The Camping Trip

by Arnold Nelson

      This is a fictitious story, unfortunately, I never got to spend time with my girls. Yes,I had girls,twin girls. Their names were Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline. I named them after 2 of my favorite singers. The mother left me before I knew she was pregnant. The only reason I knew about them was because her family took the time to write me, and phone me to tell me what was going on. I was in the Air Force at the time and the girls were born right after I was transferred to an airbase in Canada. First I got a letter saying she was pregnant. Then the next letter said I was a father of two beautiful girls, I was ecstatic. I couldn't wait to come back to the states so I could see them. Then about six months later I got a phone call from her sister asking me if I could come down because the state was taking the girls away from the mother, and they were hoping I could do something for the girls.

       The next day I traveled all day long. Early in the morning about 1 AM I arrived in Sacramento got a room and slept a few hours, about 7 AM I was on the first bus north to Orville, where they lived. It took about two hours on the bus, when I got to the family's house they were very glad to see me.

     Her mother took me around to the caseworker and I talked to her for a while. She showed her what she had on the mother. All I could say was I agree with you,I know what kind of mother she is. Then she said something that really hurt. She said that the mother put down someone else was the father. So that left me with almost no options, in the 70s the father didn't have many options anyway and mine were just cut severely.

    She told me I could sit in on the trial that was to be held next day, so I did, all they could talk about was the fact they wanted her son (from a different father) back. They didn't seem to care about the girls. The judge put the girls in the foster care and then I left, I had time to talk to the foster parents before I left. They told me to come see the girls anytime I wanted so. So I made time before I left the area to visit them and meet my girls. I had about an hour to spend with them. I tried to take some pictures, but my camera wouldn't work. The girls were beautiful. I had such a good time with him, but I had to leave.

     I had an airplane to catch. That was only time I got to see my girls, 18 months later they were dead. They died when they were left alone by swimming pool and they both fell in. I decided I wanted to write a story on what might have happened if I had had a chance to raise my girls, so here's the story. This is the story for two girls who never had a chance for life on earth. I know they are in heaven and someday I will be up there with them and no one will ever take them away from me again.

      From the time my girls were six I used to take them camping, we used to camp four or five times a summer. We loved Camping. We loved the outdoors. This event took place the summer they were ten years old. I told you they were twins, but even in twins one is usually dominant, Loretta was the dominant one. She was born first and always just slightly bigger, she liked to pick on Patsy, but if anybody else picked on Patsy, she would defend her sister as far as necessary. It other words, they were normal sisters.

     We were camping in one of our favorite places near Yosemite, California, I always took the girls when they had to go to the restroom but this time they begged me to let them go by themselves, . The restrooms were only about 100 feet from the cabin . So I finally agreed to let go. I told them they better stay together and better not get lost. So they skipped off to the restroom. I was cleaning up the cabin we rented while they were gone.

     About 15 or 20 minutes later, I started wondering where the girls were, so I found a lady camping next to us. I asked her to go in the restroom and check on girls. She came out a few minutes later and said the restroom was empty. I started to get scared. I walked all over the campground looking for them., there was no trace of the girls, finally, in desperation I went to see the Park Ranger.

     He was very nice, he got a search party organized right away and started looking for my girls. He told me to go back to my cabin and wait in case they returned. By now I was frantic, I was told all I could do was sit there by the cabin and wait, I thought I was going to go crazy. Some of the other campers who were not involved in the search stayed with me and tried to keep me calm .

     They tried to get me talking about other things to get my mind off the girls, but all I could think about was, where are my girls?, were they dead or alive? Finally about three or four hours later, the Ranger came up, I walked out to meet him. He told me the searchers had found my girls and they were fine. They was bringing the girls in and they would be here in about 30 min. I thought I was going to pass out, I was so excited and so relieved. I just sat down on the ground and cried tears of joy because the girls were found and they would be back shortly.

