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by L. H. Hall

Chapter 15 - Christmas


by L. H. Hall

Chapter 15


We took it easy on Christmas. It was not much different from Sundays. Instead of having Sunday School, we read the Christmas story in Luke's gospel, sang some carols and Happy Birthday to Jesus. Again, I reminded them of all the things Jesus had done for the people of the world. Thanks to all this, we had been able to receive Him into our hearts, and had Him to help us through the hard times we were experiencing.

"Tell us how he helps us, Timmy." Julie wanted to know.

"Oh, Julie, if He hadn't done so much for us since the plane crash, none of us could be alive today. If He hadn't made sure the dolphins were in the right place, they couldn't have saved us. Jesus made the dolphins push us to the island, and show us the direction to fresh water. We might have all died on the beach, if we had gone the way I started to go. He spent years preparing this beautiful home for us. He used Mr. Wilcox and Mr. Sorensen, even though they died in the process, to supply our needs. Even Sheba and the pups were part of God's preparations for us."

"Probably God's biggest miracles to help us have occurred in me," I continued. "I'm just a kid. I would never think of some of the important things I do, if Jesus didn't help me. Sometimes when I don't know what to do, I ask Jesus for help; suddenly I know exactly what must be done or said. Other times I say things that shock me. I don't even know what I'm saying until I hear it with my own ears the same time you hear it. Remember that first day on the beach. We all hurt so bad and wanted our mothers. I knew we would all die right there, if I didn't do something. I prayed; then, I growled, 'Shut up, get up, and letís find some water we can drink.' I talked really mean, and you didn't argue. You did what I told you. That wasn't me talking. I was shocked to hear those words come out of my mouth. Debbie, you remember when you had that big hole in your panties. I didn't know what to do. I started to say we would all have to go naked, but I asked Jesus to help, and he gave me the idea to make these tie-on panties. That's just a couple of many times I've asked God to help me, and did or said things I didn't know I was going to do or say.

"Other ways he has helped us are the miracles Jesus has done in your lives. Everyone of you cooperate with me, Sarah as Momma, and the rest of you as our children. You gripe and complain sometimes, but you always do what I tell you. I really don't know how grownups think, but I know you are all acting very grown up, when you cooperate so well. I am so proud of everyone of you. I don't think I would love you more if you were really, truly, my wife and children. We are a real family. If I have to be stranded on this island with four other kids, I'm sure glad it's you. I wish I had a whole bunch of presents. I don't have, but we have each other. We are all healthy; our sunburns didn't even peel much. The greatest gift we can ever receive, we already have. Jesus has come into our hearts."

"Why did Jesus let all these bad things happen to us?" Julie wanted to know.

"I wish I could answer that. I have asked Jesus that many times since we got here, but He hasn't given me the answer. I know one thing for sure. God has a purpose in it. We don't know, and may never know what it is. We do know God didn't allow it just to hurt us or our parents. He has a good reason. Maybe it's so we will learn to depend upon Him. I wish I knew."

While I was reminding the others of how much God had done for us on the island, I remembered the pool of salt water I had left to dry by the beach. I had been so busy; I had forgotten all about it. Debbie and Jamie had made a couple of trips down to the beach, but I had neglected to tell them about it. We had missed our rain the day before; so, I thought if we were going to get salt, we should find some.

The sun was still high in the western sky when we started down the mountain to the beach. It was still pretty hot, but we were beginning to work later in the mornings, and to start out earlier in the afternoons. Our bodies were getting darker every day. We still used aloe juice at the first sign of burning. In another week or so, we should be able to spend full days exploring the island. There were so many things we wanted to do and see.

All of our injuries from our rescue had disappeared except for my leg, which was still tender. It still had a couple of places that would break open and bleed, if it was bumped too hard. It did not bother me otherwise.

The surface of the rock where I had left the sea water was streaked with white around the edges. Little streams had washed some of the salt to the center. In the deepest part of the depression, we found a crusty layer of the precious white mineral. There would be no more carrying sea water up the mountain to cook with. All we would have to do now would be to fill the depression in the rock a couple of times a week, and harvest the salt when it dried up. We would probably never have too much, but there should be enough to season our food.

The tide was high and still coming in so we plunged into the surf for a little while before returning to the cave. Our experience with the sea, still fresh in our minds, kept us close to the shore. Sarah went out far enough for a wave to break over her, and knock her down. That was all she wanted. She ran screaming and crying to the shore, and would not go out again. All she would do was sit on the hard sand and let the waves wash her legs and feet. One time a big wave came in that almost reached her waist, and she moved back. She did not want it to do more than cover her legs. None of us really cared about playing in the surf; so we did not stay long.

When we were about to start up the mountain, Debbie looked out over the ocean, and announced, "There are some dolphins."

We all looked and there were several dolphins standing on their tails chattering at us. "I wonder what they want this time," I pondered aloud.

"Maybe they just want to say 'Hi,'" Sarah suggested.

"Do you think they are the same ones that saved us?" Jamie asked.

"They could be, I guess, but we'll never know. They do seem to want something," I observed.

"I'll bet they're the same ones, and they're checking on us to make sure we're still safe," Sarah declared.

"It could be. Let's all wave," I suggested.

