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FIVE ALIVE

By L. H. Hall


 

FIVE ALIVE

By L. H. Hall

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter 1 ... The Sea
Chapter 2 ... Aches and Pains
Chapter 3 ... The Cave
Chapter 4 ... Man on the Beach
Chapter 5 ... Fruit
Chapter 6 ... The Journal
Chapter 7 ... Aloe
Chapter 8 ... New Friends
Chapter 9 ... God's Christmas Tree
Chapter 10 ... Sunday School
Chapter 11 ... Hidden Treasure
Chapter 12 ... Swimming Pool
Chapter 13 ... The Dark Night
Chapter 14 ... Workaholic
Chapter 15 ... Christmas
Chapter 16 ... Goats
Chapter 17 ... Julie
Chapter 18 ... The Lookout
Chapter 19 ... Bats
Chapter 20 ... Making Plans
Chapter 21 ... Terraces
Chapter 22 ... Lake Four
Chapter 23 ... The Dolphins
Chapter 24 ... Unhappy Birthday
Chapter 25 ... Homecoming
Chapter 26 ... Disaster
Chapter 27 ... The Handyman
Chapter 28 ... Sarah
Chapter 29 ... The Baby
Chapter 30 ... Debbie
Chapter 31 ... Ridges and Ravines
Chapter 32 ... Growing Up
Chapter 33 ... Trapped
Chapter 34 ... The Big Day
Chapter 35 ... Surprise
Chapter 36 ... Deejay
Chapter 37 ... The Promise
Chapter 38 ... Discovered
Chapter 39 ... Sarah's Ultimatum
Chapter 40 ... Guests
Chapter 41 ... The Wedding

 

Chapter 17

Julie

 

"Friday, January 19," Sarah announced, as she marked off another date on the calendar. "Your birthday will finally be here tomorrow, Julie.  What do you want to do on your birthday?"

Julie had been anxiously awaiting her birthday.  It was not any fun being five.  She wanted to be six, so she would be big.  Almost every day since the first of the year, she had asked, "How many more days 'til my birthday?"

"I think we ought to have a holiday," I announced. "Birthdays are important.  All of our birthdays will be holidays.  We won't do any work we don't have to.  There won't be any school.  Whoever has the birthday gets to be the M.I.P.  That means the Most Important Person for the day.  Everyone else will try to make the M.I.P. as happy as possible.  That way we'll all have happy birthdays.  What would make you the happiest, Julie?"

"For Mommy and Daddy to come and get us."  Big tears formed in the corners of her eyes.

"I know, Julie.  We all want that more than anything else, but we can't give you that," I sympathized, and Sarah gave her a comforting hug.  "What's the next best thing that would make you happy?"

"I asked Jesus to let Mommy and Daddy be here for my birthday."

"I'm sure He will, if He can," I sighed, "but sometimes we ask for things that Jesus can't do."

"Jesus can do anything."  Debbie was obviously offended by my statement.

"You're right, Debbie," I agreed, "except that He gave us all the right to choose what we want to do.  He won't ever make us do something we don't want to do,"

"My mommy and daddy wanna come and get us!"  Julie exclaimed.

"They sure do!"  I agreed, but lots of times people want to do things, but they don't know how.  Your momma and daddy don't know how to find us.  They probably think we're all dead at the bottom of the ocean."

"Can't Jesus tell'em I'm alive on this island?"

"Yes, I'm sure He could, if they would listen to Him, but they don't listen.  People get so busy thinking about other things.  Maybe your parents are so sad their little girls are lost in the ocean; they don't even think about anything else.  They don't even hear Jesus when He tries to tell them that you're alive.  He can't make them listen if they choose not to.  Remember, they have a right to think and do what they want.  If they knew what Jesus wanted to tell them, they would listen, but they don't, so they're too busy to listen."  I also wanted to tell her that her parents might be dead, and would not be able to come, but that would upset her too much.

"What else do you want, Julie?"  Sarah asked.

"Tomorrow, I'm gonna be big.  Can I jump off the patio into the water, Timmy?"

"That's a big jump.  Won't you be afraid?"

"Not tomorrow!  I'll be BIG!"

