By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine
Sitting covered in dust in an open hanger at the New Braunfels TX Regional Airport is an extraordinary aircraft. The Cessna 310 was exposed to the elements for years going unnoticed by many except those fortunate enough to be accompanied by a guide to make note of this one of a kind aircraft. My guide happened to be my brother who was at the time the airport manager. This aircraft was one of 6,321 built. The first one took flight on January 3rd 1953. This one is the basic model aircraft built. Later would be the beefed up versions and eventually the Cessna 320. So what makes this one extraordinary? In this case it was the owner.
Beneath the thick dust on the exterior can be seen the name of the original owner Ray Charles Enterprises. Ray Charles purchased this aircraft in 1958. It was his first of 4 aircrafts he would own. This one was purchased prior to his career taking off. The aircraft was a great help to Charles allowing him to get in and out of concerts easier by flying into smaller airports near the concert. Now the aircraft is owned by Larry Phillips of New Braunfels, TX and he has it indoors out of the weather and is restoring it to its original condition. I hope to see it again in its entire splendor.
Finding the extraordinary to write about may be as simple as having someone point it out and brushing away the dust. Many things in our society are extraordinary due to an historical event or celebrity ownership. Ray Charles Enterprises headquarters in Los Angeles is now noted as an historical landmark. The same can be said for Elvis’ Graceland and everything else Elvis lived in, rode or touched. A simple item may be extraordinary if we know the story surrounding it.
As writers we also have the opportunity to develop a character or object and make it extraordinary. Fiction is a wonderful thing and there are no limits. We can even take an existing wonder even further than it is in real life. Look around and you may be surprised by the extraordinary right under our noses.