Page 6 - World Airshow News Spring 2023
P. 6

Jeff Parnau: Editor at Large

                                         Ilopango, Finally

                                          T   he past four-plus    ILOPANGO AT LAST

                                                                   Our most recent trip to the Ilopango Airshow prior
                                              years found me
                                              and Sandy on a
                                                                 possible for us to attend until 2022, but due to Covid,
                                         strict airshow diet. How   to 2023 was in 2017. Our caretaking duties made it im-
                                         did that happen? Simple:   there were no Ilopango Airshows during 2021 or 2022.
                                         Family comes first.       Now, things seem to be back to normal (if there is
                                           On July 23, 2017, we   such a thing). In early February, we had the pleasure
                                         had  our  annual  family   of attending the first Ilopango Airshow since 2020. As
                                         picnic. Jim, my moth-   you can see in this issue, I was no match for the pho-
                                         er’s husband, took me   tographers who contributed to my report. I am begin-
                                         and  my  brothers  aside,   ning to think that Skip Stewart married Cari because
                                         and  explained  he  was   she takes fabulous photos of him.
                                         urgently looking for a
                                         full-time memory care   AN AFTERNOON WITH THE DARDANOS
                  facility. Taking care of Bubbles (her lifetime nick-  IMO, Carlos Dardano definitely qualifies as a living
                  name) was becoming a 24/7 job.                 aviation legend. Sure, he flies airshows in his Christen
                    Early the next morning, Jim had a massive stroke   Eagle II. But 35 years ago, he dead-sticked a Boeing
                  and died. During the following week, several rela-  737 to a flawless landing on a levee. That nifty feat is
                  tives split the task of spending days and nights helping   now often called The Miracle on the Levee. As I men-
                  mom dress, preparing her meals, and keeping her oc-  tion in our Ilopango coverage, Carlos performed the
                  cupied with crossword puzzles and card games.  landing using one eye.
                    A  week  later  at  Jim’s  funeral,  Bubbles  was  lu-  The other eye? It was shot out by some bad guys
                  cid enough to greet all of those who came to the   while Carlos was preparing for a takeoff, with passen-
                  “Celebration of Life,” although she didn’t recognize ev-  gers in his single-engine airplane. He took off as the
                  eryone. After that there was a lunch, and after lunch,   shooting continued, and escaped. He’s been flying on
                  everybody disappeared except mom, Sandy, and me.   one eye ever since.
                  We were alone. We realized there was no plan for tak-  Somehow, Sandy and I were invited to visit Carlos,
                  ing care of Bubbles. We drove her to Jim’s condo, and   his wife Chiqui, and daughter Andrea. Shortly after
                  thus began our stint as full-time caregivers for my   we arrived at their seaside home, Sandy, Chiqui, and
                  92-year-old mother.                            Carlos took a dip in their pool, while I sat in the shade
                                                                 taking photos.
                  CAREGIVING VS. AIRSHOWS                          We then hopped into their ocean-worthy boat,
                    What’s that got to do with airshows? A lot. We found   docked at a restaurant for lunch, and did some addi-
                  it difficult to talk relatives into spending three or four   tional sightseeing while returning to their home.
                  days and nights in the condo. Our annual week at   Do a web search for “Carlos Dardano Interview” or
                  AirVenture was slashed to an arrival on Monday, and   anything similar to that. You’ll find this guy to be ex-
                  departure on Wednesday or Thursday. We decided to   tremely interesting.
                  attend one airshow in Des Moines, bringing Bubbles
                  along in our RV. We learned that it takes just as much
                  time to caretake whether you’re at home or 500 miles
                  from home; whether you’re in a condo or an RV.                           Publisher Sandy
                    Years passed slowly for us until July 2021. Then sud-                  Parnau livin’ it up in the
                  denly, mom awoke one morning, and she wasn’t mak-                        Dardano’s seaside  pool.
                  ing sense at all. She began singing the song Show Me
                  the Way to Go Home all day. She wanted to do some of
                  the cooking, which meant keeping an eye on her at all
                  times. We finally realized we couldn’t give her the at-
                  tention she needed. We selected a facility 15 minutes
                  from our cottage. She had no problem with the transi-
                  tion, and we visited her frequently.
                    On February 12, 2022, she slipped away at age 96.

                                      6  Spring 2023
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