"You won't be as big as Debbie or Sarah.  It's so high, they're still afraid."  I tried to discourage her.

"I won't be afraid tomorrow," she insisted.

"You swim well enough," I admitted.  "Do you think you can jump that far, and still land on your feet in the water?"

"Tomorrow I can.  I'll be big."

"If you turn over in the air, and land on your belly or back, it would hurt awful bad."

"I can land on my feet."

I looked at Sarah.  She was scowling.  I knew she did not like the idea.  "I'm afraid you might land on your belly and get the breath knocked out of you.  That hurts bad."

"But When you showed me how to swim, you said if I wasn't scared, I could."

"I did say that, didn't I?  I'm afraid you're going to have to get Sarah's permission.  She's the momma of this family."

"Can I? Sarah? Please?"

Sarah really scowled at me then.  She did not like to be put on the spot, but why should I be the villain?  I thought she could do it all right.  She could swim like a fish, hardly making a splash, and she often jumped from the diving rock three or four feet above the water.

"I'm afraid to jump from that high, and I'm afraid for you to do it too."  Sarah took up the argument.

"Timmy said I'm the Most Important Person on my birthday, and you're supposed to make me happy."

"You wouldn't be happy if you got the breath knocked out of you and couldn't breath, would you?"

"I won't get hurt!  I'll be big tomorrow!  Please?"

"I'll have to think about it.  I think you ought to wait until I'm big enough not to be afraid.  We still have a whole day until you're big, and won't be afraid."

"I wouldn't do it," Debbie put in.

"It ain't nothin'," Jamie bragged.  "Its fun.  You and Sarah are just scaredy cats."

"Jamie!" I reminded him.  "We don't tease people about being afraid.  They can't help it."

"Aw right."

"I'll help you with the dishes this morning."  I picked up some of the floppy handle skillets, we had used for plates, and some canteen cups.

"Are you sick?  Haven't you got some men's work to do?" Sarah asked.

"You help me. It won't hurt me to help with these for once." 

Sarah picked up the rest of the dishes, and followed me out to the edge of patio. "Look down there, Sarah." I nodded at the lake.  "It's a long way down, isn't it?"

"Yes!  It gives me the creeps just to think about jumping off."

"How do you think Julie will feel tomorrow when she looks down there before she jumps, even if she is big?"

"She'll be scared!  But, what if she isn't, and jumps?"

"When she gets through falling, she'll land in the water, right side up, hopefully.  What'll you bet, she won't go through with it."

"Thank you," she said.  "You've solved my problem."  She took the dishes and went into the cave.

I went to the goat pen.  I did not need to worry about being attacked any more.  I could play with the kids, without the nannies getting upset, but there was only one I could milk, and she did not like it.  Three others would let me come close enough, so they could smell my fingers, and allow me to scratch their noses.  The other one would still bolt, and run to the other side of the pen, when I approached.

That day was the same as usual.  Sassy, as I called her, a solid white goat with long curved horns, would not let me come near her.  I talked softly, and moved slowly.  I even tried to box her into a corner.  I could not get within three feet of her before she would bolt away to the other side of the pen.  I kept trying.  It would have been easier if she had needed something only I could give her.  I had thought about fixing another fence to cutoff the stream, but I had decided against it.  I would just keep working with them until they were all like Star.  Star was the first nanny we captured.  She was dark gray with small white spots all over her, and one white star in the middle of her forehead.  She was so tame; I could always pet her.  Sometimes she would come to me and nuzzle her nose against me to be petted.  All the kids wanted me to pet them.

Suddenly, I got an idea.  I got a vine and tied Sassy's baby, Frosty, close to the fence so Sassy would have to come to check on her.  At first, I thought I had made a big mistake.  Frosty did not like being tied, and when she started crying, Sassy came flying across the pen with her head lowered.  I jumped out of the way just in time.  The nanny crashed into the fence.  When I picked myself up off the ground, I saw that she had one horn hooked around a bamboo pole in the fence.  I was afraid she would tear the fence down.  I grabbed a big vine I had hanging on the fence, and tied it around her neck, and tied the other end to a nearby tree. Then, I twisted her head to free her horn.  She turned and ran to the other side of the tree until the vine stopped her.  I tried to approach her, but she moved away from me.  I continued.  She stayed as far away as possible.  Round and round the tree we went.  She did not realize that each step she took away from me, the shorter her vine got until she could not get away from  me any more. Her head and neck were tight against the tree. She could not move.

