Recovery of a Hero Ch. 15byRoadbug©
The Hero's Gift
This story is a work of fiction only. Any chance resemblance to actual people or events is purely accidental.
Special thanks to DesertPirate for his assitance.
When I woke up, I remembered the party and what we'd planned for today. Uncle Dar was going to get Ellen and Nancy signed up with my gymnastics instructor and we were going to go car shopping.
Uncle Dar wanted a big van so he could take us all at once without having to call Megan for rides and such.
We were also going to see if Sandra and Shelly could get into the gymnastics classes too. Uncle Dar had said that if their parents couldn't afford it, he'd pay. He'd said that he could afford it easily enough since he was making a lot of money with two pensions and was still employed by the Department of the Navy. The two pensions were non taxable too, he'd explained.
The disability pension from the navy was for when he got shot in Iraq, he'd said. Since he was injured while on an assignment, he was still employed by them too. He was on a medical leave of absence while he recovered from his wounds, and he thought he might go to work for the local Navy base.
I don't know for sure how much he got a month, but I remember he'd once said that he was making over fifty thousand dollars a year. I think that was as much as my sisters and I together made before I turned fourteen and my monthly allowance went way up.
I'd gotten about two hundred before, and Janny told me I got ten times that now. I wondered why I got so much all of a sudden.
I decided to ask Janny later as I got up and got ready for the day.
After taking my shower, I got dressed and fixed my hair. Once I was done, I went and checked on uncle Dar. He was already dressed and ready to go eat, so I took him into the kitchen to fix us both breakfast.
While I was doing this, Ellen and Nancy came in. They were ready to go too, I saw.
Sandra and Shelly came in next, also ready to go. Since they were all up, I fixed us all some pancakes and eggs.
After we had finished, uncle Dar called Megan to see when she'd be over. She told him that she was already on the way and would be here in just a few minutes.
Since she was so close, we went out front to wait for her. She pulled in with her van a few minutes later.
We got uncle Dar loaded up and his chair in, then piled in ourselves. After getting sat down and belted in, Megan took off toward town.
The first thing we did was go to Shelly's house so she could ask about signing up for the Gymnastics classes. Megan and uncle Dar went in with her to talk to her parents, while the rest of us waited. When they came out Shelly was smiling so wide I thought her face would split open.
She helped uncle Dar in and then put his chair in back. This done, she jumped in with us and said, "My parents both said yes. I have to get good grades next year in school, but as long as I do I can take the lessons."
We all congratulated her and went to Sandra's house. Her parents were divorced now and she lived with her mother who worked as a business tax preparer for a local accounting firm.
Uncle Dar and Megan went in with her too, and were gone longer this time. When they came out Sandra was smiling too so I thought that she'd gotten permission. She helped uncle Dar into the van and put away his chair and jumped in with us.
We asked what her mom had said and she told us, "She said no at first, but uncle Dar offered to pay for the classes. She didn't want to do it then either but uncle Dar told her that he didn't mind as I'd be going with his daughters. He explained about the cousin twins and how he ended up adopting them."
"Then he said that since it would be therapeutic to be with their friends, he'd be pleased to pay for my lessons. He also said that all five of us would be going and he didn't feel right leaving one out. After that mom agreed on the condition that when she could afford to she'd pay him back."
"Uncle Dar told her that there was no need since I'd already paid for at least a years worth helping with helping him at home when she was there. He told her about how all of us helped him and that this was his gift to me.
Mom started crying then, and told me that I was to keep doing a good job and that I had to do good in school to or she'd take me out of the classes and off the team."
"I agreed, so now all of us can go together," she finished.
I leaned up to Uncle Dar and said, "Thank you Uncle Dar." The others also thanked him.
Uncle Dar said, "Don't worry about it. I meant what I told Sandra's mother. She helped me as much as the rest of you so this is pay back. I can't hire any of you legally since your too young, but I can do this and I can afford it."
I said, "You don't owe any of us, Uncle Dar. Friends help each other, a wise man told me once. Cost don't matter, he said. All that matters is that you help a friend the best you can when the friend needs you. You're a friend so you don't owe us anything. Besides, the Veterans Hospital pays us quite a bit for taking care of you."
