Five Short Stories by Five Kids
(Story #1, "The Adventure of a Great Fishing Trip')
Although it's been years ago, I remember the fire and the way we kids gathered around its flickering flame to watch the magic of glow. As each flame climbed to its peak we would see the miracle of its flicker and read into its interpretation. And we each guessed what each flame meant as we each listened to each others dreams with the greatest of reverence. And before the stories would end, dad would come in and give us that awful command, "It's your bed time, so scatter; brush your teeth and go."
Luckily for us winter was more than one night long and the snow flakes that kept the fires going were mostly miracles in our minds. And although the next morning brought chores to each of us, the next night also brought the miracle of the flame back and the stories never ended. I remember the stories my oldest brother told most of all, but note that each child had a story that was invented in their own mind and each of us believed in what we shared. There was more truths to each story than fiction although each story did have its share of maybe's and maybe not's.
If you are reading this and want to become a believer, then you will gladly join the believers versus the believer not's (if such a word exist). So believers step inside the flames that are flickering and telling this tale. Because it is a wild one that you and only you will believe - if you decide miracles are real.
One story was that my oldest brother told us. It was that of a child lost in a snowstorm just a week before Christmas Day. The child was a stranger to the town's folk, but not a stranger to his mother and father. They were traveling through a part of the country they had never encountered. And their journey carried them to a place where they sought shelter for themselves and their child. But conditions were not in their favor, as they approached the tiny town they ran into trouble and became stranded and a snow storm encompassed them just on the outskirts of the town's limits.
It was like Mary trying to find a place for the baby Jesus with all of the inns full and no room for a lonely mother and her sweet child. So as you read on, I'll attempt to remember the first of these five stories as told by my brother. It is ultimately up to you to rekindle these truths and pass them on. Hopefully in front of a fire on a cold winter's night, just before old St. Nick appears and as the celebration of a child born enters your hearts and minds.
He told the story something like this.
We left the house in a 1967 Buick Skylark " we were heading out on a winter's adventure I will never forget. It was suppose to be the adventure of a great fishing story, but as time tells, it became more or less a story of survival. See the flames flickering, he said. As high as those flames flicker is the height of freight that overcame mom and me in the nights and days we were stranded on our great fishing adventure. Let me tell you how it all started. You and you and you and you weren't born yet, so it was just us. You're mom, dad, and me. Dad himself was an adventurer alone, so he didn't really need me and mom tagging along. Why he took us, I have no idea. But he did, maybe it was his Christmas present to us,
The little lake we were going to was only about seventy-five miles from the house, but it was seventy-five miles we had never traveled. As a child I couldn't wait to get there and catch the big one. You see, we were going for Walleye. At my age I had no idea what the heck a Walleye was or even if it was a fish. To me it sounded more like a Cyclopes or some sort of one-eyed monster. So the thought of such a catch made the adventure sound even more enchanting. And believe me it did turn out to be an adventure.
It all started when we just twenty miles from the lake. I was in the back seat and I could see the glimmer of a cold winter's sun reflecting off the shimmering snow flakes falling that day. This was a picture I thought would live in my mind forever. And somehow it does, but an even bigger picture lives forever in my mind that I will never ever forget. It's the picture of our dad stopping the car and contemplating the mud hole that lie before us, an awesome obstacle blocking us from our final destination. Then it happened.
Yep, you guessed it; dad decided that mud hole was no obstacle at all. He put that Skylark in reverse, backed up about a hundred feet and gunned it. He hit the gas like that old Buick was a rocket with flames blowing backwards as we jetted ahead. Guess what happened next! Yep, you guessed it again; we mired up so deep a tractor couldn't have pulled us out. But that was not the worse of it. That mud hole was about seven miles from civilization of any kind. My brother went on to say that he would never forget daddy's words that day. He claimed daddy said calmly, "Well looks like we're stuck". I'm convinced to this day that through my brother's recollection daddy sounded just like that. And a funny thing about a mud hole, if it's big enough and deep enough to bury your exhaust pipes, you're out of luck. For some strange reason my brother couldn't explain why a car's engine won't run if the exhaust is under water. Even though we didn't understand this part of the story, it was easy for us to just assume this was factual.