I began to pet and scratch her neck and back. She bucked and kicked and cried, but she could not get away.  I continued to caress her, talking softly to her all the time.  Finally, she calmed down and stopped shaking as I stroked her.  I was in no big hurry.  Several minutes after she settled down I worked my way to her bag.  She did not seem to offer too much objection as I stroked her bag and squeezed a little milk out of one of her points. 

I ran to get the milk pail I had brought into the pen with me.  When I got back, she had started to unwind, but wound herself up again as I approached, and started shaking again.  It only took a minute or two for her to relax this time.  I put the pail under her, and milked one point dry. The other I left for Frosty.  I did not untie her.  I decided to make friends with her one way or another.

I got as close as I could to the others.  I almost caught Stinker, a black and white nanny, that would almost let me catch her; then, she would take off.  That's why I named her Stinker.  Finally, I tied Star to the fence, milked her and left the pen.

Sarah had told Julie that she could jump off the cliff the next day if she was not scared.  That was about all Julie could talk about.  She would not be scared because she would be big.  I wanted to tell her to be quiet about it, but a little girl is six only once in her whole life.  She finally shut it off, and went to sleep.

The next morning I was cleaning the rabbit, and Sarah was starting the fire on the fire rock when the others got up.  They went, as usual, to take their baths.  We did not pay any attention to them until Jamie said, "C'mon let's go," and ran off the end of the patio.

Julie was right behind him, "Hellllll . . .!" SPLASH!

Sarah screamed, Sheba barked, and I followed as fast as I could, diving to the rescue.  Sheba and I hit the water about the same time.  When I came up, Sheba was barking angrily.  The two kids were swimming to the shallows, laughing.  "What do you kids think you are doing?"  I thundered.

"Sarah said I could, if I wasn't afraid, and I ain't scared.  It was scary coming down, but it was a fun kind of scary."

"I told her not to look down.  Just to run and jump like I do, and she wouldn't get scared again, cause if I looked down, I wouldn't never, never jump off that thing." Jamie admitted.

"We gotta make a new rule!"  My voice, still louder than usual from fear, provided the emphasis I wanted.  "Nobody goes swimming; unless, Sarah or I know about it first!  Okay?  You about scared me to death."

"Let's do it again, Jamie." Julie started for the bank.

"Oh!  No!  You're not!  Not now.  We're going to have breakfast before anybody does any more swimming."  I was mad!  I had been so frightened!  But I could not help laughing at their sneaky stunt.  They had planned it too.  They had so nonchalantly walked out onto the patio.  Then at the last minute, before we could stop them, they jumped in.

When we got back up to the patio, it was obvious that Sarah also realized a fast one had been pulled.  She was laughing, but got a stern expression on her face as she said.  "Happy Birthday Julie. You got your birthday wish. Now I can ground you from the pool for the rest of the day, and you too, Jamie."

"Huh!  Uh!  I'm the M.I.P.  Everybody has to make me happy.  I can't be happy if I'm grounded."

"You're the M.N.G., most naughty girl, of the day, trying to give poor Timmy and me heart attacks, and Sheba too.  You scared us to death."

"Huh uh." Jamie piped up. "If we'd scared you to death, you wouldn't be yelling at us."

"Don't you ever do anything like that again, James Edward Davis.  Scared or not, I'll jump in right after you.  I'll land on your back and hold you down 'til you drown."  She was trying to sound mad, but Jamie had tickled her funny bone.  She burst out laughing.

Poor little innocent Debbie was in on it too, but acted like she knew nothing about it until Jamie asked, "Why'd you chicken out, Debbie?"

"'Cause I was scared."

"What are you talking about?"  Sarah wondered.

"She was s'posed to jump in too," Julie tattled, "but she chickened out."

"Don't any of you ever do anything like that again!"  I ordered.  "Sarah, I had to make a new rule.  Nobody goes swimming unless you or I know about it first, and we say it's okay.  And nobody ever goes swimming alone, not even you or me."

