by L. H. Hall
about Mom and Dad. They had come to the island with our new sister
and little brother. I showed them around our beautiful home. I
showed them the cave, taking them through all the rooms, and brought
them to this beautiful valley. I begged them to stay and live here
because I did not want to leave, but Dad said he was God's servant.
He had work to do in the Philippines. They could not stay, as
beautiful as the place was, and as much as he would like to. I did
not want to leave so we said good-by, and they sailed out to sea,
promising to return.
I knew how
Julie felt, about her dream when I awakened. The last of the stars
in the ribbon were disappearing in the morning light. I glanced at
the fire; there were still plenty of red coals. I lay there alone.
The others seemed miles away as I remembered every word that was
said, and every move we had made in the dream. Had Mom and Dad
truly been here? I wondered. I felt like they were so close to
me. I could feel my mother's arms around me, and her kisses on my
face when she greeted me, so glad that they had found us. I
remembered the pain in her eyes when I said I did not want to leave
and be separated from Sarah and the girls. I told them that we were
a family, that should not be separated. I could see that it hurt
her, but she and Dad understood. I was not their little boy
anymore. I had a family of my own. Come back soon! I had
called to them as they waved good-by, drifting out to sea. Come
back soon! I love you all!
you!" I said aloud.
you say?" Sarah asked sleepily. "Did you call me?"
"No, I was
just thinking about my folks, and my thoughts came out of my
mouth." I choked back the tears.
"A little, I
guess. Don't wake up the others. I don't want them to see me."
were hardly out of my mouth before Sarah was lying beside me, her
arms around me, like the little mother she was, comforting me.
"It's all right for you to cry. I understand. You're not too big
to cry, anymore than I am. I miss my folks too." We lay in each
other's arms until we were both cried out, and no more tears would
come. The others never moved; never knew a thing.
for a swim," I whispered. I need to wash the tears from my face
before the others see me."
raced me to the lake.
splashing of the water soon awakened the others who joined us. I
didn't really mind. The tears were washed away, and my mind was on
happier things. However, it had been more fun before they joined
The swim did
not last long before we turned our attention to our stomachs. I
built the fire, and Sarah got the second ham, still on the spit,
from the night before; and hung it over the fire on a makeshift
rack, I had built.
what happened to the orphaned kid." I scanned the thinning goat
herd. It looked like hundreds of them were fighting to get through
the opening to the valley at the same time.
is!" Debbie called, pointing to the black and tan nanny with a
white blaze on her nose. "She's eating her breakfast."
Jesus!" Sarah spoke for all of us.
was satisfied. "Jesus even takes care of the little animals when we
ask Him to. I wonder, if after all this, Sheba will drop her on the
patio for our supper some evening during the next few months."
not! I couldn't eat her!" Julie exclaimed.
wouldn't know it was the same one. There are so many that look
breakfast over, we cleared the camp; poured some water on the fire;
and made our way slowly down the terraces; stopping to check each
lake for swimming. The third lake was the largest. It went all the
way to the cliffs on the West, but it was not good for swimming. It
was too shallow. It did not even get knee deep until we were a
hundred yards from the bank; then, suddenly, it had no bottom. It
did have lots of fish. In the shallows we could hardly take a step
without scaring away a school of minnows, and if we stopped for a
few seconds, they nibbled at our toes. In the deep I saw some
almost as big as Julie. They were so large; I was afraid they might
attack me. I got out of there, and did not go back in. All the
lakes had lots of fish, but not as many as that one. With its wide
shallows, it was a good breeding ground.
We found an
excellent place to camp near the lower end of the fourth lake, and
got there just in time. The sun looked down into the valley before
we had the kindling ready, but we had plenty of time to build the
fire. A few minutes later it was gone again.
was not quite as pretty from this vantage point looking up the
terraces; there was not much to look at but rock ledges and
waterfalls. Although spectacular, they did not match the awesome
beauty of the higher elevation. Looking down the valley, the view
was similar to the one above, just not as much of it. It was still
impossible to see more than a small portion of the last lake through
the thick undergrowth. The lakes below appeared generally smaller
than the one we were at. Most of the goats had disappeared, so the
grass was higher.
We cut and
pulled a lot of grass to put under our bed to make it softer.
Sarah got an idea. She began to twist and knot the root ends of the
long grass. After just a few minutes she exclaimed, delightfully,
"We can! We can! I'm Sure we can!"
what?" I asked as we all gathered around her.
sure with a little practice, we can make grass skirts. It won't be
long till we will need something else to wear, and we can make grass
gonna wear no skirt!" Jamie exploded
then, unless you can come up with a better idea." Sara tied another
spear of grass into the garment. 'These might not help much, but
they'll give us some privacy."
with what I've got for the time being." I, like Jamie, was not
impressed with wearing skirts. "These will last for a while. I am
going to check out the lake."
