Recap: Mr. Corman doesn’t need Sender for the time being, so Bubby lets him go back to the Wright brothers. Wilbur had a successful visit in France, and they want to do more practice with the glider. While they’re in the shop, Wilbur notices an old enemy, Oliver Crook Haigh. He tells Sender to not let that man into the shop.
When we arrived at Huffman Prairie, both brothers scrambled off the trolly and I followed, trying to keep up with their quick pace. I was lugging the camera and a small bag of tools. I gazed around, noting how it was so different from the wide expanses of Kitty Hawk. They had to deal with avoiding barbed wire borders and trees on the borders and inside the prairie. There was that huge honey locust that was like 50 feet high and had thorns. They wouldn’t want to bump their flying machine into that!
I tried not to think about that man Oliver Crook Haigh. We headed over to the shed where they kept their flying machine. Orville motioned me to follow him to a side of the shed. I heard a familiar warble. A barn speckled bird stood singing. “Is that the mockingbird from Kitty Hawk?”
“It is. I brought her back with me and,” he leaned close and whispered, “I gave her a name.”
“Melody. She’s my good luck charm. I couldn’t leave her there.”
I recalled that time the bird had led us to Orville’s downed plane.
I marveled at how the bird really did seem to be attached to Orville. She chirped and warbled when he was near her.
Soon they were busy inspecting everything and Orville would occasionally point for me to take a photo of a certain part of the flying machine.
The wind was perfect, and they took turns flying around the prairie. They must have flown about 15 flights before Wilbur finally called it quits. My hand was tired from photographing them. There was the double rudder, the wing area, and the forward rudder. I was getting to know all the parts.
“Okay, we’ll head back now. I think we’re doing well,” Wilbur said.
“It’s amazing!” I said.
As we were heading back to town, Wilbur asked me if I could cover the bicycle shop the next couple of days while they continued practicing in the prairie. “You know the bikes and you know how to work the register.”
“Sure,” I said. I was honored he felt that confident in me.
I was staying in the guest room in the Wright home. The next morning, Orville woke me very early. “We’re leaving now. You can open around nine a.m.” Lace curtains fluttered in the spring breeze. A mantle clock ticked on the walnut dresser that Wilbur had made. There were photos on the wall of all the Wright children when they were little. Wilbur and Orville had two older brothers and one younger sister. I studied a portrait of Bishop Wright. He had the same piercing blue eyes as his sons. There was also a portrait of their mother Susan Wright, who was no longer alive. Orville told me that she was the one with a mechanical talent, and he thought that he and Wilbur inherited it from her.
I slid out of the comfortable four-poster bed. I glanced out the window. The sky was clear except for a few puffy, white clouds.
I davened and headed to the bicycle shop. I strolled down Main Street. The bell tinkled as I entered the shop. I stood behind the counter. There were several bikes they said I could fix in the back when there were no customers. I waited for a while and when no one came, I headed to the back to work on the brakes of one of the Van Cleve bikes.
It was toward 11:00 when I heard the bell, and I hurried back to the front to greet a customer. The man was short with a handlebar mustache, and I realized with a terrible sinking feeling that it was Mr. Oliver Crook Haigh.
The Wrights here?” the man asked.
“No, sir. Can I help you?” I prayed he would leave since they weren’t here. Wilbur’s warning echoed in my ears: “I don’t want that man in my shop.” I thought of the scar he’d given Wilbur with a hockey stick, and I wished he would just leave.
“Yes,” he said with an evil gleam in his eye. “I believe you can.”
To be continued…
By Susie Garber