"Sally," Uncle Dar said, "What the Vets hospital pays for is basic care. They don't pay for someone to take me to the mall with their friends. They don't pay for someone to give me two parties. They don't pay for someone to get on a step stool to get me a book that I can't reach, and they sure don't pay for smiles and hugs.
"I get all of that and more from all five of you every day," he continued. "I get the smiles and the hugs from each of you and you never get tired of helping me. You all take turns and you are all giving me your time every day. That is much more than the Vets hospital would ever pay for and you give it freely. This is a gift in return for all of that."
"Thank you Uncle Dar," I said.
Now that Sandra and Shelly both had permission, we went to the small private gym where I got my lessons. When we got there and helped Uncle Dar into his chair, Sandra grabbed it and said, "My turn today. He's giving me this for what little I've done so I'm going to do more to earn it."
I looked at the determination on her face. I understood how she felt and didn't argue with her. Neither did the others. We let Sandra push Uncle Dar into the building and went to my instructors office.
When we got there, he was doing some paper work. Looking up and seeing me, he smiled and asked, "So, are you back with us now?"
I nodded and handed him another copy of the letter from my doctor. He took it and read it then put it into a drawer in he desk and said, "Now what can I do for the rest of you?"
Uncle Dar said, "The other two blonds are my foster daughters. The two mismatched ones are friends. They'd all like to find out about signing up for instruction here with Sally. I'll be paying for three of them. What we need is the necessary paperwork for two of them to take home and I'll do my two now, and set up payments."
"Good," he said. "It's been slow here with my favorite pupil gone and most of the other students off for the summer. I can handle four new students OK even if they are a bit old to start. By the way, my name is Thomas Franks. Just call me Tom."
Uncle Dar held out his hand and said, "Eldarin DeShade, Dar to my friends."
They shook hands and Tommy, as us students called him, got a file out and pulled out some papers. He handed 2 pages each to Sandra and Shelly and said, "These are the applications and parental consent forms. Take them home and get them filled out and be here tomorrow at 9:00 A.M. and don't be late."
He handed some more to Uncle Dar and said, "Fill these out and give them back or send them in with the girls tomorrow. I've also included a fee schedule. I have to charge one month in advance and payment can be made by check if you wish. Since you're here with Sally, I'll take that for the 3 you are paying for."
"You all need physicals too," he continued. "Just a note from your doctor saying you're physically fit to participate in sports like gymnastics."
Sandra asked, "Will the one for our Cheerleader team work? We did that just over a month ago so we could join."
"That'll work, "Tommy said.
Uncle Dar nodded and began reading the papers he'd been given while Tommy chatted with us girls.
He asked the others about what kind of things they had done and was pleased when Sandra and Shelly told him about the dance instruction they'd both had. Sandra had given up the classes when her parents got divorced, but had kept up with her exercises and had worked with Shelly on what she'd learned to keep up with her.
They'd both taken ballet classes and tap dancing classes together and both were very limber.
Ellen and Nancy had never taken lessons like that but both had been on the track team in middle school and were in good shape too.
Tommy said, "Well I'm pleased. Most of my new students either haven't had any training or were out of shape. You four will do OK although you'll have to work hard at first. Gymnastics requires a lot of strength and stamina as well as being limber. I'll start you out with simple exercises at first and we'll build on that."
Ellen said, "Daddy Dar has already started teaching us some stretching exercises at home, and he works with us all the time.
"Oh?" asked Tommy. "What kind of exercises has he taught you?"
Nancy said, "Uncle Dar used to study karate and judo when he was younger and started teaching us too. He said, even if we don't ever use it we'll still learn things and get stronger and better coordinated. He also said that it would help us with this if we wanted to do it."
"Well he's right about that," said Tommy. "A lot of the exercises are similar and that will help you here. OK, we'll see what you can do tomorrow."
He looked at uncle Dar and asked, "Any questions?"
Uncle Dar said, "One. Can I do a direct deposit for payments?"
"Yes," said Tommy. "That works for me. I'll get you the form for that and you can fill it out and take it to your bank."
He got out another form and handed it to uncle Dar.
Uncle Dar said, "I'll have these done tomorrow and I'll give you a check for the first month then too. That gives me enough time to get the direct deposit started for next month since my bank is out of town and I have to fax it."
