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
"Tell us how
he helps us, Timmy." Julie wanted to know.
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."
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.
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."
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
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
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."
looked and there were several dolphins standing on their tails
chattering at us. "I wonder what they want this time," I pondered
just want to say 'Hi,'" Sarah suggested.
think they are the same ones that saved us?" Jamie asked.
be, I guess, but we'll never know. They do seem to want something,"
they're the same ones, and they're checking on us to make sure we're
still safe," Sarah declared.
be. Let's all wave," I suggested.
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.
they are some of the same ones." Sarah agreed with Jamie, and
shouted, "Merry Christmas, dolphins. Thank you." The dolphins had
think we'll ever see them again, Timmy?" Julie asked.
"I hope so.
They saved our lives," Debbie sighed.
know. Maybe they were saying, 'Hello.' Maybe they were saying,
"I hope they
were just saying, 'Hello.'" Debbie looked for another glimpse of
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,"
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."
Jamie concurred, "and when we get out and dry, we feel clean, not
agreed that we would rather go back to the pool to swim.
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.
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.
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.
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
"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
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
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."
not like it, but she accepted it.
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.
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.
finished the pen January 4. I put up the gate and fixed it so we
could lock it from both inside and out.
me. How are you going to get the goats to walk into this beautiful
new home you've made for them?" Jamie demanded.
figured that out yet, but the first thing is to find the goats."
Sheba knows where to find them." Julie was confident.
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.
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."
we going to go first?" Sarah queried.
Sheba leads us. I'll ask the Lord to make her lead us in the right
Leonard H. Hall, Sr.