Melozi: A Teenagers Search for A Summer Job Lands Him An Adventure In The Alaska Bush

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To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Melozi , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. May 24, Bobby rated it it was amazing. I always enjoy reading about Old Time Alaskans as the Veerhusens were.

This is a great read about Michael Travis who spent a summer during his high school years working in Bush Alaska. He documents some very colorful characters of a past time in our wonderful state.

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This is a great read! I highly recommend it! Laura Amble rated it it was amazing Aug 26, Dawn marked it as to-read Jul 04, There are no discussion topics on this book yet. About Michael Travis. Michael Travis. Michael Travis is an environmental engineer and principal with a consulting firm in Anchorage, Alaska. He is a pilot and enjoys traveling throughout Alaska and working with fascinating people in his great state. He also is an avid golfer and tries to cram many games into the brief and intense Alaska summers. Michael lives in Anchorage with his wife Barbara and his daughter Natalie.

Books by Michael Travis. When people could strike out on their own with only their dreams and carve a life out of the Alaska bush. I hope this book encourages our youth to work hard and pursue their passions with a fearless heart. My pen smacked the period onto the small piece of paper and I pushed away from the kitchen table to admire my work. Mike Travis. The newspaper stated it would run a free Work Wanted ad for high school and college students seeking summer employment.

The offer limited each advertisement to twenty words—a restriction I struggled through several drafts to meet.

The ad intrigued me. It featured a girl my age who was obviously excited about landing the summer job of her dreams. As a boy who turned sixteen on this day and who had struck out for the past two weeks trying to find summer employment in the little town of Fairbanks, Alaska, I was green with envy. My family had arrived in Fairbanks only seven months before from Montana. Although my parents suffered from wanderlust, my Dad was certain this would be a lasting move.

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Since this was the third time we had moved during my high school years, I was skeptical at best. The net result of our relocation had placed me and my three brothers in a town where we knew no one outside of our newly acquired school friends. Coupled with the fact that the Fairbanks economy was in the doldrums between the rapid pipeline construction shutdown of and the promise of restarting someday soon, jobs for sixteen-year-olds were scarce and saved for lifelong residents. Thus, this ad meant everything to me. Today was Saturday and I had to wait two agonizing days until I could submit my literary work for publication.

With my precious scrap of paper carefully nested in my sweatshirt, I crossed the river on the Cushman Street bridge and rolled down to the office of the Fairbanks Daily News Miner. I strode up to the counter where a man in a neatly pressed plaid shirt sat behind a nearby desk and looked over his reading glasses at me. And what can I do for you? I reached inside my sweatshirt and produced the slip of paper that contained my future and proudly replied, I am responding to your free work-wanted ad.

I pushed my cutout form toward him. The man did not seem to understand. He cocked his head, rose, and walked to the counter. He picked up the paper and pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. He read my ad with casual interest and, much to my relief, it seemed to jog his memory. He took his glasses off, held onto the paper, and said, You look a little young to be a carpenter. The man gave me a condescending smile and replied, In a few days.

With that, he turned back to his desk carrying my ad. The Fairbanks Daily News Miner was an evening paper and the paperboy usually stuffed it in our screen door around 5 p. I met him on our porch on Tuesday and Wednesday and practically yanked it out of his hands. I immediately sat down on the steps and ripped the paper apart until I found the work-wanted ads and then meticulously read each entry. I was devastated that my ad was not printed. By Thursday, the paperboy had wised up and threw the rolled paper at me as he peddled by on his bike.

My ad was still missing. Then, Friday, I caught a looping pass from the paperboy and braced myself for another disappointment. With my finger tracing each line, I stumbled across my ad. There it is! I shouted and ran into the house to show my parents. I announced to my brothers that the phone would be ringing off the hook with offers, but much to their glee, it remained silent through the evening.

The News Miner printed the ad again on Saturday. This time an elderly lady called and asked if I would be interested in some yard-cleaning work. I said yes and she told me that she had to clear it with her husband first and she would call back. I never heard from her again. The ad posted a final time on Sunday. Dejected, I sat in the living room watching television when the telephone rang. My mother answered and called out to me, Michael!

I solemnly took the phone from my mother and said, Hello? My mother stood in front of me and watched my face. I cleared my throat and replied, Yes I am. My name is Mike Travis and I am looking for a summer job. The man answered in a pleasant tone, Well, I think you could help me. So, I need to send someone in my place. Are you interested? I thought. Heck, yes! I am way more than interested. When can I start? Then reality struck and I knew I had to remain cool if I was going to convince my parents to let me go on this one.

With my mother still watching every line on my face, I smoothly replied, Yes sir, I am, but if you are serious about this, I need you to come over and meet my parents. Then we can decide how to proceed. When I hung up the phone, my mother kept her eyes glued to my face. What did he say?

Well, Mom, he wants me to help a couple build a camp outside of Fairbanks. Sounds like a great job! Over the course of raising four boys, my mother had witnessed every sort of subterfuge known to man. Thus, she had developed the knack of getting to the heart of the matter. How far out of town is the camp? I could tell that this conversation was deteriorating, so I elected to be evasive. My mother appeared mollified. All right, she said. But your father has to work tomorrow afternoon, so he will have to deal with me. I gulped and wondered if this was good or bad news.