"I was only
thinking about the future." Sarah sounded disappointed that we
weren't as excited about it as she was. "Us girls will wear'em even
if you won't."
The lake was
wonderful for swimming. There was a broad area where water came to
between my hips and waist, just right for playing, water fights and
such, and deep enough to swim in if we wanted, and there was deeper
water for underwater swimming. A waterfall, similar to the one at
the patio, fell about ten feet from the lake above over a straight
cliff. I checked the depth under the waterfall. It was deep and
there was no outcropping of rocks to get hurt on.
"We can dive
off the cliff." I swam back to the shallows.
look what we found." Sarah disappeared from view at the lower end
of the lake.
I ran to
where she had vanished, to find a natural water slide about two and
a half feet wide, nearly a foot deep, and at least fifty feet long.
"What's it like at the bottom in the water?" I watched them climb
glass 'til the bottom drops away." Jamie answered. "I checked it
before I let 'em slide down. I ain't tried it yet."
on. It looks like fun."
Sarah started back up the hill. "The water pushes ya real fast."
I jumped in,
and down I went. It was a real ride. The return trip was a fairly
hard climb, but it was worth the free ride. After about three
trips, I jumped into the lake and swam to the slide letting the
current take me over head first. That was even more fun. Before
long, we were all going down that way. We must have played for over
an hour, before Julie reminded us we were hungry.
We had just
finished the venison when a cloud rolled over and the afternoon rain
began. The bedding was in one poncho. I threw two more over the
grass we had cut. The three younger kids shared one, and Sarah and
I shared the last one for about two seconds.
wet!" She yelled when I jumped under the poncho. She grabbed me in
the side, and started tickling. I doubled up laughing. I tried to
get away, even out into the rain, but I was trapped by the poncho.
expect? Its raining! I've been covering up the bed."
what you did to me that time in the cave? Now, it's my turn," She
that coming." I tried to remember why I had tickled her.
more than you've got this coming."
got out of the poncho. I grabbed it, pulling it off her, and ran up
the valley with her chasing me. The others, wrapped in their nice
dry poncho, were watching us, cheering Sarah on. I slipped and
fell, and a second later, she was sitting astride me beating me on
the chest one minute and tickling me the next. She had forgotten
that her own sides were vulnerable. I started doing some tickling.
That stopped the fight. She jumped up and ran off, out of reach. I
started after her, but I slipped again, and gave up. "You got me
this time, but pay backs are fun."
"That was a
pay back! Now we're even."
"No! It was
a payback when I tickled you."
What did I do to you?"
remember, but you did something, and I tickled you to get even."
count, if you can't remember."
"See, I knew
you would agree with me." Sarah laughed. "You didn't think I was
dumb enough to fall for that a second time, did you?"
it was worth a try. I'll still get you."
and see," I warned her. "We're all wet. We might as well go
swimming until the rain stops."
promised, and we raced to see who could go down the water slide
first. "It's stupid to be afraid of a little rain, and then go
swimming as soon as it stops"
followed. It was fun swimming in the rain, but it did not last long
enough. After a half hour, or so, the cloud passed over. "Come on.
The rain has stopped; lets look around." I started toward the
jungle to see what I could find.
exclaimed, running to the fire. "I forgot about the fire! Lets
hope we still have one." It was not very healthy, but I was able to
blow a few coals to life. If we could find some dry leaves and
twigs, we'd be all right. I threw the ponchos off the grass mat,
and sifted through the cut grass, hoping to find just a couple dry
twigs. "I need some dry twigs and leaves! Quickly! Or the fire
will go out," I called. The three younger children were up on the
hill in the edge of the jungle, and Sarah was watching the waterfall
at the head of the lake. Everybody started looking, but everything
was wet. I was desperate. It would not take long for things to dry
out, but I did not have that much time. I decided to cut a small
corner off one of the blankets, but when I lifted the poncho, I saw
that several leaves and twigs had stuck to the blankets when Julie
and Debbie had folded them. I scooped them up. It was just what I
needed, In a few minutes the fire was blazing. I decided that in
the future we would have to make sure there was plenty of dry wood
protected from the rain so we could start a fire.
contemplating the waterfall again.
trying to get up enough nerve to jump off?" I wondered aloud.
"How did you
"I told you,
I can think your thoughts and feel your feelings," I teased.
on the Top of the World. How did you guess?"
been looking at it a long time. The waterfall isn't that
spectacular, so I figured you must have another reason. That's the
only reason I could think of."
think I could?"
"Do you want
know. I don't like being shown up by my little sister. I was
thinking that if I jumped from this small one a few times, I might
get the courage to jump off the patio."
answer my question. Do you want to?"
do it. Do you see where the water flows over the dam?"
