Oh, To Be Young

Kindle patrons! River of January is on sale this weekend! From Friday through Sunday night, the adventure is yours for 99 cents. What a barg! Download the book, give it a read, and leave a short review.

Enjoy this sneak peek.

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“Hello, Chumbley here—hello?”

“Morning Chum,” flashed an urgent voice. “This is Richard Ross, and I am awfully glad I caught you at the office! We have a horse posted in the third race and need to get to Baltimore, fast.”

“Havre de Grace Race Track?”

“A horse in the third.”

“Wait, where are you calling from?” the young man asked.

“Newark. We’ll be waiting at the airfield for you to arrive.”

“Horse track, huh?  Roger that. I’ll gas up the Waco and be over soon.”  Jogging to the hangar

“Hello, Chumbley here—hello?”

“Morning Chum,” flashed an urgent voice. “This is Richard Ross, and I am awfully glad I caught you at the office! We have a horse posted in the third race and need to get to Baltimore, fast.”

“Havre de Grace Race Track?”

“A horse in the third.”

“Wait, where are you calling from?” the young man asked.

“Newark. We’ll be waiting at the airfield for you to arrive.”

“Horse track, huh?  Roger that. I’ll gas up the Waco and be over soon.”  Jogging to the hangar Chum reflected, “This trip sounds like fun, especially if I make a couple of bucks.”

Taxiing down the runway, the flyer lifted off—his trip was just a short hop west—and Chum presently approached the New Jersey landing strip. From his windshield he could see three figures moving outside an office building near the tarmac.

“Must be Ross,” Chum mumbled. Touching down, the pilot slowed and turned the plane toward his passengers. But he noticed they were running toward the Waco. Ross was shouting something and waving his arms.

“We need to go, now, Chum!” the pilot finally heard above his roaring engine. Chuckling, as they clambered aboard, the flyer again turned and taxied down the same airstrip, quickly lifting off toward the southeast. His three passengers breathlessly discussed the upcoming race card. Thoroughly entertained by their excitement, Chum listened.

“That number six will be tough to beat,” and “I paid a call to those stables and I wasn’t that impressed.”

This flight wasn’t long either, but apparently too lengthy for the impatient stockbrokers. As Chum circled the county airfield, Ross reached up and patted his shoulder. “Not here, Chum. It’s too far from Havre de Grace. Land the plane at the track, put it down on the infield!”

Stunned, the pilot clarified, “At the horse track?”

“Yes sir! There’s no one better than you to pull off a landing like this one!”

As he doubtfully turned his plane around, dangerous images passed through Chum’s mind—in particular, the incident in Elmira. He understood, as every pilot understood, that potential disaster rode along with him on every flight.

Chum worried:  What are the chances of cart-wheeling the plane? Can I regain lift if I come too close to the viewer stands? Will I be arrested?

Ross read Chum’s alarm and assured the pilot, “I trust you. The field is long enough for a good flyboy like you to manage. And we’ll pay for any mishap or damage.”

“How ’bout my broken neck?” the pilot half-joked.

The broker snickered.

Chum shrugged, lowered the nose of his Waco, and touched down firmly, bouncing on the grass, and smoothing out as the plane slowed. By the end of the infield, the Waco stopped, facing the viewing stands. Safe. No snags. Leaning over the yoke, he inhaled deeply realizing he’d held his breath through the approach, the landing, and the braking.

Movement in his peripheral vision caught his notice. Four race officials were rushing from under the track’s white railing. The men waved their clipboards and arms over their heads, rushing toward his Waco.

Chum caught the crowd’s mixed responses to his sudden appearance. Some in the crowd stood stunned, mouths hanging open, while others cheered, jumping and clapping as though his arrival was scheduled entertainment.

The pilot burst into laughter. “Now, there’s the sensible crowd!” he chortled, watching as the panicked stampeded out the exits. Chum turned to tell his passengers to look at the stands, but saw that Ross had popped open the cabin door, and was dropping down from the plane.

“Take it easy, fellas. Take it easy,” Ross shouted to the officials. “This pilot is the best. He does this kind of landing all the time!”

The police quickly arrived and Ross, now joined by his two associates, stood outside, as if guarding the plane. The broker talked fast, and to Chum it appeared as if the authorities were calming down, physically stepping back from the wealthy New Yorker.

