was not granted. They were not sitting off shore the next morning,
or the next, but on the morning of the sixth, shortly before dawn
the dogs started barking. No one sleeps when forty or fifty dogs,
that never bark without a reason, start barking. I bounced out of
bed and ran to the telescope in the entrance and began to scan the
ocean. Finally, after what seemed to be an hour, on the northern
edge of my field of vision, I saw them. Red and green lights, still
several miles out to sea, appeared to be coming toward the island.
into the room. "They're coming! They're coming! Jamie can see
them from the ledge. He's building up the fire with the green
dressed to meet our parents within minutes. Sarah had even made a
poncho-diaper for Deejay and folded a sheet rag inside of it. There
was nothing to do but wait and watch. As the day dawned, they
traveled more southerly; so it was easier to see them through the
telescope. Then, I saw the most amazing thing. There must have
been twenty or more dolphins standing on their tails, and leaping
through the air, and just porpoising in front of the boat.
wonderful dolphins are escorting them in," I told Sarah who was
standing beside me, trying to see without a glass.
wonderful dolphins are trying to get our attention." She pointed to
the beach below the cave.
five dolphins were standing on their tails a few yards off shore. I
ran to the patio where the others were fighting over whose turn it
was to use the two binoculars. "Pile the green wood on the fire and
grab some jerky if you're hungry, the dolphins are waiting for us to
take us to meet them."
We made the
descent to the beach in record time, even with little Deejay, who
could have cared less.
were waiting in the shallows, when we reached the beach. I set
Deejay in front of me, on the largest, most powerful of the
animals. They needed no guiding. They knew where we wanted to go,
and they even calculated where the boat would be when we got to it.
We had never been so far from shore, or ridden so fast for such a
long distance. Deejay was ecstatic. She loved the dolphins, and
apparently loved the speed. Within minutes we could see Three pair
of binoculars and a camera staring at us, and three children leaning
over the guard rail of the boat as we approached. Finally, as we
closed in, they dropped their glasses, and I recognized my mother
Momma! I know it is!" Sarah rode beside me. "She's older but she
looks the same as I remember."
I said, as we waved. They waved in return, wondering at the sight
of their grown children, and their grandchild, riding a school of
They threw a
ladder overboard and Dad came part way down as my ride slid up to
it. "Meet your granddaughter, Dad," I handed Deejay up to him.
Deejay, and handed her on up to Mr. Jennings; then helped me onto
the ladder. I climbed up past him, into my mother's arms. Sarah
followed, and then the girls. Jamie came on board last.
who might this be, and who does she belong to?" Mr. Jennings asked,
when he got a chance, holding up his granddaughter. "That's Deejay,
Daddy. She's Timmy's and mine, but it's okay. We're married."
married you?" Dad asked.
did." I hugged him. "But, if that doesn't satisfy you, we'll be
happy to let you do it again, right now if you wish."
"They had a
beautiful wedding. I wish you could have been there," Debbie hugged
you about it when things quiet down." Jamie found his mother's arms.
the baby, who was not so sure she liked all this attention, around
for everyone to admire.
Deejay?" Mrs. Jennings nuzzled her granddaughter.
little Julie, all grown up." Mrs. Jennings hugged her youngest
daughter, laughing. "Still calling people, 'Silly.'"
fifteen in January," Julie announced proudly. That's how old Sarah
was when she and Timmy got married.
you, Jamie?" Mother asked. "Is one of these beauties your wife?"
Yuk!" Debbie exploded.
marry my sister, Mom!" Jamie protested. "What do you think I am.
You didn't have me long, but long enough to teach me better than
Timmy marry his sister then? Mother asked."
Julie responded. "They've been Mom and Dad ever since we've been on
the island, and moms and dads are supposed to be married."
"I see. I
guess that does make a difference." Mother had a puzzled frown on
"I want to
meet my little brother and sister, and brother-in-law." I motioned
to the children; who were standing back, feeling neglected.
"How do you
know who we are?" The little girl, seven or eight years old, asked.
first, Mrs. Jennings came to see Julie on her six birthday and told
her she was going to have a baby; so, this big boy has to be the
Jennings jaw fell almost to her breast. Her eyes looked like
saucers. I thought she was going to pass out.
"And as for
you and little Joey, here," I picked her up and hugged her. "You
are the same two who came with Mother and Dad, when they came to see
me a few months later. You might have just barely been born then,
but you looked just like you do now. You are Brenda, and he is Joey
aren't you?" Now, it was their turn to be shocked.
name?" The Jennings boy tested me.
Julie jumped in.
know for sure, but I think it's Robert or Bobby. Don't they call
"How do you
have told me. Usually, I know for sure, when he tells me
something, but you weren't born yet, and I wasn't sure. That's why
I never told you Julie."
all through my pregnancy to name him Billy, but at the very end, we
changed our minds and named him Robert William, instead of William
Robert," Mrs. Jennings explained.
"I am Timmy,
this other guy is Jamie. The three girls are, Sarah, Debbie and
Julie, and the baby is Deejay." I pointed at each of the others
when I introduced them.
waved, and said "Hi."