"I can do the fax here if you want," said Tommy. "I have a fax machine so all I need is a number and I'll get it sent."
"OK," said uncle Dar. "I'll have the rest of this done for you and bring it all in tomorrow. Do you mind if I stay during the lessons?"
"Oh that's no problem," said Tommy. "Several parents come in with their kids and I have some adult students too. Feel free to come in and watch or you can wait in the lobby."
Uncle Dar said, "Thank you. I'll do that then. See you tomorrow."
After saying good bye all around, we went back out to the van where Megan was waiting for us.
"All done?" she asked.
"Yup," said uncle Dar. All that's left is for the kids to get the paper work done and I'll do mine tonight. Now lets go see what I need to do to get my drivers license back and go find a rig for me."
We went to the drivers license place and Uncle Dar went in. He was in there for quite a while, but when he came out he was smiling.
When we got him back into the van and he said, "All done. I had to take the written exam and they did my license. Now all I need is something to drive and a bit of practice with it and insurance."
Megan said, "I know where you can get the insurance. I use it myself. They aren't the cheapest but they take care of you when you need it. I have full coverage for this beast, the bus and my car. I even get breakdown assistance from them as part of the policy."
Uncle Dar said, "That sounds good. Lets go there next and see what they say."
We went to Megan's insurance company, and she took him in while the rest of us waited in the van.
When they came out, Sandra got out of the van and helped Uncle Dar back in. He was smiling when he got in and said, "Being a vet can be helpful sometimes. Since I'm medically retired now, they gave me a good discount. I get even better rates than Megan."
"The bums," grumbled Megan. "I been with them for ten years, and they don't give me a break. This old fart walks in and gets ten percent off what I get now."
We all laughed at her at that. She glared at us then smiled and said, "Well at least you get something for your service."
"Yea," said uncle Dar. "A bunch of scars and bad memories and god awful food while I was in."
We laughed again at the comment.
"Well," said Megan, "Lets go find you some decent wheels attached to something drivable."
Pulling out, Megan headed for the freeway. When we got on, we headed north.
Megan said, "Since you want a large van like this thing, I'll take you to where I got it first. They have a large selection and some have wheelchair lifts pre installed."
"Sounds like a winner," said Uncle Dar. "The lift might be nice to have even after I get rid of this thing."
"I'll remember that," said Megan. "I'll put you to work hauling stuff for out of town games."
"Aren't all the games but home games out of town?" I asked.
"Yes, but don't tell the old fart that," said Megan.
I said, "OK, I won't. Which old fart do you mean?"
"The one with the lift on his van," said Megan.
We chuckled at that and Uncle Dar said, "Well I won't tell either, since I don't know an old fart with a lift on his van. When do I get to meet him?"
That got another laugh.
When we got to the south Everett exit, Megan turned onto it and headed for Broadway. We were chatting and laughing as she drove to a medium sized car lot that had a lot of vans and pulled off there.
Uncle Dar said, "Well you were right about the selection. I hope they have a full sized Chevy with a lift."
"Why not a Ford?" asked Megan.
"I just don't like em much," said Uncle Dar. "I've always had better luck with Chevy's and GMC's. Nothing wrong with a Ford, I guess but I go with Chevy first."
Megan said, "Well this Ford has over a hundred thousand miles and I've only had to do general maintenance on it. I'll stick with it."
"Like I said, I like Chevy's," said Uncle Dar. "If your comfortable in a Ford then drive it. I just never had good luck with them."
Sandra got Uncle Dar's chair out while we were talking, and she and I helped him into it. Sandra pushed the chair while we walked up to the office.
When we went in, Uncle Dar said, "Well I'll be. How you doing, Bobby? Talking care of my cousin?"
The man he was talking to jumped up and said, "Oh my god. They let you loose on the world again. I better call the nut farm and tell them where you're at."
He walked up to Uncle Dar and grabbed his hand and said, "What's it been? Ten years? I hope your going to be around for awhile this time. Trish would never forgive me if I didn't bring you over."
"You know this bum?" asked Megan.
Bobby said, "Well kind of. My father-in-law was his fathers uncle. I met him about twenty five years or so ago when I started dating my wife. He was staying with them for the summer while he was going to the local Community College for the summer. He was also the only one at our wedding wearing a military dress uniform."
