by L. H. Hall
built the toilet, I learned that I could put the end of a stick into
the fire and rub the burning end on the rock in the coals to form a
point. Then, I could touch the burning point to a bamboo pole, and
with patience, burn a round hole the right size to insert a smaller
bamboo rod. I don't know how I got the idea. In a dream, I think.
in my mind I saw how I could make furniture, chairs, beds, tables,
just about anything we would need. Not all of my ideas worked the
first time; like our first try at the bed. We still all slept
together, and wanted to continue. We spent days making a bed the
size of the one on the floor. The frame was made of bamboo tied
solidly with vines. For a sleeping surface we wove a mat of tough
thin vines. It looked so beautiful. We were so proud of it. Poor
Jamie! The first time we lay on it, we all sank to the center. It
was like a big dog pile with him on the bottom. It was not easy to
get off him either.
disappointed! Sure! But after studying the situation and praying
about it, I visualized the remedy. I installed four bamboo poles
across the bed under the mat. We each had a place, separated by a
pole on each side. We were still close enough to touch the ones
next to us for comfort if we awoke frightened in the night, as some
of us did occasionally. We did not have to spend another night on
the hard floor, but still, it was not right. The heavier ones sank
down in their compartments, and the lighter ones had little give in
theirs. During the night I got the solution. The next morning we
cut the mat off the bed, and made five little mats suspended from
the frames of each compartment. It was successful. Each section
had its blanket and sheet to protect us from the mat.
weeks and months that followed, we made a table, five dining chairs,
some chairs like the folding lounge chairs with the canvas seat, a
cupboard for the dishes, a book shelf, and a special little Bible
allowed to be laid on that table but the Bible which was always
open, usually to the Ninety-First Psalm. We memorized that psalm
and many others, and rehearsed them daily to plant them deeply in
challenge in furniture making was Sarah's rocking chair. She was
the mother. Mothers were supposed to have rocking chairs, and she
wanted one. Obviously, I could not use bamboo with its sections for
the rockers. I tried bending limbs and holding them with vines.
That did not work. If the pole was big enough for a rocker, it was
too big to bend, or the vine would stretch or break. I studied the
situation and worried over it for nearly two weeks, seeking the
solution. I could not find the answer.
happened was, that I had been so successful, I became over
confident, and I failed to ask the Lord for guidance. One night, in
desperation, I said aloud, "Lord what do I do?"
"What do you
do about what?" Sarah wanted to know.
rockers for your rocking chair. I am at my wits end. I've tried
everything I can think of."
all this jungle there must be two bent limbs that would work."
dumb can I be? I never even thought of that."
ask the Lord for help until just now, did you?"
"How do you
thought of it either until you told me what you were praying about.
It had to be your answer."
morning Jamie and I went into the jungle looking for limbs with the
proper bend for rockers. We were both happy and playful. I
remembered the vow of vengeance I had made months earlier under the
great canopy on the eastern side of the island. Pay back day had
come for Jamie. He did not know it yet. I would pick the time and
place where it was safe so neither of us would get hurt.
rejected several promising candidates for rockers for one reason or
another; but finally, found one that seemed just about right. We
were looking for another when we came to a little clearing. It
looked like we could wrestle around here and not get hurt. It was
time. "Jamie, have I ever lied to you about anything since we came
to the island"
"Not that I
know of. At least I ain't caught you in one."
"I would be
committing a sin, if I broke a promise to you wouldn't I?" I put my
arm across his shoulders, letting it drop down in front of him so he
could not get away, if he suddenly remembered.
wouldn't want me to commit a sin, would you?"
not. I don't want you breaking any promises to me anyway."
remember that promise I made to all of you at the other end of the
island the morning after your birthday?" I could not hold back the
laughter any longer.
He remembered and tried to run, but I had him. "You don't have to
keep that promise. It won't be no sin."
"Oh! Yes I
do!" We were already wrestling around on the ground. "Now it's
your turn to be tickled 'til you cry, and can't be tickled any
fair. You're bigger'n me."
"But it was
fair for you to help hold me while I was being tickled to death.
I'm sorry! Please stop!" He screamed trying to get away.
you're sorry. You're sorry I'm getting even. Your not sorry you
helped hold me. You'd do it again in a minute." I had my legs
locked around him tickling his sides.
wouldn't! I promise I wouldn't! Please stop!"
what?" He was starting to cry.
statement you started to make. Finish it so you won't tell a lie."
promised you wouldn't do it again, didn't you?"
"Yeah, and I
mean you wouldn't do it again unless you got the chance?"
maybe." He was laughing again, but he had relaxed. He was tickled
out. He couldn't be tickled anymore.
I let him up
and we went on about our business, almost as if nothing had
happened. We were even, and he knew it. I tried to get him to
promise not to say anything about it to the girls so they would not
be afraid of me again. I wanted to surprise them like I did him,
but he would not agree. "It might take years, but I am going to get
another hour of picking and rejecting we found a very near match to
the rocker we had. I would have no trouble carving off the extra
bump or two.
returned, the girls, having eaten, were in the cave, making grass
skirts. The things I had made months ago had long been worn out.