"If you are
anywhere within six feet of the water, you can safely jump in. Just
climb up there, and like Jamie says, 'Don't look down.' Look up at
the upper lake until you get out to the edge of the water; then
turn, and look straight ahead, and jump as far out as you can. Make
sure you stay fairly straight in the air. In a second you'll hit
the water. You might want to hold your nose and close your eyes the
first couple of times. After that it won't bother you to keep your
eyes open. That second you're in the air may seem like a half hour
the first time. After that, it'll feel like two seconds for a
while. C'mon. I'll go with you. I promise, I won't push you or
tease you if you change your mind." I held my hand out to help her
up the bank and onto the dam.
scared," she quaked.
right. Being scared when you know you won't get hurt is fun."
afraid I will get hurt."
I'll be right beside you."
lie. Just make up your mind to jump; then, think about something
else until you're in the water, or at least, until you're in the
will be too late. Right?"
way it is. Remember, when you hit the water start grabbing for
air." I led her out onto the dam. As soon as her feet touched the
water, she released my hand and screamed. It was too late. She
forgot to close her mouth, and came up with a mouthful of water. I
dove in after her, as I had promised.
"I did it!"
She exclaimed when I surfaced. "Julie was right. It is a fun kind
of scary. I'm gonna do it again." She was out of the water
climbing to the dam.
saw what we were doing and came running, and all three ran right out
onto the dam. Jamie ran off into the air, Debbie started to
hesitate, but Julie yelled, "Don't look down! Just jump!" Debbie
was flying through the air with a momentary scream. I thought sure
Julie had run into her and knocked her off, but I guess she did
not. Debbie never accused her of it anyway. She just said she was
afraid not to jump, because Julie would have run over her. Debbie,
like the rest of us, took her second, third, fourth, and umteenth
jump off the dam.
twice; then, she, Bruno, Buster and Cuddles, ran off down the valley
and disappeared into the jungle at the bottom of the terraces.
"They've gone hunting," I said. I figured they'd just get one of
thinks goat meat for three meals in a row is enough." Sarah
rabbit ten times in a row."
complaining? I thought you liked rabbit."
"No, I'm not
complaining. I'll eat whatever she brings. It's sure easier than
hunting it myself without a gun. I can't imagine why we didn't find
"I know why,
and so do you."
yourself, said, that God gave us everything we need to survive on
this island. We don't need a gun, or He would have given us one."
meant, He gave us everything we need, except a gun."
some shoes, and some pretty dresses, and a comb that's big enough,
and a hair brush, and a half dozen other things that we have been
getting along just fine without." Sarah continued my exception.
Okay! I guess you're right. We don't need a gun; because, we've
got the dogs."
can't deny that He supplied them, can we?"
can't. He's been really good to us."
complaining about not having a gun. If you had one, you might
accidentally shoot one of us or yourself."
I wanted to
tell her, I knew how to handle a gun, but I let it drop. She was
just like my mother about guns. The only thing my folks ever argued
about was me having a twenty-two.
we decided to walk on down the hill, and see if it was the cove we
saw beyond the point where the jungle closed in, or just another
lake. Of course, we took the easy way down to the next level, using
the water slide. "It's too bad we can't climb back up as easily."
Jamie was the last to come out of the water.
Sarah concurred. "We want to be sure and get back before dark, or
the climb might really be difficult."
"I think we
have plenty of time," I declared. "Of course, that depends on how
much exploring we do the other side of that strip of jungle. It's
also hard to judge the time, since we can't see the sun."
flies when we're having fun," Sarah observed.
It did not
take but a few minutes to reach the jungle, and like the stream
below the cave, there was only one trail through jungle. That was
to wade the overflow of the sixth lake. It was only a narrow strip
of trees. We had not gone over forty or fifty feet, before we
stepped into the center of a crescent shaped pool. It was about
sixty feet wide at the center, but well over a thousand feet from
point to point. It curved around parallel to the edges of the
jungle. Sand, jungle and sky were all that we could see. The lake
was landlocked by high banks in every direction. There was no
apparent escape for the incoming water.
We eased our
way across the lake to the opposite bank that rose twelve or fifteen
feet above the lake surface. The water gradually deepened. A
little over half way across, I found it easier to swim. It was
still only up to my armpits, but the others were already swimming,
and leaving me behind. After swimming only about a few strokes, we
were walking again, climbing out of the water.
From the top
of the rim we looked out over a wide flat beach. At the high water
mark, fifty to seventy-five feet from the rim, the bank dropped more
steeply into the sea. From the marks on the beach it appeared that a
rather large boat could come in close to shore at high tide.
We did not
stay long. It was obvious the sun would soon set. We looked around
quickly to get an idea of the lay of the land, and started back. We
made the climb from the fifth lake just before the last rays of a
very short twilight disappeared. Without question we had been to
the cove. If it was deep enough, it would make a good place to moor
hour we had finished our nightly devotions and lay watching the
ribbon of stars, reminiscing the day's events. I thought about
getting even with Sarah before I went to sleep, but decided against
it. We would mess up our comfortable padded bed.
Leonard H. Hall, Sr.