"Those are good rules," Sarah assented.

"Julie, that no teasing rule still stands.  People can't help it if they're afraid.  Just because you jumped off the cliff, and your sisters are older than you, doesn't give you the right to tease them."

"I know, Timmy," Julie concurred.  "I won't tease 'em, but can I keep jumpin'?"

I looked at Sarah.  She seemed resigned to it.  She nodded, but did not seem too happy about it.  "I guess so, as long as you are careful, and don't get hurt.  Now let's get back to breakfast."

"What else do you want to do today, Julie?"  I asked at breakfast.

"I wanna jump in the lake some more."

"Okay, but what else do you want to do?"

"Can we play with the baby goats?"

"I don't know about that.  The mother goats know me. They don't care if I play with them, but I don't know about you.  They don't know you.  We'll see."

"Can the puppies go swimming with us?"

"Sure, I don't see why not, if they want to, but we don't want to make them afraid of the water.  We'll each take one in at a time, and let him swim back to the bank."

"How do we teach puppies to swim?"  Julie asked.

"Puppies automatically know how, but my dad said they get scared if they get water in their faces before they learn to like swimming.  We have to be very careful.  We'll only take each puppy in three times.  Then we can call them.  If they want to come in, that's fine, but if they don't, we'll wait until the next day to take them in again."

After breakfast Jamie and I each got a club, and went into the goat pen.  It was the first time anyone had been in the goat pen with the goats but me.  The kids came running to us as they always did.  I stood guard with my club while Jamie knelt down and started playing with them.  Some of the nannies looked at us, but none of them seemed to be alarmed or called their kids away, except Sassy.  Still tied up,  she could not get to us, but Frosty ran to her.  I got Frosty, and told Jamie to hold her for a few minutes until Sassy quieted down.

When we had been in the pen ten or fifteen minutes, I let Julie come in and play with the kids.  Jamie and I stood guard.  None of the mothers seemed to care.  The kids loved having someone else to play with.  A few minutes later Sarah and Debbie came in together.  Sarah also brought a club with her, but she did not need it.  Before long the goat kids were hopping and jumping around while the children were running around playing with them.  Still Sarah and I stayed between the nannies and the children.

A half hour or so later, I went over to Sassy and held out my hand.  She did not try to get away.  I scratched her nose and patted her on the neck.  She even seemed friendly, rubbing the side of her face against me.  I worked my way back toward her bag, and pretended that I was going to milk her.  She did not protest.  She stepped aside a little, but when I persisted, she let me squeeze a little milk onto the ground.

"I think this one likes me."  Sarah announced.

I looked up.  She had her arms around Stinker's neck.  "That's Stinker!  How did you catch her?"

"I just held out my hand, and walked right up to her." 

"She has never let me catch her.  I can almost get to where I can grab her. Then she runs off.  That's why I named her Stinker.  'Cause she's a big stinker."  I went over and scratched her nose, but as soon as I tried to get closer, she ran off.

Sarah ran after her, and walked right up to her again. "She's my goat."

"You can milk her then.  See if she'll let you rub her bag."

Sarah rubbed her bag.  She did not even move.

"See if she will let you squeeze some milk out."

"How?"

"The milk comes out of those points.  Squeeze right above them."

She squeezed. Nothing came out, but stinker did not seem to mind.  Sarah squeezed again, and again.  Finally, she got the right action, and a stream of milk squirted out onto the ground.  "I got some!"  She squealed gleefully.

"Don't waste it.  Now we've got three goats to milk"

Just then, one of the kids bleated, and Star lowered her head as if she would attack Debbie.  I jumped between them and spoke to Star with my club ready.  The kid ran to her, and Star settled down.  "What happened, Debbie?"

"I was playing with her, and I tripped and fell on her."

"You have to be careful."

"I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to hurt her."

"I know you didn't, but Star is still pretty wild.  She doesn't know you didn't mean to.  C'mon over.  I'll introduce you.  Let's see if she will accept your apology."

I went to Star first.  She allowed Debbie to pet her, and began to rub her head against Debbie's stomach.

"I got me one too," Jamie claimed.