When the dolphins stood up again, we all waved and shouted, "Hi" to them. They came up one more time in turns. Each did a flip in the air, and disappeared into the ocean.

"I'll bet they are some of the same ones." Sarah agreed with Jamie, and shouted, "Merry Christmas, dolphins. Thank you." The dolphins had disappeared.

"Do you think we'll ever see them again, Timmy?" Julie asked.

"I hope so. They saved our lives," Debbie sighed.

"I don't know. Maybe they were saying, 'Hello.' Maybe they were saying, 'Good-by.'"

"I hope they were just saying, 'Hello.'" Debbie looked for another glimpse of them.

"Me too!" Julie spoke for all of us. It was obvious; dolphins would always have a special place in our hearts.

"I wish I could pet one, and put my arms around it, and give it a big hug," Jamie mumbled.

"Well, you can't, unless you want to go way out in the ocean to swim." I started up the trail. "Let's go back to the cave. The pool below the cave is a much better place to swim. There are no waves to break over our heads, and if we get a mouthful of water, it soothes our thirst instead of making us thirstier."

"Yeah," Jamie concurred, "and when we get out and dry, we feel clean, not all salty."

We all agreed that we would rather go back to the pool to swim.

Instead of having our usual piece of jerky for a bedtime snack, Sarah put the clams, we had gathered, into the coals on the fire rock, and our first Christmas together ended with a clambake.

New Year's day was just another work day. We thought about staying up and watching the stars as we entered the new year. Jamie wanted to see if something spectacular would happen in the stars when the new year started, but I did not think it would. Besides, how would we know when the new year got here? We did not have a clock.

I had learned to keep pretty good track of the time by the sun, but at night; we guessed. When Sarah or I thought it was time to go to bed, we went to bed; and when we woke, which was always early, we got up, and went about the daily chores.

We might have stayed up a little later New Year's Eve, but when we started getting sleepy, we went to bed.

Our New Year Celebration consisted of a recognition in my morning prayer over the food, that a new year had begun. I thanked God again for His blessings in 1950, and asked Him to bless us and keep us safe throughout 1951.

"If we were home," I announced, "Christmas vacation would be over, and we would have to go back to school. Starting today, right after lunch, we'll begin having school. We'll start by each of us looking up a word in the dictionary, learn what it means, and teach it to the rest. Then, we'll each practice reading by reading a chapter in the Bible. If one of you comes to a word you don't know. I will help you, and if I don't know the word, we'll look it up in the dictionary."

"I don't know how to read." Julie admitted.

"We will all have to work to teach you," I told her. "After we have read, I will call off some numbers for you to add or subtract. We need to practice writing too but we don't have enough pencils. There's also something called multiplying and dividing, and fractions. I don't know much about them. I know that three times two is the same as two plus two plus two, and three plus three. I also know that counting by five is the same as multiplying by five if I put a finger down each time I say a number, like, five, ten, fifteen, twenty. See I've got four fingers down so five times four is twenty. Maybe I can figure out the rest. Dividing is just the opposite of multiplying. All I know about fractions is that it takes two half hours, or four quarter hours to make one hour. Trying to figure that out will be my arithmetic, so I can teach you. Maybe Jesus will help me. We'll have school every day but Sundays."

"We're s'posed to have two days out of school," Sarah complained.

"But if you went to school, you'd have to go longer each day, and study that yukky stuff, like science and history, so it all evens out."

Sarah did not like it, but she accepted it.

After breakfast we were back at the task of weaving and tying bamboo poles together with vines. I had seen fences like this, but I had never helped make one or had anyone show me how. Several times we had a good looking fence lying on the ground between two trees, but when we tried to stand it up, the bamboo poles fell in every direction. Finally, after a lot of praying, I tied three vines about a foot apart between two trees; then, I wove the poles into the vines, so that the top and bottom vines were on one side of the pole, and the center vine was on the other. The next pole would have the vines on the opposite sides. Then, all I had to do was slide the poles as close together as I could, and tie them together; so, they would not fall down if the long vines broke. I also learned that the more poles I added the tighter the fence became between the trees.

I had planned to have a larger pen, but the brush was growing too fast. I decided if I made it any larger, I would have to start all over before I could get it finished. It would also take too many goats to keep the brush eaten. We did not need too many, maybe, four or five nannies, with their babies. Someday we would probably want to catch a billy goat, but that could wait.

We, finally, finished the pen January 4. I put up the gate and fixed it so we could lock it from both inside and out.

"Now, tell me. How are you going to get the goats to walk into this beautiful new home you've made for them?" Jamie demanded.

"I haven't figured that out yet, but the first thing is to find the goats."

"I'll bet Sheba knows where to find them." Julie was confident.

"Yeah, she probably does, but do you think she knows why we built the pen? or what we'll be looking for when we go hunting?" I questioned.

"I'll bet she will," Debbie declared, and Julie agreed.

"I hope so. She usually seems to understand, but this is different," I was not convinced. "We'll find out tomorrow. Let's leave right after breakfast, and plan to be gone all day, or even two days, until we find them. We'll fill our canteens and take along plenty of jerky. We'll probably find enough fruit to go with it."

"Where are we going to go first?" Sarah queried.

"Wherever Sheba leads us. I'll ask the Lord to make her lead us in the right direction."

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Copyright 1995
Leonard H. Hall, Sr.

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