Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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October 2, 2013

Planes, bikes and automobiles

Ms. Gracie Out & About!

By CLINT FOSTER

Gracie Walker, 90, had never done anything exciting. She lived a quite life in her Mineral Wells home, where some of her most eventful activities each week were her morning coffee with her neighbor and good friend, Darrel Allison, or when the two would ride to church together on Sundays.

Then one day, with her 91st birthday on the horizon on Oct. 14, Gracie decided it was time to kick the mundane and try something new.

Her grandson-in-law, Earl Dickson, and his wife, LaDonna, brought over his Harley Davidson motorcycle on a visit. Earl jokingly asked if Gracie wanted a ride and she did not hesitate.

“We all laughed because she never would do anything and then all of a sudden he came down on that motorbike and offered to give her a ride and she just took him up,” Darrel said. “Everybody else was about ready to faint.”

But Gracie wasn’t done getting her motor running. A few days later, Earl showed up, this time with his Maserati. In Darrel’s words, “she jumped in that thing and took off.”

But Gracie saved the best for last. Ever since he first met her, Darrel had been trying to take Gracie up in his Cessna 182 prop plane, but she never would. Five days after the motorcycle incident, Darrel, Earl and LaDonna were hanging out at Gracie’s house again. Darrel said he and Earl were talking in the front yard when LaDonna walked out of Gracie’s kitchen.

“’Well, now she wants to go flying,’” Darrel recalled she said. “So we just took off to the airport.

“She’s a goer, but I never dreamed of her getting on the back of a motorcycle, in a sports car or in an airplane.”

Gracie loved flying and Darrel said she’s been asking to go again. She said she had always wanted to fly, but was always scared to. Ultimately, it was her looming 91st birthday that made her want to face her fears and try something new.

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