ow, AS OUR Organization of Youth is rapidly growing up, a young crowd, too young to join it at first, is coming up; imbibing its why-not-do-it-now ? spirit. So, as Gadsby stood in front of that big Municipal Auditorium (which that group, you know, had had built), Marian Hopkins, a small girl, in passing by, saw him, and said
I think Branton Hills ought to buy a balloon.
Balloon? Balloon? What would this city do with a balloon? Put a string on it so you could run around with it ?
No, not that kind of a balloon, but that big, zooming kind that sails way up high, with a man in it.
Oh! Ha, ha! You think an aircraft is a balloon! But what wouldAha! An airport ?
Uh-huh ; but I didnt know how to say it.
It cracky! said His Honor. I thought this town was about through improving. But an airport would add a bit to it; now wouldnt it ?
Marian had a most profound opinion that it would; (if profound opinions grow in such small kids!) so both took a walk to City Hall to hunt up a Councilman or two. Finding four in a Council room, Gadsby said
Youth, or, I should say, childhood, has just shown that Branton Hills is shy on a most important acquisition, and Old Bill Simpkins just had to blurt out: And, naturally, it calls for cash! CASH!
CASH! CASH!! What will this town amount to if it blows in dollars so fast ?
And, said Gadsby, what will it amount to, if it dont ?
That put a gag on Old Bill. Councilman Banks, though, was curious to know about Marians proposition, saying: It is probably a plan for buying Christmas toys for all Branton Hills kids.
But tiny Marian, with a vigorous stamp of a tiny foot, swung right back with: NO, SIR!! Santa Claus will bring us our gifts! But I thought of having awhat did you call it, Mayor Gadsby?
This child thinks Branton Hills should build an airport, and I think so, too. If our inhabitants, such as this tot, can think up such things, all adults should pack up, and vanish from municipal affairs. All right, Marian; our City Council, your City Council, my young patriot, will look into this airport plan for you.
So, as on similar occasions months ago, word that land was again cropping up in Gadsbys mind, brought out a flood of landlords with vacant lots, all looking forward to disposing of a dump worth two dollars and a half, for fifty thousand. Now an airport must occupy a vast lot of land, so cannot stand right in a Citys shopping district; but finally a big tract was bought, and right in back of tiny Marians back yard! Instantly, City Hall was full of applicants for flying Branton Hills first aircraft. To Gadsbys joy, amongst that bunch was Harold Thompson, an old Organization lad, who was known around town as a chap who could do about anything calling for brains. As an airport is not laid out in a day, Harold got busy with paid aviators and soon was piloting a craft without aid; and not only Branton Hills folks, but old aviators, saw in Harold, a bird-man of no small ability. And so tiny Marians vision was a fact; just as big girl Lucys Zoo; and, as with all big City affairs, an Inauguration should start it off. Now, on all such affairs you always find a visitor of honor; and on this grand day Gadsby couldnt think of anybody for that important post but Marian. And, as it would occur in August, any day would do, as that is a school vacation month.
And what a mob stood, or sat, on that big airport, waiting for a signal from young Marian which would start Harold aloft, on Branton Hills initial flight! Almost all brought a lunch and camp-stools or folding chairs; and, as it was a hot day, thousands of gay parasols, and an array of bright clothing on our school-girls, had that big lot looking as brilliant as a florists window at Christmas.
Our young visitor of honor was all agog with joy; and, I think, possibly a touch of vanity; for what child wouldnt thrill with thousands watching? But though Marian had always had good clothing, coming from a family who could afford it, no tot, in all history, had so glorious an outfit as that which about all Branton Hills population saw on that platform, amidst flags, bunting and our big Municipal Band. As an airship is a simulation of a bird; and as a bird, to a child, is not far from a fairy, Marian had gaudy fairy wings, a radiant cloak of gold, a sparkling gown all aglow with twinkling stars, and a long glass wand, with a star at its top. As soon as all was in condition Gadsby told Marian to stand up. This brought that vast crowd up, also; and Gadsby said:-
Now hold your wand way up high, and swing it, to signal Harold to start.
Up shot a tiny arm; and Harold, watching from his cockpit, sang out:-
A vigorous twist of his ships gigantic fan, a shout, a roar, a whizz, a mighty cloud of dust, and amid a tornado of clapping, shouts, and band music, Branton Hills was put on aviations map. Way, way up, so far as to look as small as a toy, Harold put on a show of banking, rolling and diving, which told Gadsby that, still again, had Branton Hills found profit in what its Organization of Youth, and, now, its small kids, had to say about improving a town.
During that box-lunch picnic, many of our big girls brought so much food to Marian that Dad and Ma had to stand guard against tummy pains. And what a glorious, jolly occasion that picnic was! Gay band music, songs, dancing, oratory; and a grand all-round howdy amongst old inhabitants and arriving tourists soon was transforming that big crowd into a happy group, such as it is hard to find, today, in any big city: cold, distant, and with no thought by its politicians for anybody in it; and Gadsby found, around that big airport, many a man, woman and child who was as proud of him as was his own family.