She adores her grandmother, but Grandma will be at work most of the time, leaving Sam with the Colonel, her prickly grandfather. Sam's relationship with him is shaky at best, and now that the Colonel has had to retire from his career as a military pilot, he is harder than ever to get along with. Sam soon finds that her grandfather's behavior is even stranger than she expected. He keeps disappearing into the woods for long stretches of time and won't let Sam go into the barn. Obviously the Colonel is hiding a big secret, and Sam is eager to solve the mystery. Reluctantly, she accepts help from Billy Burnham, a classmate she can't decide if she likes or hates. Together, they discover the Colonel's secret. Will Sam let the cat out of the bag and ruin her grandfather's plans? Or will her grandfather relent and let his granddaughter help him finish what he's started?