Chapter 369

Saturday morning we met Joni, Paula, Alica and Amanda at Morton field. We had an 11 AM appointment at Fort Lauderdale with the owner of the L100-30 that was at Lockheed. We had 10 million in cash – as stipulated by the sales contract – from the vault in wheeled carry-on luggage.

The flight was jovial; we were having a good time. Today was one those days we could enjoy the class and comfort of a G5. It was a no rush flight with no pressing work after the transaction was completed.

After the transaction we were going to walk the beach and get dinner at an ocean front restaurant before returning home. Our house rental customers raved about the restaurant.

Kerry Boyardee was in a wheel chair and was waiting with his two sons and an attorney in the meeting room at the general aviation terminal when we arrived. We were thirty minutes early.

Lorrie came prepared with copies of all the paperwork for the plane. Lockheed had even supplied a new certificate of ownership for the aircraft that the current owner needed to sign over to us; it was the same as an automobile title.

We stacked the 10 one million dollar blocks of money on the table and signed all the paperwork. We were all done in 30 minutes.

None of us had brought any swimsuits or gear. We walked the beach and shopped the shops until our reservation time for early dinner.

We were back at Morton Field by 8PM. I ran the security videos just to be confident that things were quiet at the gym and no one had been around the Horsey house today while we were in flight. Maybe I was a little paranoid but I wanted to be safe than sorry.

The weather on Sunday was supposed to be a nice warm early summer day. We planned the first cookout of the season. Jason, Lisa, Mom, Dad, Jake, Mindy, Eric and Frank along with both of their wives, Victor, his daughter Allie and the four homeless girls were to be there. Joey, Janice, Becky, Lisa Brownly, Sly, Erica and Glenda (the infamous north six) were home from college for the weekend and were invited along with Mable and Mike, Eric’s secretary and her husband.

Sunday morning we had a light breakfast and then prepared all the foods that we normally had at one of our cookouts. I was devious in my inviting Eric and Frank; I wanted them to meet Alica.

Alica, like Paula, had personality and attitude that was infectious. She was very withdrawn and cautious the first few weeks, but once she was confident that no one was out to take advantage of her, the real Alica came out.

How could she recover and be so positive after what she had possibly been through at the foster home? Then trek a thousand miles as a runaway – let alone live in a junk car in the woods all winter – only spoke of the power of determination to survive and youth.

Joni and Paula had been in the area since midsummer and watching over Alica and Amanda since November. I wondered if there was a word of mouth network of some kind for runaways in the area.

I don’t know who Jenny called the day after I picked up the runaways, but the new town administrator resigned for personal reasons. The police chief suddenly found a job in another county to be closer to his wife’s ailing parents.

Herb Albertson was named the new police chief. He had seen the girls at the restaurant with us and had apologized several times for the actions the department forced the field officers to take.

We had everything ready before the invited guest arrived; the four girls had come over before we finished breakfast, wanting to help put lunch together.

We set up all the tables and chairs in the garage and the grills out on the apron as we did for every cookout. No matter what the weather did, we were always a step ahead.

The cookout went off well and as planned. Family and friends with plenty of conversation made it a nice day. In some ways, it went better than I expected.

Victor lost his wife of ten years to cancer last summer and had taken it hard and because of his nine year old daughter Allie, had not been socially active. His life revolved around her now and of course work.

Allie befriended Alica almost as soon as they arrived. Allie had been to the gym several times with Victor and to our cookouts several times last year with the group.

Allie, in true nine year kid style, was introducing her new friend to her dad and the others she knew at the tables and that included Frank and Eric whom she had seen often. That part of the plan came together nicely.

The thing that I did not expect was Joni and Victor. There weren’t that many years different in their ages by today’s standards; Victor was in his early forties. Joni was 28.

The introduction was made by Allie as she was making the rounds with Alica. Something clicked; there was a lot of talking. They sat together when the food was on the table, with Allie and Alica sitting across from them. I wasn’t sure but I thought phone numbers were being exchanged.

Eric asked, “Is that the same Alica that we were discussing the other day?”

“Yes, one and the same,” I replied.

“If it should come to the point that you need help with that chipper, just call,” Eric replied.

With so many conversations going on the day was gone before we knew it. Leftovers went home with some of the guests; a few things we kept. After the garage was cleaned up and everything put away Victor and the girls were invited into the house; everyone else had left for home.

It was 9 PM before Victor and Allie left. On the way out Victor said, “Meetings tomorrow will finalize what the Secretary and the President want to do about the Kampala Embassy. You may not be in favor of the outcome. I will VCATS you during your afternoon meeting.”

I was working a very relaxed schedule now at KCC. Graduation was last week and the staff was substantially reduced; all the professors were gone for a couple months. There were some special events; bicycle clubs and a couple of cross country running clubs that rented the dorm rooms for a short stay over and such. Patti and I were going to rotate the days.

All the employees who worked part time during the winter months were mostly farmers. They were now busy plowing, planting and spraying.

Carson had aerial spraying scheduled to start tomorrow; the bugs had started eating on the winter wheat and barley. When we had bought the crop dusting business to get the start for Morton Field I wondered how we would find any pilots insane enough to do dusting.

Lorrie had over a dozen jet pilots that fought over dusting flights. Full throttle on the turbine with the prop clipping the wheat then yank the stick to get it over the trees or the power line, and then a full power U turn and dive to the other end of the field. Heck, I had heard that they even flew under the power lines sometimes. They said it was the greatest G force ride there was.

There was a new family conversation to add to the mix now; Jason and Dad had planted 500 acres of the rented farm in corm. Dad had found out that it was not quite as easy as he remembered helping grandpa.

They had plenty of support and different opinions about seed varieties and fertilizer options. The airport restaurant had become meeting central for the early bird farmers and seed, fertilizer and equipment salesmen.

More than one had left the restaurant to help them with a problem with the tractors or planters. There was a 20 year gap in memory and technology that had to be overcome. The John Deere salesman that Jason knew had spent the biggest part of a day teaching them how to set up and use the hi-tech planter.

Jake was going back to Japan on Monday for a week. It would be the final trip for several months. The reactor core breach had been successfully sealed. It was a waiting game now. Japans Nuclear Regulatory agency was going to monitor the radiation level and plan any additional work if those levels did not continue to drop.

Jake would soon be done with that project and working the Virginia construction site. Jake, Mindy and Jenny were making tentative plans for Jenny to donate eggs as soon as her doctor gave the OK.

Mindy and Jake made as many trips to see and hold the boys as the grandparents did.

We made out in the hot tub before turning in for the night; it was a fun evening. Even the boys slept through the night for the first time.

Edit by Alfmeister

Proof read by Bob W.

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