"That must have been a site," said Megan. "A church full of Quakers and one man in uniform. I wish I could have seen it."
"You and your folks were invited," said Bobby. "I still wish my little angel could have been there."
"Mom was sick at the time," said Megan. "The cancer treatment wasn't working and she didn't have the strength. Dad and I just couldn't leave her alone so we stayed home. I hope you got my letter though."
"Yes we did," said Bobby. "Trish still has it in the wedding album. It's yellowed a lot since then, but she still takes it out to read now and then."
Megan sighed and said, "Well I'm glad of that. I really wanted to come but I just couldn't leave Mom."
"I understood that then and do now too," said Bobby. "We still missed our little angel but we knew why you weren't there."
Megan hugged him and said, "Thank you for that."
Bobby hugged her back then pushed her out to arms length and asked, "So why are you here now? That van giving you problems?"
"No," said Megan. "I brought you another victim today. That bum over there needs something like mine with a lift. He forgot to duck in Iraq and is being lazy while he sucks up the sympathy from those poor innocent girls over there."
Bobby laughed and said, "Well, I can't victimize him too much. He did have a sword at one time and was fairly good with it."
Uncle Dar said, "Still got it too. Got some other toys for you to drool at if you promise to where a bib when I show em to you."
"Oh yea?" said Bobby. "I'm going to have to find out where you live and maybe come over sometime and borrow the sword."
"Well you'll just have to fight my body guards here if you do," he said while gesturing at us girls. We giggled at that.
"If you go after Uncle Dar you have to go through us," I said. He may have been joking, and it may have been funny but I meant it too. The other girls nodded at that. If someone wanted to hurt our Uncle Dar, it would be a team effort.
Bobby looked at me for a second and said, "You really meant that. What's makes this bum so special to you?"
I said, "He saved my brother-in-laws life in Iraq and got shot twice doing it. When he got out of the V.A. hospital, we took him in to pay him back. While he was there I had a fall on the diving board of our pool and was knocked out. He wrecked his last chair to get into the pool and saved my life. He almost died from that. I love him for that."
Bobby looked at Uncle Dar and said, "Sounds like you have some stories to tell. When I get the chance, I'm tracking you down and getting them from you even if I have to turn the grandkids loose on you."
"You threatening me, Bobby?" asked Uncle Dar.
"Yes," he said.
"Well bring it on since I haven't met them anyway," Said Uncle Dar. "Oh, and bring that lovely wife of yours too. I want to see if I can talk her into dumping you for a real man. Besides, I haven't had her cooking in a lot of years."
Bobby laughed and said, "OK. Now to business. What are you looking for?"
Uncle Dar said, "Something like Megan drives. I need a lot of passenger room for these five and maybe a few others at times. A Chevy with a lift would be nice."
"You in that chair permanent?" asked Bobby.
"No," said Uncle Dar. "I still have a bit of healing to do on the leg but I should be able to burn it by September. I still want a lift though."
"OK, I can set you up with that and if you want to get rid of it later we can do a trade in," said Bobby. "Next question is new or used?"
"New," said Uncle Dar. "I don't want to fix someone else's problems."
"How much can you afford?" asked Bobby.
"About half the lot right now," said Uncle Dar. "I'm a bit short right now so you'll have to put the rest on layaway for a few months."
"Buy or lease?" asked Bobby.
"Buy," said Uncle Dar.
"Cash or finance?" asked Bobby.
"Cash with no trade in," said Uncle Dar.
"Alright, lets go see what we have," said Bobby.
He led us to the show room and said, "This is the best one I have right now," while pointing at a dark green Chevy.
"It's a three quarter ton 11 passenger with a lift on the side," he said. "There's enough room to get out of your chair and into the drivers seat and it has air conditioning all the way back for the passengers and reading lights too."
"It has an A.M. and F.M stereo with CD and cassette player with speakers on the sides in the middle and the back," he continued. "Automatic transmission and power steering are included of course."
"It has one modification that you might like," he said. "This one was a special order but the customer passed away before he could buy it." "It has four wheel drive and a dual transfer case with a hand clutch for the transfer stick. Grab the stick and squeeze the handle and push it down for low range."