For Compensation or Hire, no. 2
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A look at the cover gives the reader a solid idea of what it was to fly the night airmail. It was a solitary endeavor and cold for much of the year. What the cover does not tell is how the young man left college in his sporty red convertible for the drive along Flathead Lake to the town of Kalispell. It was an opportunity to build flight time and to gain the experience that would qualify him for a bigger paycheck, flying a bigger airplane. Not long into this new world, the hero realizes he has signed on to a position filled with perils beyond his wildest imagination. As fate sometimes plays out, the woman of his dreams appeared only a few days after taking the job. The conversation the two of them enjoyed while on a drive to Glacier National Park led to visits to meet their respective parents. A date was set for the coupling and another stretch of this young man's wildest imagination.
A magical encounter with a moose while on a backpacking trip into the Cabinet Wilderness and the afternoons spent lolling about, picking and enjoying huckleberries, was only part of the sweetness of the love affair these two enjoyed. While in the mountains, the young woman told of her employment over the previous summer. The incredible coincidence of how the lives of these two came within a wingspan finishes nicely a mystery introduced in A Pilot Turns 360, the first book in the series.
A wedding happens, music fills the air and on the periphery, the realization comes that a delightful earthling–dancing, laughing and having one-year's age–is now his nephew.
Other signs of maturity get in the way of narcissistic behavior in the form of the newly wedded couple buying a home. They settle in a wonderland called Many Lakes, get a dog and the fairy tale completes itself quite nicely over the next few years with the arrival of three beautiful children.
Flying adventures interrupt the family frivolity for various accounts of how our hero gains his experience in the cockpit. He makes mistakes and lessons are learned. A hard part of the schooling though, comes at the cost of the lives of two of his co-workers. Speculation of what took his friends teaches him that boredom, distraction and carelessness are at the roots of many airplane accidents.
As that young pilot becomes confident that he has addressed the issues adequately, something befalls him that provides enlightenment to the ways of the universe.
Learning to be a father was important for the young man as well. His own father had been absent for much of his youth and his stepfather–who made his best attempt–did not instill anything past the care and feeding of gas-fired machines, skills that left his stepson forever thankful. The young man's wife had a big influence on how to raise their children. Reading to them as soon as they could hold their head up was a simple, but effective way to instill the joy of learning.
Good neighbors were something that it was easy to take for granted. A dog race around the neighborhood with skiers dragged behind was just a normal activity on a normal day in Many Lakes. Coming back from vacation and finding that another neighbor had dug up and replaced a broken pipe so that the young couple had water on their return was something that may not happen in every part of the world.
For some young people in their early twenties, a window of opportunity opens. This book follows the union of a young couple who dove through that window and worked hard on raising a family in a time when Montana was a bit wilder and flying demanded more of a pilot than excellent computer skills.
About the sporty red convertible, a few years later the hero was driving a small pickup with a topper. All the better to haul disposable diapers to the refuse site on the way to work in the evening and then to haul mail to the post office before returning home.