A Review Of Jake Morrel’s Book “Dick Folsom: Bush Pilot”
Written by Jason Baker – When Jake Morrel sent the Dick Folsom book my way for review over the holidays, I knew I was in deep trouble. Running around square-eyed from all the “must do” reading, scatter-brained from the many different projects and commitments and struggling with the curve-balls life sometimes throws my way, my worst trait has become my chronic inability to sit on my bum and focus for more than 3 minutes.
Immediately, I conceived the cunning idea of sending the book over to Chris Buckner in Bremen, who had already reviewed Jake’s Hardscrabble Lodge over the holidays. Couldn’t he just sit in his classroom and tell the kids to write something in silence, while artfully concealing the Dick Folsom book behind some “How To Teach” guide, that all teachers have to have these days? Then I remembered his hunting background, realizing just how fast and far he can run and how many ways he could probably think up to… well you get the point. Hindsight is 20/20, he would have enjoyed the book, too.
Problem with many aviation related books is that you don’t want to put them down. I certainly can’t. For me, this spelled ongoing procrastination and skipping the task, day after day, week after week, month after month. Then, finally this book started to stare me down, asking me why the heck its sitting on that shelf. Books do talk, you know?
Being from the State of Maine by birth and having spend incredulous amounts of time in and around Greenville, meant that there could be some melancholy in reading this book and seeing pictures from “home”. Being one of these middle aged seaplane people, I never personally met Dick Folsom, but was blessed to hear some of the tales about this man, who served as Maine’s most genuine Bush-pilot. I am grateful for Jake’s work in preserving his legacy.
But, be warned fellow aviator, especially if you are younger and not quite accustomed to the style of communication that our previous generation of pilots used back then. If you’re expecting a book that tells you just how flowery and romantic seaplane flying for a living used to be, you may be a bit disappointed. What the book will do is afford you a glimpse into the past of flying seaplanes and give you reason to walk away with a newfound respect for the deadly serious business that flying and especially bush style seaplane flying has always been.
Jake who looks back at an accomplished life as an aviator himself did an excellent job, because his writing isn’t dominated by fancy words – but gives a more or less completely unfiltered view into the life of those days. If you allow it, Jake will nonchalantly take you on a memory trip to a time when school wasn’t canceled because of half an inch of snow and being offended or outraged by straightforward talk wasn’t quite the national epidemic it has become, these days.
The late Folsom Senior definitely was no politician style personality and my guess is he would have struck most people he met as short, crisp, blunt and very direct and equipped with incredible experiences and a funny way of telling about them. He would have been a great mentor for any pilot. In my mind, the man I heard being talked about so often, changed into this cool no frills character you would have wanted to meet and fly with. The book I ended up reading in three sittings, is worth every aviators attention and I am glad it’s not missing from my bookshelf.
Tips For Non-Mainers
Having some local knowledge or maybe a Maine Atlas and Gazetteer would probably help locate some of the spots featured in the book. Even better would be at least one trip to the beautiful State of Maine. While there, you can probably visit with Jake and Beth in Portland, Maine – before heading up to Greenville for a flying trip with Roger Currier, who spends his summers keeping the sound of radial engines alive, so that the ghosts and spirits of those lost and departed aviators keep remembering just why they stick around.
You can buy a signed copy from Jake directly by clicking on this link, opt for a standard copy here and even get the book for Kindle on Amazon.com – My sincere thanks to Jake Morrel for capturing this history – personally I look forward to the new book that Jake currently has in the works.