Love at Five Thousand Feet
After her mother’s death, Dottie Lester moves to her parent’s hometown of Saplingville, Georgia with her alcoholic father. She wants to escape and go to live with her aunt in Macon, but first, she must get her father settled in his new job. When Dottie meets a handsome pilot and falls in love, her goal changes, but it is still no match for his desire to leave their small town behind and fly for a commercial airline.
Victor Douglas, United States Army Air Corps pilot, returns to Saplingville to help his ailing father. He has been flying his own JN-4 Jenny bi-plane for years. That and his army experience qualify him to apply for a job as a commercial airline pilot and win a coveted job offer, but how can he leave his father now, or a budding romance with the pretty new girl in town?
Dottie observed how Walter pulled the propeller, stepping away after each try. The propeller spun on the third turn. He ran to the side out of the way.
The strong air from the spinning propeller pushed her. Her ears roared from the sound of the engine. She screamed, “Wait.” Her entire body shook, chill bumps shivered down her arms. She manipulated her right hand with her left trying to make the three finger sign when she heard Victor yell.
“Ready?” She had the urge to unfasten her seatbelt and jump from the plane. Alone in the front seat she yearned to see Victor.
She searched Mr. Andrew’s face. He nodded his head. “Yes.” She raised her voice over the roar. “Yes, I’m ready.” The engine noise increased, and the air from the fast spinning propeller buffeted her.
The airplane rocked gently, picking up speed. The control stick moved slightly forward between her knees. The tail of the plane rose and leveled out. Now she could see all around. The ground and bushes rushed by faster and her heart beat quickened. Then the control stick moved rearward, the nose rose, and the wheels left the earth.
The plane rose into the air. Her stomach did a somersault. She clenched the sides of her seat, ready to jump out, but as the plane gained altitude, she relaxed and looked down. Everything seemed small from the air. As the plane rose higher, the barns and farmhouse started to disappear. She closed her eyes. Peace overwhelmed her, it was as if she were a feather floating through time. She loved flying.
The airplane headed toward town. The church steeple loomed at them. The bi-plane banked to the left, the boarding house below them. As they flew over Main Street, the plane rose to a higher altitude.
She peered from side to side observing the earth from a perspective she’d never dreamed about. The thick green forests would open to a lake or pasture then another forest would come into view. The vibration of the bi-plane swept through her body, dulling her senses. She closed her eyes and relaxed against the seat. She had no idea how long they’d been in the air.
The humming of the wires changed to a higher pitch. The airplane picked up speed. She grabbed the sides of the seat as fear clutched her heart. She closed her eyes and prayed. The bi-plane hit the pasture with a bounce before coming to a stop close to the shed.
Victor turned off the engine. He stepped out, climbed on the plane beside the seat and reached for Dottie’s hand to help her out.
He jumped off the wing, grabbed her around the waist, and set her in front of him. Without saying a word, he took her face in his hands. He bent to kiss her. Her legs were weak from flying. She hadn’t gotten used to being on land. When he kissed her, it was as if she were in a whirlpool, the earth spinning around her.
She swayed, Victor steadied her. “Well, how do you like it?”
She tightened her hold on his arm as the earth turned beneath her. “What, the flying?”
He pulled the aviator cap off her head. “Yes, the flying.”
“I was scared at first, but when we got in the air, I relaxed and enjoyed the ride. Until we landed. I feared we were crashing.”