He was petting Tina, the smallest of the nannies.  She was almost solid black with a few brown markings.  "Her name is Tina because she is the smallest.  Remember Tina Jergens? She told me that Tina means tiny; so, I named the littlest nanny, Tina."

"What's this one's name?"  Julie asked. She was petting Nanny, a white goat with black spots, or a black goat with white spots.  It was hard to tell for sure.

"I just call her Nanny, which means 'Momma goat.' How did you catch her."

"I just held out my hand and she comed to me."

"I've been trying to catch these goats for two weeks and haven't been able to catch any of them except Star, until Sassy got caught in the fence yesterday, and I tied her up.  You kids come in here and walk right up to them.  I don't understand it."

"Maybe we weren't trying so hard."  Sarah alleged.  "We just let them come to us."

"Well, hang onto them.  I'll get the milk bucket, and see how friendly they are."

I tied each of them to a tree, and milked them all, except Stinker. 

She would not hold still and quit kicking until Sarah tried.  Then she stood just as quiet and still as anyone could ask her to.  It seemed to take Sarah a long time because she had trouble getting the milk to come, but she finally got all the milk out of one side.

Later Sarah was horror struck, as she and I stood at the edge of the patio, and watched her little sister.  Julie was in perfect control of her body, sailing, straight as a board, feet first, through the air into the lake twenty feet below, hardly making a splash.  It was only a few seconds, but it seemed like hours before the brown head bobbed the surface, and she began swimming toward the shallows.

"I would never do that!"  Sarah shuddered.

"You ought to try it.  It's fun."  I pretended to try to push her off.

"You better not!!!"  She screamed. as she swung around and hit me on the chest.

"Push her in," Jamie had apparently he had seen the gesture.

"You better not!!!"  She ran, screaming, toward the cave. "You're breaking your own rule about teasing!"

"I wasn't teasing you about being scared.  I was just playing with you.  Don'tcha wanna have a little bit of fun?"

"Not that kinda fun!"

"Don't you know I wouldn't push you in for a million dollars?"

"I'll bet you would too."

"No I wouldn't.  A million dollars wouldn't do me any good, here.  Besides, you might not land right, and get hurt.  C'mon lets go swimming.  I'll meet you down there."

Sarah and Debbie called the puppies down the path.  The rest of us met them at the bank.  We each picked up a pup, and carried it a few feet from shore.  Rascal, Jamie's second puppy, did not like being left behind.  She whined a couple of times and followed us.  She swam out several feet, and then started, back to shore.  When Jamie saw her and called her, she turned around again and swam to him.  The other two pups did not like being left either, but were not brave enough to come into the deep water.

As we carefully eased the pups into the water, I reminded them. "Be careful.  Don't get water in their faces."

"Mine started swimming already, and she ain't even all the way in the water yet," Debbie squealed gleefully.

"Mine too," Julie giggled.

"Just leave them alone, and let them swim where they want to," I instructed.

The puppies swam around a little and headed for the bank.  Debbie started after hers.  "Get one that hasn't been in yet," I advised.  "Then, let them alone for a while.  We'll see if they will come back when we call them."  After the first swim, Sheba nudged some of them into the water, when we called them.  Most of the time, however, Sheba lay on the bank watching us.  Only Bruno, Buster, and Cuddles had to be carried back into the water for a second lesson, and only Buster needed a third.  The others seemed to be tireless swimmers, especially Rascal, the runt of the litter.

Besides playing with the puppies, and diving off the diving rock, Julie, Jamie, and I made more than a few trips to sail off the cliff.  Sheba barked excitedly the first few times Julie jumped, and swam to meet her to make sure she was all right, but eventually she settled down and just watched for any trouble.

The sun was already beginning to tilt to the west when Sarah looked at the sky.  "It's time for lunch."

"Is it still kinda scary, falling into the water, Julie?" I queried.

"Yeah, but it ain't as scary as it was this morning."

"I wish I could do it,"  Debbie sighed.

"If Julie can, I guess you can too."  Sarah gave her permission.

"But that's a long way down.  I'm scared."

"I know," Sarah nodded.  "I'm scared too."

"Don'tcha wish you wasn't?"  Julie asked.

"Yeah," Sarah admitted.  "It looks fun."