Promptly at three in the afternoon, a light green panel van pulled in front of the duplex my family rented off Airport Way. My dog Mickey snarled a greeting to it from the porch. A young man with close-cut black hair and a complexion darkened from outdoor work got out and walked around the front. As I came down the stairs to meet him, my mother and brothers lined up on the porch to watch. I stuck out my hand and said, Hi. I am Mike Travis. Thank you for coming. The man grasped my hand with a solid grip formed by years of pounding nails.

I motioned for him to come up the stairs to meet my family. Mom, this is Doug DeFelice, the man who called last night. Doug, this is my mother, Carmen Travis. Much to my relief, my mother greeted him warmly and invited him in. Doug shook their hands, too. My mother directed Doug to sit in the living room chair that faced the couch where my mother and I sat. My brothers and Mickey positioned themselves on the floor surrounding the couch. The arrangement pitted Doug against the six of us. If he felt uncomfortable, he did not show it. My mother politely asked about his occupation.

Doug replied he was an independent contractor building houses in the area. She and Doug exchanged pleasantries about the weather and the happenings around town. Soon, she delicately steered the conversation to my potential employment. Now where exactly is Melozi Hot Springs? Doug smiled and replied, Melozi is about seventy miles northeast of Galena. Doug answered with directness, He would fly to Galena on a commercial flight and then take a bush plane to Melozi.

My mother seemed bothered by this revelation, but it only boiled my anticipation higher. My father had his commercial and instrument ratings and flew us around when he could afford to rent a plane. Sensing that my mother had major reservations, Doug moved quickly to assuage her misgivings. The Veerhusens will take good care of him. They are responsible and caring people. The room went silent. My mother looked into my pleading eyes. Then she looked around her and saw every face waiting for her answer. Even the dog laid back her ears and stretched her muzzle toward her in sympathy and support.


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Finally, Mom decided on the same course of action taken by millions of women before her. She looked at me and said, Go ask your father. Her response was not an outright denial and offered some ray of hope. With the matter put on hold, I walked Doug back to his van and tried to reassure him that all was not lost. I will talk this over with my dad and get back to you this evening. Doug smiled and said, That would be fine. I hope things work out. You have a nice family. Slide over, Tasha. The dog hopped over and Doug got in. He rolled down the window and said, Make sure you call me tonight.

I need to know one way or the other. Then he drove off and left me standing in the street with the sinking feeling that I had my work cut out for me to convince my dad to let me go. The van had no sooner turned the corner when I leaped on my ten-speed bike and headed toward the east ramp of the Fairbanks International Airport where my father worked. I followed the sidewalk along Airport Way to University Avenue and turned left past the Safeway store that had rejected my box-boy application.

Here, the pavement deteriorated into a narrow gravel road. My speed slowed as I negotiated loose rocks and potholes. I propped my bike up along the wall and ran inside. I skated down two tiled hallways and slid into the briefing room where I saw my father leaning over the counter reviewing weather forecasts with a pilot.

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Usually, I would have waited until my father was done, but my excitement killed my patience. I blurted, Dad! I got a great job offer! My loud voice startled them out of their concentration. I quickly gave my father a thumbnail sketch of the details and then let the dice of fate play out. My father had a slight smile as he stared at me for a second while he sought the words to gently let me down.

His blue eyes were sympathetic and seemed to understand my excitement. He remembered what it was like to be young and full of wild hopes. As he opened his mouth to speak, the pilot interceded. Lloyd, I just flew in from Melozi. Len and Pat Veerhusen are good people, too. I know they would take good care of him. This information surprised my father.

He looked uncertain and the pilot sensed it. So, he stated an overlooked benefit of working in Melozi. Heck, Lloyd, you will at least know where he is at. As the father of four boys, my dad thought that was a definite plus. He turned to me, nodded, and said, Okay. You can go. I leaped for joy. Thanks, Dad! I started to run down the hallway and then remembered to thank the pilot. I turned to him and waved. He winked and grinned back.


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Have fun, son, he said. I nodded and bolted for the door. My mother knew something was up when I came screaming into the house. I knocked over a kitchen chair as I lunged for the telephone. With a rapid-fire motion, I twirled out the number on the rotary dial and held my breath for a few long seconds until I heard a distant ringing. Doug answered on the third ring. Hi, Doug, I replied breathlessly. This is Mike Travis. My father said yes. So, when do you want me to go? Soon , I hoped.

That was quick!

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I just got in the door. You can leave as soon as you want. Doug laughed and replied, Tomorrow is a little soon. I will stop by tomorrow after work with a plane ticket and instructions on how to charter a flight to Melozi. I felt a little crestfallen. Yeah, okay. I will see you tomorrow then. My voice dripped with disappointment. Doug said goodbye and I hung up. I turned and found my mother staring at me. Her eyes radiated shock tinged with fear.

Yeah, Mom, he did. My mother learned long ago to trust but confirm pledges of honesty. She went straight to the telephone and called my father. I did not stay around for the ensuing conversation or the one that surely occurred when my dad came home.