Now it was grass skirts, or nothing, for all of us. Jamie and I had
both relented. We preferred the grass skirts. They did not cover
much, and they were worthless in the water, but they were better
than nothing. At least we had a little privacy.
We ate some
jerky and a couple of oranges, and I had just started trimming the
rockers when I heard laughter in the cave. I surmised that Jamie
was tattling on me, but I kept working.
it!" Sarah slipped up behind me, and hit me about as hard as she
could on the shoulder.
"I told you
I would. I did. I will!"
dare to it. A promise was given, and a promise was kept."
'til he trusted you!"
"I told you
"An' I was
mad 'cause you didn't take me 'stead of Jamie," Debbie came out of
the cave. "I'm sure glad I didn't go. I won't never go anywhere
with you again."
Neither!" Julie joined us. "You're mean!"
July fourth. Are we going to have a holiday?" Sarah changed the
subject. She knew my day was coming, and they would not be able to
change my mind.
It's our nation's birthday, isn't it? We'll celebrate even if we're
not there, and don't have any fireworks. What have you got in mind
to do, Sarah?"
been to the lakes for a long time. I thought it might be nice to go
down tomorrow afternoon through Goat Field and camp out. Maybe we
can hitch a ride home on the dolphins."
to me, but the raft is up here on the beach." I had made a bamboo
raft to carry our things when we went somewhere on the dolphins.
The extra dolphin always seemed happy to pull it by the long vine
it down to the cove, now." Jamie jumped at the possibility of a
"Can me an'
Debbie go too?" Julie started jumping. "Please."
"I guess so,
but don't be too long."
minutes after the others had gone, Sarah came screaming out of the
cave. "Oh! No! They left me here alone." She ran across the
patio into the pool.
I had been
so busy concentrating on what I was doing. I probably would not
have thought about pay backs. I dropped the sticks and ran after
her. I left the patio about the time she hit the water. The chase
was on, but in the water she did not stand a chance. I caught her
and pulled her up on the bank, very much against her will. It was
quite a chore keeping out of the way of her arms, fists, elbows,
knees and feet. "Thanks for reminding me. I was so busy, I would
have overlooked the opportunity."
loose! I'm a girl! This ain't Fair! You're bigger than me."
that made any difference the three times you attacked me, and they
don't make any difference now?"
Allen Davis! You turn me loose! Right now!!! I didn't attack you
three times I only tickled you twice."
got me four times. I can't remember what the first one was, but you
got me once at the lake and twice in the Jungle. Now it's pay back
time. Like I said, 'Pay backs are fun.' And I'm having fun."
and giggled and squiggled and squirmed and tried to get loose but I
had her firmly in a leg lock. After a couple minutes I stopped
momentarily. "That's for the first one."
"Let me up
We got two more to go." I grabbed her again.
started screaming, laughing, and giggling again. "You're hurting
me. Let me up!" You big brute! This ain't fair! Turn me loose!
Please! If you love me, you'll stop!
hurting you, and I am not letting you up."
getting a little tired. After another couple minutes, I relaxed
was finished; she pushed at my legs. "You've had your fun. Now let
This time you get tickled 'til you don't tickle any more."
screamed and kicked and beat my legs. "I give up! I give up!"
don't! I ain't gonna let you."
laughter turned to tears; and finally, she relaxed and stopped
tickling her and unlocked my legs from around her hips. She did not
try to get up. We just sat there panting.
I gave her a
little hug and kissed her on the back of the shoulder. "I really do
love you, ya know."
don't act like it." She turned around and hit me playfully on the
"I know you
admit, you had it coming." I gave her long brown hair a little tug.
didn't. You started it."
didn't start it, but I finished it."
finished yet! She turned to face me."
"You got me
a lot more'n I got you, but I'll call us even if you will."
This ain't finished!"
get a head start on the next round." I started to get my leg lock
again, but she screamed, and dove into the water before I could
still water fighting. She was still screaming at me and laughing
when Jamie called down from the patio, "Are we too late? Is it all
over? We didn't even think about you being left here alone with him
'til we got all the way to the cove. We got back as quick as we
over, but she won't call it even. She was tickled 'til she won't
tickle any more for a while." I threw a double handful of water in
Julie held her sides. "I'm glad it wasn't me."
is still coming. Hers is all over with unless she does something
stupid, like trying to get even."
joined us in the lake until Bruno came to let us know that our
supper had arrived. The pups did almost all the hunting by this
time. If Sheba went out with them, we could almost count on them
bringing in a young goat or a large piglet.
came and went as planned, and before her birthday: Sarah had her
rocker; I had gotten even with the other two girls; they had ganged
up on me again; but I still would not tickle.
had tickled me before, it stopped tickling when I relaxed. I
realized they could never tickle me if my muscles were loose and
flexible. While I was meditating on a problem one morning after
breakfast, they attacked me. I had heard some giggling, and knew
something was up so I had a little warning. I went completely limp,
and they could not tickle me. I made a grab for them. Everyone of
them tightened up. They could still be tickled, but after that we
had little teasing bouts but no more serious tickling.
Leonard H. Hall, Sr.