"You'll never know what your missing, until you try it," Jamie asserted.

"You really ought to try it.  You can't get hurt, if you land right."  I agreed.

"If I land right!  What happens if I don't land right?" Sarah wanted to know.

"It stings a little, like you got slapped real hard."

"That's not what you told Julie."

"I was trying to talk her out of it."

"Well, I'm not going to do it!  And that's final!"

"I'm tired."  Julie flopped onto the bed, when we got to the cave.

"You'll get the bed all wet, Julie," Sarah told her.

"Mmmm." Julie was already asleep.

"She's had a full morning," I noted.  "The bed will dry by bedtime.  Let her sleep."

"I guess she can eat when she wakes up."  Sarah nodded. "We'll go ahead and eat."

I was on the patio after lunch, putting some wood on the fire when Sarah called me. "Timmy,  Timmy, come here.  Come quickly!"

"What's the matter?"  I ran into the cave.

"Listen!"  Sarah was laughing with tears running down her cheeks.  "It sounds like Julie got her wish after all."

"What do you mean?"

"Listen!"

"Bye Mommy.  Bye Daddy. I'll be good, but I wanna go with you!"  Julie was crying in her sleep.  "I need you, Mommy!" 

That was all I heard.  Julie continued to cry in her sleep for several minutes.  We all sat around her, and Sarah stroked her back soothingly.  With tears running down her face, Sarah whispered, "She was giggling and laughing in her sleep for a couple minutes.  Then, all of a sudden, she started crying, 'We're going too, aren't we?'  Then, after a few seconds, she said, 'I don't wanna stay here.'  That's when I called you.  She was dreaming about Momma and Daddy."

"I do that sometimes, and it makes me sad when I wake up," Debbie admitted.  "She's gonna be real sad when she wakes up."

"She asked Jesus to let them come today," Sarah sighed.  "Maybe this is the way Jesus answered her Prayer."

"Apparently they left again in the dream, so she won't be expecting them to be here when she wakes."  I was thankful for that.

"Let's hope not." Sarah continued to stroke the sleeping girl.

Julie continued to sob.  We never left her, nor tried to awaken her.  We all wanted to be there for her when it was over.  After several minutes she awoke, and looked at us with a puzzled expression on her face.

Then, she looked at Sarah and said, "Mommy and Daddy are okay.  They came to tell me Happy Birthday.  They said they love you and Debbie too.  I thought they came to get us, but they said they couldn't take us right now.  She said Jesus needs us to be here for a while, and for me to be a good girl.  They said I hadda do what you and Timmy tell me to, 'cause you gotta take care of me.  Somebody's gonna find us, but it might be a long time.  We might be almost growed up, but when they find us, they'll still love us, and be waiting for us.  Mommy said we was gonna have a baby brother or sister.  I wanted to go with them, but they said I couldn't, and neither could you 'til we was found.  That made me cry.  They was crying, too, because we couldn't go.  They gave me a big hug, and kissed me good-by.  Then Daddy told me to be a really good girl again, before they hadda go.  They said you and Timmy would take good care of me.  They want us to be happy here 'til somebody finds us.  I knew Jesus would make'em come today."

"It was a nice dream." Sarah wiped the tears from her own face.  "I'm glad you got to see Momma and Daddy on your birthday."

"It wasn't a dream!  They was really here!"  She would not accept anything else.  "And Mommy's gonna have a baby.  You'll see.  She told me she is."

"That's good!  I wonder what they'll name it?"  Sarah pondered.

"They don't know yet, 'cause they don't know if it's a boy or a girl.  I hope it's a boy.  I'm gonna call him Billy."

"What if it's a girl?"  Debbie queried.

"I want it to be a boy.  They already had three girls. They need a boy, now, and I'm gonna pretend it's a boy named Billy, 'til I find out."

"We'll all pretend we're gonna have a baby brother named Billy," Sarah assented.  "You spent so much time talking to Momma and Daddy, you missed lunch.  Are you hungry?"

Uh!  Huh!  I'm awful hungry.  All my birthday wishes came true, 'cept I didn't getta go home."

"I wish my folks would come and see me on my birthday." Jamie turned, trying to hide his tears.

