"Phil, Is your airstrip mowed?"
The radio crackled to life and Dad raised an eyebrow. They hadn't ordered any supplies, and they weren't expecting a mail run this week. Was the plane in trouble? Why would they need to land here?
The plane. Riding in it was one of Cody's favorite things about growing up in the Bolivian jungle. The last time he'd seen it was days ago, after he'd hugged mom goodbye and forlornly watched it carry her away down the airstrip. Grandpa was dying.
Mom had taken the long trip back to the U.S. to be with family during the funeral. She would be gone for several weeks. Dad, Cody and Haley were sticking it out in the tribe til she returned. Today, Cody was trying not to think about it. He'd finished school early that morning so he could spend the rest of the day losing himself amidst the trees, vines and jungle trails that were his playground. But now, he was drawn back inside, curious at this unexpected radio transmission.
"Yes," Dad answered over hand-held mic, satisfied with his work, as he leaned back to scan the 2000 foot clearing through the window, "Everything ok, Tony?"
"Yep, just heard you guys were all alone out there, and I'm over in your area making a run for the Yura tribe anyway. Mind if I drop by?"
"Oh, we'd love that!" Dad grinned. This would be just what the doctor ordered. A visit from the missionary pilot was a much-yearned for event to break up the long days in the village, especially for his aviation-enamored son.
"Cody! Haley! Plane's coming!"
"Is Mom home??"
"Not this time, but we get to visit with Mr. Tony, let's go watch him land!"
Cody and Haley bolted toward the airstrip, laughing and straining their eyes to pick up the familiar glint of sunlight off the wings of the Cessna 206.
But to Cody, even the rapture with which he watched the plane's descent didn't match what happened next.
The sneaky missionary pilot stepped out of the bush plane into the screeching, rustling din of the Bolivian Rainforest with a glint of mischief in his eyes, and unloaded his mystery cargo:
Two McDonald's Happy Meals.