Last Wednesday, we took Duncan to the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, where I was reminded of the importance of context and background knowledge. We had never been there but thought that Duncan would love it. He is passionate for all things with wheels, and we expected planes would be no exception. Also, he's taking his first plane trip on August 1, to Ohio for Jason and Suzanne's wedding, and we thought that seeing some planes would help prepare him for the trip.
I'll be honest. The facility looks a little bedraggled. It consists of four hangars full of planes and an outdoor space where the planes they ACTUALLY FLY are kept. The ORA only has airshows on weekends so we were just planning to view the exhibits. Duncan was polite, but his response was hardly enthusiastic. It was more...tolerant, I guess; he was apathetic. We viewed four hangars of planes and headed across the street to the "air field," where we strolled a bit and had a picnic lunch. Midway through lunch, we noted some activity in the field. A plane had been wheeled out to the air strip, and we suspected they might be sending it into the air. After a lot of dramatic propeller winding and loud noise and "the man" climbing into and out of the cockpit, it actually DID take off and circle the the ORA for about 10 minutes; then it landed, took off again, and circled for a few minutes before coming in for a landing and an exuberant reception from some people who appeared to be mechanics. Duncan was a little frightened and expressed concern about "the man; he was audibly relieved when "the man" deplaned. Afterward, however, Duncan's enthusiasm was unbounded.
We returned to the gift store to do a little Christmas stocking shopping and let Duncan pick out a Matchbox size plane, which he flew around his head all the way home, all through lunch, all through the afternoon, and for many days to follow. He wanted to return to the hangars to see the planes again, but we really had to get home. Next time, I think we'll aim for the airshow, but for now, planes have now become part of his wheely obsession. Today I showed him a picture of the airport we're leaving from (White Plains, which he deemed big), and he can hardly wait for his own plane ride.