Up till 2008, every year we would travel in the summer to go camping and visit friends along the way once we started doing the JimmyLee and Bambi Show on CNIRadio.com. The tick bite in 2007 changed all that.
One year during one of our annual camping travels*, we went to see Jim’s friend from his youth, Joe Mapes. Joe and his wife and girls live in Wisconsin.
It was a great visit. I got to meet and enjoy seeing Joe and Cindy for the first time during that trip. I fell in love with both of them. I could see right away why Jim loved them.
Joe also took the opportunity to take Jim and me up in a small plane at their local airport. It was so much fun. When we are stable in the air, Joe told Jim, “you take it”, and let Jim fly the plane for a bit. Joe never faltered that Jim could do this even though he had never done it before. Jim was so excited and wanting to do it all correctly. He had never flown a plane before and boy he would talk about that whenever he talked about our visit to see Joe and Cindy. Of course, Joe took off and landed, and flew most of the time, but it was a wonderful experience and I was so happy for Jim to have that opportunity. Scared me there for a minute though. 😉
Years later, on April 9, 2014, earlier this year, an auspicious occasion since it was also Jim’s Mom’s birthday, Joe and his friend Syd were on their flying trip that year and came to our little local Wakefield airport just a few miles from us to stop and visit for a bit. We ate breakfast at the Virginia Diner and we were in some small way able to repay Joe for the wonderful dinner he bought for us while we were visiting with them in Wisconsin years before. You will see Joe, Syd and Jim in the photo album by Syd’s beautiful silver plane from that trip. Jim held such times deep in his heart. They meant so much to him. I was so glad. When Joe called me after Jim passed away, we talked about that trip and how happy Joe was to have rekindled their friendship of many years that day.
* according to Joe’s log book the flight took place August 27, 2002 – see Joe’s comment and the log book below – Thanks Joe!