"Do you kids
need to go back to the island? or can we turn straight back to
civilization?" The man at the helm asked.
NO!!!" Sarah exploded. "We're not leaving our island today, or
tomorrow! This is our home. If you can't visit us in our home for
two weeks, and let us show you our beautiful home, and get
reacquainted here, where we feel comfortable and safe, let us off
and come back when you can stay. After two weeks, we'll probably go
with you, but it's scary to leave what we know and love, and go out
to that strange world. We want to know somebody and what to
"What if we
refuse to let you off," The boatman asked.
dolphins out there are leading you to a safe harbor, but if any of
us jump overboard we'll have a dolphin under us within fifteen
seconds." Sarah said, grabbed the baby from her mother's arms,
"Watch!" and bailed over the side.
onlookers could get to the side of the boat, Sarah and the baby were
on a dolphin fifty feet from the boat heading for shore.
Sarah, come back!" Her father was frantic. "We're not in that big a
hurry. We'll at least take you to shore."
the dolphin around and slid to within ten feet or so from the boat.
"How do I know you won't take my baby and hold her so I won't jump
back in and force us to go with you?"
Timmy," Dad pleaded. "On my honor, as a servant of God, we won't
try to make you leave here against your will."
right, Sarah." I vouched for Dad. "Dad gave his word. He won't
break it, I remember that much about him."
back aboard, but she held onto Deejay, and would not leave the side
of the boat where she could leap out again if necessary, for several
planned to be gone more than a few days." Mr. Jennings looked at
Dad. But as far as we are concerned, we can make arrangements over
the radio. How about you, Albert?"
at mother, and I detected that tiniest of nods like Sarah often gave
me. "I think we can make arrangements."
three weeks, Albert? It might be nice to have a quiet vacation?"
at mother again for approval, before he agreed. "But that is the
best I can do, Dave."
be pushing our limit too." Mr. Jennings turned to the boatman.
got to get back." The boatman did not look too happy.
pick us up here three weeks from today, and post a couple letters?
And, can you get a military channel on the radio?"
"Yeah, I can
do all that, but it'll cost you extra."
I expect to pay for all your services. I have spent little enough
on my girls. Do you think the little dab you charge will stop me?"
He wrote a couple quick notes while Dad talked to the mission and
made another radio call. Then, Mr. Jennings made some calls.
"How deep is
this water boy?" the boatman asked.
depends. What's your draft?" I queried.
feet," he answered puzzled. "How's a boy who's been out here for
nine years know about a boat's draft?"
Moby Dick and a couple other sea stories several times, and
we learn five new words out of the dictionary every day but
Sunday's. Then we use the new words every chance we get. I was
just practicing. You'd better set out a little if you don't want
her to set down in low tide. There's a deep sheltered cove down a
couple miles if you'd like to come up and visit a while."
let you off and head back." He followed the dolphins toward the
beach below the cave. "It's a long haul back. How'dja get so
friendly with the dolphins?"
and played with most of them since they were calves. The others
brought us here from the plane crash and adopted us. They have
never left the area for more than a day or two at a time."
be horn swoggled! I never heard the like! Imagine dolphins
adopting kids!" The boatman shook his head.
come back, come a few days early. Bring your family, and see the
most beautiful place in the world." I suggested.
nobody but the old lady, but I might do that, and my helper, who's
asleep below, might bring his old lady too. If it's all right."
will you do me a favor?"
give anybody else the location of this island." I put my arm around
Sarah, who had gotten a little braver and joined me.
"It's on all
ever tell anyone what you see here. We don't want it ruined."
Sarah pleaded as she handed the baby to her mother. "I'm sorry,
Momma, I was scared."
bring a mission box, Mother? I'm afraid we have most everything we
need, except we can't dress appropriately for guests, especially
"I think we
can find several changes of clothes that will fit you. I was afraid
you wouldn't have anything at all."
about don't! We had to cut up one of our best ponchos to make these
clothes to meet you."
"You knew we
were coming? How?" She asked
way you knew we were here. We knew the night your plane, the first
we had seen in nine years, flew over and you saw our fire. Our wood
pile caught on fire or you might not have seen us. It was Sarah's
birthday, July 25, between eight and ten at night; I think. It was
really dark and we don't have a way of telling time at night. There
was a storm in the North. Sarah and I were on the Top of the World,
and talked about you being up there."
came down the next day," Sarah continued, "Jamie and Julie told us,
almost word for word, what we had said to each other about you
seeing our fire, and that you and the Jennings would be coming after
right! That's the night I flew over. I saw the island with only
one big fire on it, and I knew in my heart it was you. I asked the
stewardess about the island. She checked, and told me the pilot
didn't know; we were a hundred miles south of the normal route,
because of a big storm. I asked if he could get me the location of
the island. I would have had a boat here the next day, but your dad
wouldn't listen to me. In his mind you'd been dead for nine years.
