Last night friends posted about a reunion dinner of sorts taking place back in Wichita. The review of the new steakhouse came back with poor marks, but nothing to overshadow the joy of meeting up with those you care about. This particular group? Folks who were once part of the sales and service team I worked with at Cessna Aircraft Company.
We hailed from around the world, but became Kansans–at least temporarily–when we took the job working for “Uncle Clyde” Cessna (the fond nickname for the founder of the company bearing his name). A fellow flight instructor brought me into the fold when I joined, and through the ups and downs of corporate life, we remained true to our service to aviation–and to each other on the team.
Every year, pilots gather at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Airventure–Oshkosh–in the Wisconsin town of the same name. A couple of years ago, I returned. And during a party in between taking pictures of favorite airplanes, a long-time Cessna friend tapped me a Miller Lite into a plastic Pilot’s Club mug. We toasted Uncle Clyde again, and the other pilots we knew who had “flown west.” Our logo’ed shirts had changed, but our common bond remained steadfast.
“Friendship beyond the shirts” makes even a corporate beer in a plastic mug taste like home.