2:50 PM

Gifts from the heart are hand-made

According to tales of holiday gift giving from long ago – back before the birth of Sam Walton – people would actually MAKE each other Christmas gifts.

Imagine if you will a little boy’s Dad secretly toiling out in the woodshed, carving Oak planks into just the right shape before attaching them to fine steel rails he honed himself to make his son the perfect sled.
That was precisely the scene around the Av8rdan household as the days crept up towards Christmas 2005. Except it was my wife Julie Celeste and our son Michael hiding in the guest room, crafting a very fine model of my favorite airplane, Jerrie Mock’s Spirit of Columbus, aka Charlie. If you need a refresher on why I am so stoked on this particular Cessna 180, click here.

The model is a vintage Guillow's balsa design with a 20” wingspan. This was not a snap-together plastic model like I used to build back in the day, this was a complex, assemble-by-numbers design with tissue paper covering the fuselage and wing surfaces. The custom paint and N number on the side (N1538C) were only upstaged by Michael’s unbelievable hand-painted script lettering of “Spirit of Columbus” on the nose.

Yes, it was a great Christmas…and yes, it is great to be loved. I am truly blessed to have a wife and family who admire my love of aviation.

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