On the road…again!
Afghanistan to Zambia
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
W is for Wales
Wales has a special place in the dreams of the Footloose Forester. It’s mostly about flying. Ever since the first time he left the ground in a flying machine, the Footloose Forester has had hundreds of dreams about flying through the air; sometimes in light planes; sometimes in deep-throated four-engine transports; and sometimes in the quiet comfort of the upper deck of trans-Atlantic stratoliners. But mostly the dreams feature silent contraptions that he fashions out of cloth or other material, for short flights to escape immediate danger. Most of the dreams also involve the hurried fashioning of a special coat or a fabric wing design that takes the Footloose Forester over mountains, under power lines, into large caves, and elsewhere, but usually to escape danger. Getting into the air and then staying there has always been one of the struggles in the dreams. Most of the background material for the dreams, however, is based on real flights in real flying machines.
First, there was a short flight in a Piper Cub over Red Bank, New Jersey. Next, on a long, bumpy flight with Eastern Airlines to Puerto Rico. Then, in several tiny helicopters while working with the U.S. Forest Service in California; and to taking the controls of a Bell H-13 copter as a flight candidate in the U.S. Army in both California and Oklahoma. Dozens of flights on both military and commercial aircraft in Europe and North Africa cemented the love affair with flight and the beginning of decades of dreams about flying. Over seven hundred flights in future years would eventually lead to a special compartment of dreams about flying.
No flights were better, however; than those gliding silently above a highland Welch pasture in 1993 under the canopy of a paraglider. The Footloose Forester had come from Kenya to Wales to attend paraglider flight school, and he had to make a reservation some months in advance. The last flight came too soon and put a different spin on the long-planned vacation and his plans to fly higher and further in the web seat of a paraglider in more challenging locations.
Flag of Wales
While coming in for a landing in tall gorse, after two running steps on solid ground, the Footloose Forester heard a loud popping sound in his right leg. It started to stiffen up immediately and he reluctantly begged off another flight for that day. He and his instructor still had to pack out about two miles with all the equipment, even though the Footloose Forester was limping all the way. Only the following year did the Footloose Forester confirm that he had snapped a couple of ligaments in his upper leg. The confirmation was visual, in the form of a cavity of sunken skin when it became conclusive that parted ligaments don’t grow back, and the muscle in that area atrophied.
Limp or not, pain or not, the Footloose Forester put Plan B into effect and went golfing the next day at Oswestry Golf Club in Wales, the home course of Ian Woosnam. Not one to waste an opportunity, the Footloose Forester played two other golf courses in England before returning to Kenya. The last day had its own sweet memories -- a birdie from about 40 feet and four pars in a row to finish out the round at the Hainault Forest course in the London Borough of Redbridge. But Wales will always bring back memories of flying.
About the author
Thank you for your inspiration, Joyce. Most readers are lurkers, so I never know if any particular story is worth the effort. Some of my stuff is probably boring to most.
These stories are really good Dick. However, if you want more reader responses you should pace them so they don't push down other member stories to page two in the listings. If they are able to taste a story say weekly or every few days they are far more likely to do so than to pour through several at a time daily or so. Just a suggestion. The stories are remarkable!!
Thank you for the suggestion. The reason I posted so many stories at one time is because I realized that the original stories sans the Joomlai sub-sponsorship could not be accessed directly. Although Facebook shows the original thumbnail with Legacy Stories.org as the webpage source, when I try to get the story directly, the link leads to the Legacy Stories homepage but does not suggest any subsequent link to find the story. With the recent Joomlai code included, the prospective reader goes directly to the story within Legacy Stories. So it has been a matter of providing a convenience to anyone who seeks out an older (un-modified) story on Facebook.
Thanks for seeking out a faster, stable platform. Hope everything works out satisfactorily.