discovered the bats, it became part of our evening ritual to sit or
lie on the patio and watch the bats come out. Then we would watch
the stars twinkle on, one by one, and just visit and enjoy each
other's company until we got sleepy.
evening was no exception. The fire was burning in the cave, but it
seemed farther away than the Southern Cross shining down on us. It
was such a beautiful night. An evening rain had cleansed and cooled
the air an hour or so before sunset, and a soft breeze blew from the
East. We had discussed a wide variety of subjects, from the puppies
and goats to spiritual things, but for a half hour we had been
silent, each with his/her own secret thoughts, listening to the
night sounds of a tropical isle.
can't make up my mind." Jamie interrupted the silence.
about?" I came out of my euphoria.
again." There had to have been disgust in my voice. I could not
imagine breaking such a wonderful mood with a problem that would not
exist for another five days. It was important to Jamie. He had
been talking about it ever since Julie's birthday.
explore. That's certain. Ain't nothin' better'n explorin', 'cept
jumpin' off the patio into the lake, and that gets borin'. Explorin'
never gets borin'. There's always something new."
"I guess we
all like to explore," Sarah contended. "So, what's the problem?"
decide what to explore. The east coast looked fascinating from the
mountain. It looked like the jungle goes right out into the ocean.
Then there's that little cove down there on the south coast. I'll
bet there might even be some pirate's treasure down there. It
wouldn't do us any good, but it would be fun to find. The valley
also looks like it would be a fun place to explore, but we can't do
all that in one day."
conceded. "That would be too much for one day, but it wouldn't be
too much for a week, would it?"
know, but my birthday's only one day."
"So? We all
like to explore. If we ask Timmy, 'Please, pretty please, with
cream and sugar on it,' maybe, he'll give us a week vacation from
school, so we can camp out and explore all those places."
"Please--Pretty Please--Cream and Sugar--Hugs and kisses--" and a
few other pleas I do not remember. The others had suddenly come
alive, and everybody spoke at once, including Sarah.
had three days vacation to explore this week." I was already
defeated, and wanted to be, but I was not going to make it too easy.
Timmy, I love you." Julie pleaded.
"Oh, I don't
know. You need your education. That's one of the most important
things in life, and you can't even read yet, Julie. I think we
oughta stay home and teach you to read."
is education." Jamie sat up,
Timmy, or I'll cry, boohoo, boohoo." Debbie feigned a cry.
"It's only a
small island. Sarah poked me in the ribs, knowing of course that I
had already conceded in my mind. "There's only so much exploring we
"You want a
week off now, to explore that part of the island. Next week, you'll
want a week off to explore the ridges and valleys. After that,
there'll be something else. There'll be one excuse after another,
and we'll be a bunch of dumb bunnies, when they rescue us."
Sarah jumped at the chance. "We'll take two weeks. We wouldn't
mind exploring the ridges and valleys, would we, kids?"
"Oh, no you
don't! One week is enough. Beside, who's gonna stay here and take
care of the goats and puppies."
ones who did last time." Julie chimed in.
Smarty Pants, but only one week, and don't try to talk me out of any
more. And, Jamie, you only get to be the M.I.P. for one day,
Thursday. That's your birthday."
know," Jamie agreed, "but can I plan the trip?"
"I guess we
can give you that much."
I've already got it planned. We'll start out first thing in the
won't!" I interrupted him. "Tomorrow's Sunday. We'll stay here and
have Sunday School, tomorrow, and start out Monday morning."
that's what I meant. We'll start out Monday morning and go down to
the valley below Goat Field, and camp there Monday and Tuesday
nights, if we don't get bored. Then we'll make our way to the cove.
That looked like pretty heavy jungle so that might be pretty hard.
Camp in the cove Wednesday night, and maybe Thursday, that's my
birthday. Then, we'll walk on the beach to the other point, and
have two days to see what the eastern shore line is like, and come
back up the north side."
"What if we
don't have water at all those places?" I got up.
there's water in the valley. It's gonna dump into the ocean
somewhere. I'll bet there is water all over the place, just like
there is here. We need to take our canteens just in case."
"What if we
don't find anything worth exploring, see it all, and we get bored
and get back before your birthday?" Sarah started toward the cave.
swim in the lake all day."
"Lets go to
bed, or we'll be late for Sunday School tomorrow," I followed
got no special time for Sunday School, Silly," Julie quipped. "We
can't be late."
"What if we
don't wake up 'til supper time, and have to have Sunday School after
supper, wouldn't that be late?"
gonna sleep that late. You're really being silly now."
time for devotions," Sarah ended the argument.
Leonard H. Hall, Sr.