Victory Lane is a young girl who is nosy by nature and a self-professed sleuth. She is on her first self-assigned unsolved mystery. Let’s begin where we left off with this story. Victory has spotted her classmate, Penny’s Uncle Jimbo, who left town for unknown parts two years ago. Penny said it was because her mother kicked him out for being lazy, but Victory thinks it was something more sinister. Let’s see if she has what it takes to be an up and coming slueth or, if in fact, she is just nosy.
When I finished my PB & J sandwich, I grabbed a couple of Mom’s homemade peanut butter cookies and a glass of milk. I love peanut butter. It helps me think.
I needed a plan. First, I needed to know if Penny’s family knew Jimbo was back in town. Penny and I aren’t exactly friends, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt if I casually strolled by their house, so I did. As luck would have it, Penny’s mom was walking out to her car parked in the driveway.
“Hi Mrs. Walter. Are you having a nice day?”
“Oh, hello, Victory. Yes, I suppose I am.”
“Is it kinda the same as any other day?”
“Yes, I guess it is. I’ve got to run an errand. See you, Victory. Oh, please tell your mother I won’t be bringing cookies tonight. We’ve decided not to go.”
She was in the car and backing out of the driveway before I could ask her where she wasn’t going tonight.
Anyway, It didn’t sound like Mrs. Walter knows her brother is back in town.
Next, I decided to go back to the place I saw Uncle Jimbo a couple of hours before.
Once again, luck was on my side. Jimbo and another guy I had never seen before came walking out of the Dairy Queen. I quickly ducked behind a giant cardboard ice cream cone that was close enough to the door that I could hear most of the conversation.
“I understand how you feel, Jimbo, but it’s time this town knows the truth about you. Now come on, lets get back to the hotel and get ready for tonight. Have you called your sister?”
“No, and I’m not going to. I don’t feel right about asking her to go. Come on let’s get this over with.”
“Victory Lane!! What are you nosing around for now?”
I jumped so high I could a cleared that ice cream cone if I hadn’t knocked it over. I hate it when my cover gets blown.
“I promise I’m not being nosy, Mom. I’m on the very verge of solving a mystery.”
Just then, something occurred to me. Jimbo’s sister, Mrs. Walter wasn’t going someplace tonight, and Jimbo was going someplace tonight. I wondered if it was the same place.
“Mom, Mrs. Walter said she couldn’t bring cookies tonight because she isn’t going. Where isn’t she going, Mom?”
“Oh dear, I hope we have enough cookies. How many of my peanut butter cookies did you eat today, Victory?”
“Two…plus one that wasn’t baked yet. Where are you taking them, Mom?”
“To the Veteran’s Day Celebration at the town hall. There is going to be a surprise guest. I heard through the grapevine he’s a real unsung hero. You had better get home and get ready. You’re going with me.”
“Uh, okay Mom…I have one stop to make then I’ll be home.”
I ran all the way to the Walter’s house. I prayed Mrs. Walter would be there. As luck would have it, she was. I knocked on the door and she answered.
“Mrs. Walter, you have to go to the Veteran’s Day Celebration tonight and bring cookies. My mom doesn’t have enough because I ate a bunch of them. Please Mrs. Walter! Say you’ll come. There’s going to be an unsung hero there and everything and I’d feel just terrible if my mom got all embarrassed because there weren’t enough cookies. Buy them if you have to.”
Well, Mrs. Walter must have sensed my distraughtness because she assured me she would be there. Now all I had to do was pray really hard that my hunch was right.
“Ladies and gentlemen it’s time to introduce a very special guest. Dale, would you please come up to the podium?”
Dale? Who is Dale, I wondered!
Jimbo’s friend stood up and walked to the microphone.
There is someone here with me tonight, but I’ve asked him to stay in the other room for a few minutes while I tell you a little bit about him.
I want to tell you about a man who went to war. He went because he wanted to fight for all of you. He grew up in this town. I’ve never met a man with a stronger love of country or a more steadfast commitment to protect his own. I served beside him.
There came a terrible day. We were in the midst of battle… caught by surprise. Our commander was killed. This man I’m about to bring before you saved my life and the lives of countless others. He didn’t come home a hero. You see, he was uncomfortable with the word hero. The last two years, he’s been getting help. He had to learn to come to terms with who he is. I’ll tell you who he is. He’s the finest man I’ve ever known and I’m so pleased that he’s finally coming back home to all of you. He deserves your gratitude. Come out here Jimbo.”
I saw Jimbo walking through the door. He had tears in his eyes and a big smile on his face. I saw his sister, Mrs. Walter run to the front of the room and grab onto her brother with all she had. Everyone in the room stood, but there was silence. Then a sweet voice began to sing America the Beautiful and everyone joined in.
I felt good all over…