“How’s That Possible?”
The gang climbed aboard the Shirley Ann and locked the door. The windows fogged over, and the engines started. They felt her throttle up, swing around, then stop. The motors shut down and the fog evaporated. Peering through the windows, it was obvious that they were back in the hangar.
Ben swung the door open, then leaped for the hangar floor. However, Bandit had decided he would be the first out. The result for Ben was an awkward landing and tumble as he avoided landing on Bandit. He ended up making it look like he had planned it, with a ninja like roll that catapulted him back to his feet. He turned to the gang with a grin on his face. “That’s one of my new moves,” he said. “Yeah, for sure,” said Willy. The girls laughed.
The Shirley Ann was sitting right where she was when they saw her for the first time. The same dreary dull aluminum, faded paint, flat tires and one missing engine. Grandpa Jimmy was sipping coffee as his workbench and their dirt bikes were in the rack where they had left them. I really liked that old bike from 1950,” said Kate as they walked toward the workbench. “Me too,” said Ben.
Grandpa Jimmy smiled when the gang gathered round, “after all that’s happened, you kids still want this hangar and the Shirley Ann for your clubhouse?”
“Still want it!” Willy exclaimed. “I have no idea how any of this is possible but this is for sure the most awesome clubhouse ever in the whole world, we’re never giving it up.” “Absolutely,” agreed Ben.
“Grandpa Jimmy, who are you, really?” asked Tali. “Yeah, you have to tell us,” said Kate.
“I’m just and old guy who’s been flyin’ out of Hangar 1 for a long time. The Shirley Ann is the last plane I flew; lots of memories come with that old girl. She sure got me out of a lot of scrapes… kind of magical, ya know.”
“Yeah, but I think we just saw you a few minutes ago and you were like twenty-five years old.”
“I know, and maybe one day I’ll explain it. But for now, just have fun in your clubhouse and let the Shirley Ann take ya on adventures that most kids only dream about.” He paused, took a sip of coffee from his stained chipped cup, then asked. “Ya know the best part of being kids?”
“Well, we’re not really kids anymore, but what’s the best part?” asked Jold.
“Ya don’t have to understand somethin’ to believe it. Older folks have a harder time with that, ya know.”
Then he stood to his feet and headed for the hangar door. “Got to go,” he said. “You kids ought to be headin’ home too. Lock up when ya leave, see ya next Saturday.”
The gang grabbed their bikes, pushed them out of the hangar and leaned them against the side of the hangar. The hangar door had steel rollers that looked like the wheels on a railroad car and rolled on a track. Both were rusty and weathered, so the wheels didn’t roll too well. It was much easier to open and close when all five pushed.
“I’m goin’ get some tractor grease from my Dad’s store and grease these wheels,” said Ben while they all pushed. Once closed, Ben put the lock through the latch and the key in his pocket. Grandpa Jimmy had put him in charge of lockin’ up everything when they left.
They took the short cut back home, pedaling across the bumpy muddy hay field and over the bridge to the paved road, perfect conditions for dirt bikes. Kate, Jold and Willy turned one way while and Ben and Tali went the other since they lived next door to each other. When they got to Ben’s house, he swung one leg over the seat and hopped off while coasting up the driveway and then laid his bike on the grass. Tali parked on the sidewalk and used the kickstand. They sat next to each other on the front steps. The third step to be exact because the fourth step worked like a back rest.
Tali leaned back, stretched her legs out straight, crossed them at the ankles and sighed. “Grandpa Jimmy is right about one thing,” she said. “I believe this is really happening, but I don’t understand.”
Ben looked down at his watch. “It’s only been five hours since we went to the hangar this morning. But we were in Alaska for three days and spent one day in Buena Vista in 1951. No way to figure this one.”
“Hey Ben, time to mow the yard.” His dad was standing in the doorway, he had heard them ride up. “When you’re done, you can help me wax the truck. So, get to it.”
“Better let ya go Ben, I’m gonna see what mom’s up to…bye.”
By the time the yard was mowed, the car waxed, and supper was over, it was starting to get dark. Ben looked out front and to his surprise Tali was sitting on the porch steps. He went out to join her.
“Hey Tali, what’s shakin’?” Her head was down, elbows on her knees and hands covering her face. She was quietly sobbing. “Are you okay?” She shook her head no. “Were your mom and dad fighting again?”
“No, worse…my dad left.”
“Well, when’s he coming back?”
“He’s not Ben…ever, they’re getting divorced.”
”Wow!” was all Ben could think to say.
“There’s more,” she said.
“My mom can’t afford the house by herself; I guess we’re going to have to move.”
“Where will you go?’
“I don’t know, but it can’t be good. Maybe I can get job.”
“This might sound a little crazy, but I think we should go talk to Grandpa Jimmy.”
“As weird as that sounds, I was thinking exactly the same thing.”
“Tomorrow’s Sunday, Let’s go to the hangar after church. He might be there.”
Ben couldn’t wait for church to be over. His dad had already told him it was okay to go to the hangar. Two seconds after the amen, he was out the door pedaling for Tali’s house. She was waiting out front. When she saw Ben coming, she jumped on her bike and met him in the street. They made it to Hangar 1 in record time. They rode around to the front of the hangar and saw Grandpa Jimmy’s truck. What luck, or maybe not!
The hangar door was open just enough for them to ride their bikes through. Grandpa Jimmy was in his usual place, sitting at the bench with a cup of coffee.
“Thought you two might show up today,” he said with a smile. “Want a cup of coffee Tali?”
“No…thank you. But I do have something I want to talk to you about.”
“What would that be?” he asked.
Tali teared up and dropped her head. “Want me to tell him, Tali?” She shook her head yes. “Well, Tali’s mom and dad are getting a divorce. Her mom says she can’t afford the house alone, looks like they might have to move. We kind of hoped maybe you would have an idea for us.”
“Hmmm, sorry to hear about that Tali.” Tali just nodded and wiped away the tears. “I tell ya what. You and the gang meet me here next Saturday, might have an idea for ya. In the meantime, got somethin’ I want you to think about, Tali.”
“What’s happening between your mom and dad ain’t your fault. A lot of times kids think it is, but it ain’t. I’m sure they both love ya. So, see ya next Saturday, got an idea that might keep you and your mom in your home. It’ll be an adventure, guaranteed!”
“We’ll be here, for sure,” said Ben.
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