time Bird's Nest Airport all-around go-to guy.
port. Like Ray and Mary, he was living the life
he wanted, unlike most people. In some ways,
his good fortune was hard to believe. He had
a job and friends and his own slightly wobbly
landing strip in his backyard. He had no rea-
son to think things wouldn't just keep getting
better. Only he was wrong.
the enemy wasn't a single foe, but came at
them as a thousand tiny pinpricks collective-
ly drawing real blood and refusing to retreat.
Some of their problems were obvious. Ray
was forever arguing with the landowners of
the adjacent property about the condition of
the easement dirt road, and the arguments
were wearing thin. Staff left for bigger and
better jobs, exactly the kind of thing Ray and
Mary encouraged, yet each time it happened
the loss took something out of them. Fewer
flyers came around. Fewer flyers meant less
income, and that meant less money to main-
Photo courtesy of Dave Mandot.