That Summer of 45
Beelzebub, Beelzebub, You dirty ol' rat, Your power over us Is as dead as this cat. But before he could complete the 13th revolution, the moon was swallowed up by black clouds, a bolt of lightning struck the big dead oak overshadowing Baker's grave, and some winged creature swooped low and grabbed the cat. Tom vacated the scene. As he cleared the stone wall in a single bound, he saw, in the light afforded by a great flash of lightning, his five former companions down below, crossing the railroad in an all-out flight for home. Next day Gale talks Tom out of quitting and going for the final test - diving 30 feet from a limb of a water maple into the rain-swollen waters of the Ohio. Tom makes it, thanks to the heroics of his little dog, Chopper, and big brother, Flint. And Gale's prediction of adventure is right. From then until the time Japan surrenders, the Braves seldom experience a mundane day. Tom is left to wonder at the mystery of a young U.S. Marine who frequents the Victory Garden in his back yard, a garden the Marine had planted before going off to die as a member of the invasion force on Okinawa. Flint, six years older than Tom, graduates and joins the marines just in time to ship out on the ill-fated USS Indianapolis, which unknowingly carries the atomic bomb from San Francisco to Tinian in the Pacific islands. Their mother, fearing that her oldest son will have to invade Japan, dons overalls and goes to work making bomb casings in the steel mill. The Braves, seeking hidden treasure, are trapped in a cave-in of Devil's Den, but escape and embark on the greatest adventure of all - floating on a raft down that broad river to see the world before it's destroyed, as the Rev. Ottis Hackelbee predicted, by atomic bombs falling into the hands of dictators.