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Thursday, August 10, 2017

(10) I ASKED MYSELF WHY I AGREED TO THIS MADNESS.

     Ted invited me for a ride in his Super Cub. Even let me sit in the front (it has tandem seats) and fly it myself. It took me about ten minutes to get used to the stick control; then I began to get the hang of it. What fun! I felt like one of the Early Birds, who had little to rely on when they flew except needle, ball, airspeed, and the seat of their pants.
     "Hey, Mom, how would you like to try a spin?"
     "No, thank you."
     "Aw, come on, it's exciting. Think of how impressed your friends will be. It's like a roller coaster, only better."
     "No, no, and no," I say.
     "Just a little one. You don't want Dad to think he has more nerve than you, do you?"
     "What do I hang onto?"
     "Atta girl! Stay with the controls and follow through when she begins to spin."
     "I think I'll just hang onto my seat."
     Ted stalls the Cub and rolls into a steep bank. The plane's nose is pointing directly at the earth, the horizon has disappeared, and I'm asking myself why I agreed to this madness.  When Ted finally pulls out of the spin he says that was just an itty‑bitty one; next time he'll show me some real spins, the way he did with Dad. My eyes haven't yet returned to their sockets and he's talking about real spins.
     I stop at the office to make an appointment with Bruce.  One‑thirty the next day is the only time he has available.
     "Well . . . I have a hairdo appointment in Boston."
     My instructor makes it plain that anyone who would sit cooped up in a beauty parlor when she could be flying in a "real" plane like Ted's Super Cub must be out of her mind.
     "What's wrong with your hair, it looks fine!"
     "Okay, okay, I'll be there." Miss June manages to squeeze me in between customers, so I arrive in Norwood on time, breathless but beauteous.
     Bruce's greeting: "Now, isn't this a better way to spend your time than having your hair done?"
     "It so happens," I say, as illusions of glamour go down the drain, "that I had my hair done."
     "Oh‑oh," says Bruce.

     My instructor enjoys the lesson as much as I do, although some of my first takeoffs would have to be seen to be believed. The Cub has a will of her own, I discovered. Let up for an instant and she puts her head down and makes for the woods. I finally wised up to her wayward personality, learned to coax the wheels down on the snow covered runway, brooking no nonsense from the rudders. Stick forward, tail up for the takeoff, watch her nose—don't let her drift to the left—easy on the right rudder or you'll have too much of a good thing. Now she's ready to leave the ground. I can almost feel her impatiently flapping her wings;  back with the stick and up we go.
     "That's the way!" I hear Bruce shout over the roar of the engine. "Now you've got it!"
     Deelightful!

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