At Christmas, my kids get to see their cousins from a couple of states away, which they always love. This past Christmas, my eleven year old nephew, Jack, brought a drone, which he proved very adept at flying.
We’d all watch – mesmerized – as he hovered it gently just above the floor or zoomed it across the living room, doing little flips along the way. It was obvious he had spent a lot of time with it because he had masterful control.
And then we opened presents and Daryl discovered that Jack’s family had bought him the exact same drone. Once gift opening was completed, the boys all headed outside to fly their drones.
It wasn’t long before they came back in.
Jack was excitedly telling his dad that Daryl had pressed the auto-land button but instead, the drone had shot up into the air, over the trees, and disappeared.
“It wouldn’t have done that if he had pressed the auto-land button,” my brother countered.
“But that’s what happened!” the boys all insisted. They headed out to the creek near my mom’s house and searched for the drone. At our suggestion, they went door-to-door at the neighbors’ houses, asking if they could search their backyards.
They only searched one backyard – no one else was home. My mom and I made a flyer and forced Daryl to go back to the neighbors and leave flyers and ask everyone to keep an eye out for the missing drone.
The adults are all fairly certain that Daryl flew the drone too high and then, instead of pushing the auto-land button as he intended, pushed the auto-take-off button, which rocketed the drone outside of his radio control and into a large gust of wind.
The drone is gone. Fastest end to a Christmas present ever.
The incident reminded me significantly of my husband’s remote control airplane he bought back when we were in our early college days. He bought the large balsa-wood plane, replacement propellers, extra av gas, and a whole host of other accessories because, and I quote, “I’m going to be flying this thing a lot. I’ve always wanted to do this.”
We took it to the local softball fields so he’d have plenty of room. First go at it, he ran it along the grass to pick up speed, then didn’t get enough lift and crashed it full speed into a fence. Propellers broken.
But we had replacement propellers! Yay! Some time with some tools and the plane was ready to go again. He’d learned from that attempt and this time got the plane into the air.
Almost immediately, something appeared to be wrong. The plane kept flying further and further away. I glanced nervously at my husband. Does he know what he’s doing? I thought.
“Honey?” I finally asked tentatively. “What’s wrong?”
“I can’t see the plane,” he said. This was nigh on 25 years ago, so I don’t remember all the details, but I think he might not have had his glasses on.
The plane eventually nosedived into, just like his son years later, a nearby creek. We were, in one small detail, more fortunate than our son in that we found the plane. The end result was the same, however. The plane was mangled beyond repair. It was no more.
Over the next five years, the expensive av gas was used to get the burn piles going (we lived out in the country) and the cost of the plane and its accessories sat on our credit card for years. And I used the tale to my benefit for a very long time. Any time I did something stupid and he teased me about it, I’d mention the plane and he’d get quiet.
Eventually, my list of stupid things got long enough or I finally did a stupid something that outstripped his in total cost that it stopped being propped up as an argument. I actually hadn’t thought about it in quite some time. Until our son repeated the experience.
Like father, like son. I love these guys…