Maybe they realize he’s a big shot, the pilot concluded. After some tense moments the police, track managers, and officials unexpectedly shook hands with the New York businessmen, and strolled off the grass.

Hoisting himself back up into the cabin, Ross smiled. “No jail for us today, Chumbley. The track manager—the palooka in the blue blazer—only asked that you move your plane to the center of the infield, and that we stay until today’s race card is finished.”

Finally unhooking his safety harness, Chum stretched, climbed out of the Waco and shook his head in disbelief. He mumbled, “Tough treatment for men who live for horses.”

Chum reflected, “This trip sounds like fun, especially if I make a couple of bucks.”

Taxiing down the runway, the flyer lifted off—his trip was just a short hop west—and Chum presently approached the New Jersey landing strip. From his windshield he could see three figures moving outside an office building near the tarmac.

“Must be Ross,” Chum mumbled. Touching down, the pilot slowed and turned the plane toward his passengers. But he noticed they were running toward the Waco. Ross was shouting something and waving his arms.

“We need to go, now, Chum!” the pilot finally heard above his roaring engine. Chuckling, as they clambered aboard, the flyer again turned and taxied down the same airstrip, quickly lifting off toward the southeast. His three passengers breathlessly discussed the upcoming race card. Thoroughly entertained by their excitement, Chum listened.

“That number six will be tough to beat,” and “I paid a call to those stables and I wasn’t that impressed.”

This flight wasn’t long either, but apparently too lengthy for the impatient stockbrokers. As Chum circled the county airfield, Ross reached up and patted his shoulder. “Not here, Chum. It’s too far from Havre de Grace. Land the plane at the track, put it down on the infield!”

Stunned, the pilot clarified, “At the horse track?”

“Yes sir! There’s no one better than you to pull off a landing like this one!”

As he doubtfully turned his plane around, dangerous images passed through Chum’s mind—in particular, the incident in Elmira. He understood, as every pilot understood, that potential disaster rode along with him on every flight.

Chum worried:  What are the chances of cart-wheeling the plane? Can I regain lift if I come too close to the viewer stands? Will I be arrested?

Ross read Chum’s alarm and assured the pilot, “I trust you. The field is long enough for a good flyboy like you to manage. And we’ll pay for any mishap or damage.”

“How ’bout my broken neck?” the pilot half-joked.

The broker snickered.

Chum shrugged, lowered the nose of his Waco, and touched down firmly, bouncing on the grass, and smoothing out as the plane slowed. By the end of the infield, the Waco stopped, facing the viewing stands. Safe. No snags. Leaning over the yoke, he inhaled deeply realizing he’d held his breath through the approach, the landing, and the braking.

Movement in his peripheral vision caught his notice. Four race officials were rushing from under the track’s white railing. The men waved their clipboards and arms over their heads, rushing toward his Waco.

Chum caught the crowd’s mixed responses to his sudden appearance. Some in the crowd stood stunned, mouths hanging open, while others cheered, jumping and clapping as though his arrival was scheduled entertainment.

The pilot burst into laughter. “Now, there’s the sensible crowd!” he chortled, watching as the panicked stampeded out the exits. Chum turned to tell his passengers to look at the stands, but saw that Ross had popped open the cabin door, and was dropping down from the plane.

“Take it easy, fellas. Take it easy,” Ross shouted to the officials. “This pilot is the best. He does this kind of landing all the time!”

The police quickly arrived and Ross, now joined by his two associates, stood outside, as if guarding the plane. The broker talked fast, and to Chum it appeared as if the authorities were calming down, physically stepping back from the wealthy New Yorker.

Maybe they realize he’s a big shot, the pilot concluded. After some tense moments the police, track managers, and officials unexpectedly shook hands with the New York businessmen, and strolled off the grass.

Hoisting himself back up into the cabin, Ross smiled. “No jail for us today, Chumbley. The track manager—the palooka in the blue blazer—only asked that you move your plane to the center of the infield, and that we stay until today’s race card is finished.”

Finally unhooking his safety harness, Chum stretched, climbed out of the Waco and shook his head in disbelief. He mumbled, “Tough treatment for men who live for horses.”

 

Book Two, River of January: Figure Eight is available at http://www.river-of-january.com or at Amazon.com

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