So now Mother Nature beckons, a dad, a mother and a child to survive such a predicament. Somehow the flames of the fire seemed even warmer as the story went on and as each of us envisioned how awful that predicament must have been. Two days and two nights we sat in that old car, he said, just waiting for daddy to come back. Now it seems like time was against us. The temperature kept falling and there was no sign of daddy.
I'm not sure of the exact thoughts my brother was thinking, but I remember he said mother wrapped him in news papers for insulation and then she ran and walked the seven or more miles in less that the four hours she figured she could safely be gone. Only an angle could have carried her so swiftly through the falling snow and falling temperatures. Thankfully an angle was there. The angle was disguised as an old farmer. But that old farmer knew from mother's condition that time was against them.
He had not been at the farm house two days earlier when dad would have surely passed by, the old man had been farther north hunting game to survive the winter's cold. So he was no comfort to mom in that sense, but he was the savior of the moment for her and surely me. In his large barn was his winter vehicle, it was a huge dump truck the size of small house. It was bigger than any Tonka toy imagined. And the best part was the fact that it ran and had a heater that actually worked.
As she climbed aboard that huge truck by pulling herself upward, she said she would never forget the smile on the old farmer's face as he said, "We'll get your boy and say a prayer for husband". Although my brother said his fingers and toes felt so hot that day, and his ears felt as cold as the snow that lay outside, he watched as another flame flickered and asked us if we could hear the sound of the fire. Shhhh, just listen and hear the fire roar. That's the sound I heard in a distance that day, and that sound exploded as a huge truck popped up over the hill. I've never seen anything that big in my life, he shouted.
And then I saw momma's face grinning with the biggest grin you could imagine, through that dirty old windshield her face glowed just like this old fire does. And although she had tears in her eyes, I knew by her smile that everything would be alright.
His story was drawing towards and ends, but we were so excited at the time we didn't realize bedtime was just around the corner. So we sat there and listened as he paused for just a second to rub his hands together in front of the fire, just as a reminder that they were no longer cold and feeling pain. He then turned around to let the fire provide a little warmth to the back of his legs. And as he turned back to the fire he went on with his story.
Well the old farmer easily pulled us out of the mud hole we had been in for the last two days. What a relief, and guess what? That old Skylark cranked up like it was making fun of that old mud hole. Oh how sweet the sound was of engine now running, and even though it took a few more minutes, soon mom and I felt the flicker of heat starting to come from the vents inside our new found home. She and I both knew that the mobile house we had spent the last two days in was now an automobile again
"But what about dad", we cried. Well here is what happened next he told us. The old farmer knew we would be alright now, so I knew when he honked that big horn on that great big truck and began backing up and leaving as he waved to the two of us, he was on another mission; one to find daddy. And he sure was a fast angle.
He had no more left when over the same hill on which he disappeared another vehicle came into view. At first it was hard to make out, but as it came closer and closer, I could see it. It was an old, old truck " maybe an older model Chevrolet he said, or maybe an old Ford, but I could see Daddy riding up just as mom had minutes before. The next thing we knew, we were all hugging and crying and laughing. But best of all we were a family again. Daddy thanked the kind stranger that helped him out so much and even offered him what little money we had, but this stranger, as the one before was just happy that we were alright and back together again as a family.
Soon we were back on our journey, except this time it wasn't the last twenty miles to the lake of giant fish; instead daddy just wanted to go about seven miles farther to thank the old farmer he had not met. Daddy kept saying that he couldn't understand how he missed the old farmer's house, but he claimed he never saw it. I always guessed it was the blinding snow. That's why he had traveled even farther until he found another man with a truck that wouldn't start. Dad said he couldn't tromp back through the snow and cold that far without help so he stayed with the farmer until he had his old truck running. He said the farmer was so happy he could finally get to town again and thanked dad over and over, and he kept thanking dad as they drove that old truck back to us.
And as we drove we kept looking for the angle's farm, but we could never find it. There was no old farm house that close and no big barn either. Once daddy realized this, he and mom came to the same conclusion and right then and there he stopped the car. Then they both prayed a prayer and as they said amen, we turned that old Skylark around and headed back home, where daddy made a fire that was warm as this one. That's when my brother told us to look closely into the flames and maybe we would see that big truck in them and that old barn as well.
And as promised, just as he finished the story, we heard daddy say "It's your bed time, so scatter; brush your teeth and go." I know we all slept that night with the same dream; the dream that angles do exist and maybe one day we would each see our own.
Story By: W.L. Williams