BETH RUGGIERO YORK

AUTHOR AND PHOTOGRAPHER

The Return of Ren (Sequel Post #2)

Nov 22, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York, in Books

I felt the release of heavy drag when the glider I was towing behind me set itself free at three thousand feet. After watching him clear my area, I turned steeply to the right for the best part of the flight. In between tows, I could usually take a few extra minutes before returning to the airport if no one was waiting on the ground for a tow. After eight tows already today, no one was waiting.

 

The Pawnee was a noisy airplane with its 235 horsepower, but highly maneuverable and compact. I flew west towards Mt. Lafayette, the dominant peak along the ridge. These moments allowed me to enjoy the best part of flying—seeing my world from above. At four thousand feet, I was just below the peak of Lafayette at five thousand, and the views were exhilarating, stretching for miles on this clear day. 

The months before coming to Franconia were behind me, and I continued to celebrate my emotional liberation from Steve.
Some might say it was divine intervention that severed the toxic affair, and looking back, I believe it was. God saw that I didn’t have the gumption to end it myself, so he took charge and changed things. Conveniently, I had this carefree summer job towing gliders that gave me some time to reflect and regroup.

 

But the job would last only a few short months before I needed to get back to more serious flying. I hadn’t known what or where that would be... until that morning when the phone rang in the living room.

 

“Beth,” Lyle called my bedroom door. “You have a phone call.”

 

“Who is it?”

 

“I don’t know.” He handed the phone to me.

 

“Hello?”

 

“Beth, it’s Ren.”

 

I raised my eyebrows. “What’s going on?” I asked with genuine curiosity. We hadn’t spoken in months, during the aftermath of the Cash Air shutdown when Ren was dealing with lawsuits, but ocasional bits of news came through the grapevine 

 

“I’m back in business, hon,” he announced as though it was breaking news. “I want you to fly for me.”

 

I'd heard he was working on starting up a new charter company, this time in New Hampshire. I also knew he had learned some lessons from the Cash Air fiasco, perhaps not all.

 

“The company is called Granite State Airways, and we’re based in Manchester,” Ren continued. “I’ve got some of the same airplanes from Cash Air, and a couple of newer Navajos. I’ll pay you more – three hundred fifty dollars a week – and you’ll get to pick the flights you want.”

 

“Okay, Ren, let me think about it,” I said with some hesitation. I did need to line up a job for the fall, and my log book still needed another thousand hours or so before I could apply to the major airlines.  

 

“Sure, hon, but I need you by the end of August. At the latest,” he said.

 

***

 

I cruised several hundred feet above the foothills before heading back to the airport, taking the time to think about Ren’s offer.  The timing was perfect, and three hundred fifty dollars a week for charter flying was decent pay, much more than the average. In fact, I hadn’t made that much in all my flying jobs. It was tempting. Besides, he needed me to fly for him, so I could refuse to fly if he didn’t keep the airplanes in legal flying condition. That thought cinched the deal.

 

By the time I landed for my next glider tows, the decision was made.