End of an era, beginning of a new
For years the Seymour Airpark has been a place where pilots can fly-in in their own private planes. On any Sunday morning, one could fly-in or drive in, put three bucks into a box and fill up on an all you can eat breakfast while chatting with other pilots and neighbors. Recently the 60 plus acre airpark was sold for an undisclosed amount.
On Sunday, December 19, the last breakfast by the “gang” was served at the airpark. What for one is an ending is also a beginning for another.
Larry Winters, a local resident and developer purchased the Seymour Airpark from Robert “Toddy” Johnson who, along with 19 other individuals purchased the land on June 17, 1986. They worked together with a lot of blood, sweat and tears, to make the airpark what it is today. If you were to ask, 99 percent of the residents of Seymour are not aware that there is an airport in Seymour, which is located off of Boling Road. At present, the airport is private with three homes along the runway and with two more under construction.
Winters’ plans are to expand the airport to make it more pilot friendly with additions of hangers for rental or sale, paving the runway and various other improvements.
The Seymour Airpark holds many fond memories for area residents. Johnson would hold yearly open houses at which people could come and enjoy a freshly barbequed burger and chips for free while “hanger flying” with other area residents, some of which were pilots, some were neighbors who came just to watch the various aircraft fly in and out during the event.
Sunday morning breakfast had become kind of a ritual for many of its regulars.
Talking about the conclusion of the weekly breakfasts Lois Walker, who was also known around the airpark as the assistant pancake cooker stated, “I’m going to sleep in a little bit longer now on Sunday mornings,” adding, “It’s been fun. It’s the people who came that made it so much fun.”
J.B. Johnson, Toddy’s son, was a little disappointed that more pilots couldn’t fly in for the final breakfast due to weather, it actually snowed, but was happy with the turnout overall. “It’s been standing room only all morning,” stated J.B.
According to Toddy, he started the morning breakfast in 1988 and hasn’t missed a breakfast in all that time. “When I had my open heart surgery I got out of the hospital on Saturday and I was here and ready by 6:00 a.m. on Sunday.”
One morning that stands out in his mind was during the snowstorm on 1993. “There was a blizzard and we had more people here that day than almost any other. I guess they wanted to see if they could make it in the snow,” stated Toddy. “Everyone wanted to try out their four-wheelers.”
Toddy will no doubt take his new ‘free’ Sunday mornings to sit back and relax. You can probably find him around at one of the local eateries that offers gospel singing or karaoke singing, but on Sunday morning he’ll be sitting by his window looking out, wondering about all those that will miss the pancakes and bacon and conversation.