"Me too!" we all agreed.

"What are we going to do the rest of the day, Julie?"  I queried.

"Let's go out where the wild goats are, and get some fruit, mangoes and papayas and bananas, and I'd like to find some pineapples, but the wild goats prob'ly eat those before they get big enough."

"Maybe there's some at the orange grove.  The goats don't go over there."  I suggested.

"We could use some breadfruit, and air potatoes from down there anyway."  Sarah reported.

"Can we go both places, Timmy?"  Julie pleaded.

"If you don't get too tired."

"I won't."

"Yeah, you don't have to carry that heavy bag either." Jamie grumbled.

We had tied the neck hole of one of the ponchos shut, and tied  the bottom to two long bamboo poles.  It made a large sack to carry fruit and vegies in.  I carried one end of each pole on my shoulders, and Sarah and Jamie each carried the other end of one of the poles.  Sometimes we got such a large load; we would have to empty some out before we got all the way home.

"How would you like to take the puppies?"  I asked.

"Could we?"  Debbie chimed in, clapping her hands and jumping up and down.

"No way!"  Jamie exclaimed.  "They'd get under our feet, and trip us on the way back with a load of fruit."

Jamie was outvoted four to one.  The puppies went.

"The pups are big enough now.  We ought to start taking them wherever we go.  Whenever one of us goes some place, his or her dogs need to go along, even to the jungle bathroom.  That way when they get a little older, we'll be able to go in five separate directions, and have at least one dog to protect us.  They have to be trained to do that. "

"Sheba is getting pretty old.  She has to be at least nine or ten, and that's old for a dog.  She might live ten more years, but she will probably start acting tired and lazy soon.  Besides, there are lots of wild dogs out there.  She ran them off once, but she is only one dog.   She might not be able to do it again." 

Jamie had been right.  The pups were a nuisance.  They did not get underfoot so much, but we had to keep calling and yelling at them.  They nearly gave Sheba a nervous breakdown.  They explored everything.  They thought it was great fun to pester the goat kids, until they got rolled over a few times by the angry nannies.  After that they stayed clear of the goats.

We made it back to the cave in time to rest a little, and still go to the orange grove.

"It's too bad we don't have some sugar," Sarah commented as we passed a tree loaded with big yellow lemons. "Some lemonade would surely taste good on hot afternoons."

"Lemonade would taste good anytime," Jamie agreed.

"We might find some sugar cane, if we keep our eyes open for it," I alleged.  "I've seen it growing, but I don't know for sure if I would recognize it.  It looks a little like bamboo, but it's kinda redish, when it's ripe.  I think."

"We might also find a beehive," Sarah added.

"If we do," Jamie worried, "you get to go after the honey, but let me know first so I can go to the other side of the island."

"You aren't afraid of a few little ole bees, are you?" Debbie chided.

"Yep, and you can't tease me about it neither."  Jamie admitted.  "'Sides, I'll bet you're scared of'em too."

"I didn't say I wasn't, but I'm a girl.  Boys aren't s'posed to be scared of anything."

"It's stupid not to be scareda bees."

"If you find a beehive, we'll figure out a way of getting the honey," I assured them,+++ "one way or another."

"I've seen some bees, but I don't know if they're the kind that make honey," Sarah reported.  "Maybe it's too hot for honey.  It might be all runny and run out of the hive."

"I don't know, but I'd sure like to have some, and some bread and peanut butter to go with it.  I dreamed of my favorite sandwich.

A hundred feet, or so, before we got back to the cave from the orange grove, Sheba barked two or three times, and the pups ran ahead to the patio.  Then, she looked at me, barked twice, and disappeared into one of those hidden trails just big enough for her. More work, I thought. At least she didn't take off toward the goats.

Back at the cave we carefully made our way back past the milk in the stream and stacked the fruit in separate piles on the big shelf in the cool room.  Sarah wanted it that way; so, she could feel her way, and get what she wanted easily without a fire stick.

After supper we went back to the lake until dusk.  Julie had, had a full, beautiful birthday.  It was one of those rare days, when there had not been a single cloud in the sky to drop its moisture on the island.

 

 

 

 

Copyright 1995

By

Leonard H. Hall, Sr.

 

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