Ralph reached for his welding hood. “A lot of folks thought he was, but he loaded bombs.”
“He was a pilot, Ralph! Everybody knows that!”
“He was in North Africa with Doolittle. I was in North Africa with Patton. I know what Ed Cornwell did during the war.”
Ralph pulled his helmet down—my cue to leave.
John Dugan, who knew everything about wood, ran the lumber yard. He was a dour old guy, but tolerant. I played baseball with his kid, Tommy, who had a big butt and could hit a half a mile. I found out from Tommy that his dad was helping Cornwell with his airplane. I had to get in on that.
We stood under the overhang, watching the construction. Old John and Ed were gluing the wing spars. It was a big operation.
“Where’s the propeller?” I asked.
Ed, a muscular blond who looked like Joe Palooka, glowered at me. “That’s none of your affair, Squee,” he snapped. Apparently he took me for one of his skeptics.
“Okay. I was just asking.”
Old John explained. “Ed’s whittling it out himself.”