He didn't want to hear about it. I called Linda and told her, and
she started working on Dave, who also, didn't want to hear about
it. He finally agreed to come, and she agreed never to mention you
being alive again, if you weren't here. They got to the Philippines
last Saturday. Together, we worked on your dad all afternoon, but
he was resistant until I made the same deal with him, Linda had made
with Dave. About eight o'clock that evening, he gave in, and agreed
to come. We left right after the morning services Sunday."
have been just about the time I prayed for you to be here for my
birthday!" Debbie screamed.
want her to come out here and be disappointed." Dad didn't like
being made out to be the stick-in-the-mud.
"I want to
hear everything, but lets get ashore now." Dad suggested.
to make two or three trips with the Skiff" the boatman said.
the whales." I lowered my voice and whispered to Mom. "May the
children ride with us?"
She almost turned pale at the idea.
as safe in their care, as they are in your arms. Even Deejay rides
alone for a little ways sometimes. Some of these dolphins are the
ones that saved our lives. They adopted us, and the rest are their
progeny. We've grown up with them."
"Talk to the
Jennings, too. We wouldn't want to take two and not three, You saw
what happened when Sarah jumped overboard."
was amazing. She must have jumped right on top of it."
wouldn't let that happen, but she was out there waiting, and there
are twenty more who would desert this ship in a second to protect
any one of us. We have known, and played with, most of them since
they were born."
boatman eased toward the shore, preparing to drop anchor, our
parents went into a huddle. Sarah and Debbie were called into it;
and finally, the younger brothers and sister, who, a moment later,
scrambled down to the cabins below squealing, and returned seconds
later wearing swimming suits anxious to try riding the dolphins.
Jamie and I
helped the men bring the baggage from the cabins below, and load the
skiff at the stern. On one trip, I overheard Sarah say, "Momma, if
there's any toilet paper or soap on board you'd better bring it. We
haven't had any for nine years."
have any coffee or tea either." I almost fell down the steps into
the cabin area.
Mrs. Jennings had not even thought of us doing without such dire
necessities. "What have you done?"
Sarah laughed. "Several hours of swimming each day and frequent
baths; and leaves, grass and sand have helped."
hear that, Judy?" Mrs. Jennings called mother into a huddle.
"Dave!" After a minute, he went to the boatman.
skiff was loaded, I untied it and said, "C'mon kids, can you swim?"
I was sure Brenda and Joey had been swimming since they were two,
but I did not know about Bobby. The engines were shut down, and I
jumped off the stern with the skiff rope in my hand. The children
and my little family followed.
"See ya on
shore." Julie hit the water.
kids," A dolphin came up under me and I handed the skiff rope to
another. "Don't kick too hard, keep your legs apart, and the
dolphins will do the rest."
Brenda rose out of the water on the back of the little whale, before
I finished speaking. In a couple seconds the boys were squealing as
they felt their rides slide under them.
everybody." I called as I moved away from the boat, and slid back
onto my dolphin's tail.
Mother screamed, watching me sail twenty feet through the air to
another waiting ride, that immediately flipped me back to the first.
like fun." Brenda released the dorsal fin she had been hanging
try that, Br . . ." Mother called, but it was already too late.
Brenda was already flying through the air, followed by the two
little boys who made perfect dives into the water twenty or thirty
feet away only to come up on the backs of other animals.
that again!" Mother ordered. "Timmy I thought you said those
animals were safe!"
their dorsals kids, I called. We can play later. I swirled my ride
around close to the boat. "They are safe, Mother, but they can't
swim with us on their tails, and they think we want to play. If you
really want to see something, watch me when we get to shore."
was beached, waiting for us to unload, when we got to shore, but I
did not pay any attention to it. I just walked up on the beach with
my back to the sea.
watch ou . . ." I heard my mother's voice as I got whacked in the
back, and landed on my face in the wet sand.
I got up,
picked up the fish, and turned, shaking my fist, yelling at the
dolphins! The whole school stood on their tails, laughing at me.
Then a dozen large fish came flying through the air. I selected
four, and threw the rest back to the waiting animals who fought over
the skiff, and pushed it back into the water. A moment later it was
back at the stern of the boat, and to my astonishment, as much as
anybody's, the dolphin rose up on her tail and tried to hand them
the rope. When they could not reach it, she threw it at them,
almost hitting the boatman in the head.
We said our
good-byes to our sea friends, and watched the usual air show which
was rather spectacular, since the school had grown so large.
"I am the
only one who has ever been hit with a fish." I started the climb to
the cave. "But every time I turn my back on them when the games are
over, I get hit with a fish. They never miss. The only times they
don't, are when Deejay is liable to get hurt. They and the dogs are
as protective of her as we are."
have around fifty; so many we've quit trying to name them. That's
not counting the puppies that are being born continuously, but the
pack has pretty much stabilized at around fifty adults. You don't
have to worry about them, as long as they don't think you are a
danger to Deejay. Then, I don't know what they would do."
you doing with so many dogs?" Dad asked.
kill them. They protect us and feed us. They never foul our cave
or patio, and they're always there when we need them. They were
barking at you this morning when you weren't much more than a dot on
the horizon." I went on to tell them about how God had blessed us
with our wonderful Sheba, whose loss still grieved us. I also
mentioned our acquisition of Little Sheba and Laddy, and the special
ones we wanted to take with us.
Leonard H. Hall, Sr.