testing tires ever since farmers grew tired of bouncing along on steel wheels. They have found more ways to torture tires than two teenage boys in an overpowered sports car.
These Firestone folks still haven’t forgiven Ford for taking their tires off Explorers. You park a Ford vehicle on their property and when you come out, you’re liable to find all four tires flat. But they’re good folks, and if Bill Ford has any historical sense (and common sense, too), he’ll get all his Fords rolling off the assembly line on Firestones the way Henry and Harvey and the good Lord intended.
I stopped in at Wooster for a celebration they call BioHio. The University has a big ag experiment station here. It’s not as famous as Firestone or the Wright Brothers, but it can claim some mighty prominent advancements in farming and food production. You wouldn’t feel much like flying around or even driving down the road if you were hungry, so they invited everyone to visit and see how their research contributes to a full stomach.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
“A man that don’t love a horse, there is something the matter with him.” WA #88, July 6, 1924
“About the banquet at Mr. Ford’s, it was great. Every time I would waste some coffee out of my saucer it would be on a millionaire. I started to kick on my seat for the guys on either side looked like a couple of Ford dealers. So before I would sit down I made ’em tell. One said he was Orville Wright. I told the other one I suppose you are Lindbergh. He says no, I am only Mr. Mayo. Well, between a forced landing and an operation I was home.” DT #1011, Oct. 22, 1929 [The banquet was at Dearborn, Michigan, honoring Thomas Edison on the 50th anniversary of the electric light bulb.]
“Just had dinner tonight with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone and their wives. Say, there is the ones you want to meet. These three famous men, we know all about them, but you ought to meet these wives that made them famous. No frills, no put on, just three lovely wholesome family folks. Talked children and grandchildren all evening.” DT #669, Sept. 17, 1928
“I tell you turning your land into a golf course is the salvation of the farmer. That’s the only thing to do with land now, is just to play golf on it.” DT #593, June 20, 1928