“Look at that rusted-out piece of garbage,” Neil said, examining the DC-3 hulk with a jaundiced eye. “Why don’t they clear it away?”

“Nostalgia, probably,” Gus replied. “Midwestern Airlines is the reason this airport’s here.”

Neil twirled one of his loader’s gloves. “There comes a time when you just have to let it go.”

“Let it go?” Gus said. “Midwestern Airlines was the first company to fly commercially west of the Smokies, the first company to run airmail to regional airports, and the first company to introduce first-class service!”

“What are you, a tour guide?” Neil sniffed. “Not many tourists out here on the tarmac unless their gate’s full and they need to be walked in. And even then they’re too grumpy to listen.”

“I started out working for Midwestern,” said Gil. “Worked for them for two years before they went bust and were bought up in ’85. They made all of us sit through a training video talking about how the company started with just a single Curtiss Jenny barnstormer and built it into the third-largest airline in the country behind Pan Am and Republic.”

“Two more airlines that have done just as well,” said Neil.

“Bah,” said Gus. “I don’t think forty-five counts as old, but you kids today make me feel it. Don’t think there were any airlines at all before the ones you flew to Disney World on.”

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