     A few minutes later a couple of the men help me up and took me back to the cabin and got me a chair to sit on. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity I saw my girls walking up the road with the two men that had found them, as soon as they saw me they started running towards me. At the same instant, I started running towards him. We met somewhere in the middle and just stood there hugging and crying and just so very happy to be together again. Then we turn to thank the searchers, but they had already disappeared and we didn't even know who they were. We went back to the cabin. We sat down and said a prayer of thanks that we were together again and we were safe. After the prayer both girls were talking at once. I said slow down. One girl at a time or I will never understand what you are trying to tell me.

     So Loretta started first, she said when we came out of the restroom there was a little deer standing nearby and we went over to get a closer look, but the deer ran off. So we started following it, we're sorry Daddy, we weren't thinking. We just started following the deer and before long we realized we were lost. We did what you always told us to do, if we got lost, we stayed where we were and waited. After a while, we got thirsty. We could hear water running, so we followed the sound and about 50 feet away was a creek. So we stayed by the creek and waited, then we could get a drink of water whenever we were thirsty. Then we started feeling hungry we looked around for berries like you taught us but there weren't any berries around so we just waited.

     Finally, we heard somebody yelling, they were calling our names. We yelled back, over here, a few minutes later we saw them. They came up to us and asked us if we were all right. We said, we're fine, just hungry. So they each got a candy bar out of their backpack and gave them to us and we started walking back, about halfway back Patsy said do you have any more candy I am still hungry. They gave each of us another candy bar. Then they brought us back to you. We were never so happy to see anybody in our whole lives. We're sorry daddy, we hope you are not mad at us.

      Then Patsy said I was so scared. I didn't know what to do. Loretta took care of me . She kept telling me someone would find us. Don't be mad at us, Daddy, Please! Patsy started crying. Then Loretta started crying. I just grabbed both girls and hugged them I said I'm not mad at you girls, but you sure have me worried today. Please don't ever pulled a stunt like that again. I don't think your old man could take it. They just started laughing.

       A few minutes later, one of the other campers came up and said we are having a celebration, a big dinner because of the return of the girls and the fact they are safe. Come, you three are the guest of honor. We can't start without you. I said give us a few minutes to get cleaned up and wash our faces. Then we will be over there so we change our clothes and walked over to the restrooms to wash up. Before they went in the restroom I said girls if you come out before I do, you wait right here and don't move 1 inch from this spot until I come out. they laughed and said together We won't daddy, we learned our lesson.

     When we got to the party. We could not believe all the food and all the decorations that they put together so fast. They led us to the head table and sat us down and somebody brought us food and drink. After the meal, I stood up, and made a short speech. I said I want to thank all the people that went out searching for my girls this morning. I especially want to thank the two men that brought my girls back to me. They left before I could thank them today. I don't even know who they are. But thank you anyway. God was with us today and my girls are back safe. And thank you all who sat with me all day long to me to keep me from going crazy. I also want to thank you for setting up this little party. I cannot believe you did this so fast. And a special thanks to the Ranger who organized the search party. I know I was a real pain today and I am sorry. You never know how you will react in a time of crisis until it happens. I know I did not react as good as I should have, I'm sorry. I want to thank all you that got me through this. I want to thank God for his infinite patience and for putting his arms around my girls and protecting them when they were lost.

      I sat down. Loretta whispered to me can I say few words Daddy. so I got up and said please wait one more minute. My daughter, Loretta, has a few words she wants to say. Loretta stood up Patsy and I are sorry for all the trouble we caused today. We saw a deer and we followed it.. We knew it was wrong, but we did it anyway, And then we got lost. Today we found out what God's love really felt like. When we were lost, we were afraid. We knew that Daddy would do everything he could to find us. We also knew that God was with us, daddy taught us that God is always with us. God kept us safe and sent the searchers to rescue us. We want to thank all of you for all the trouble you went through today. Patsy and I decided we would sing a song as our way of saying thanks. Then Patsy Stood up and they both sang Kumbaya after they got through Patsy had just one word to say. She said thanks.

      There was silence for about a minute. Then all of a sudden everybody started clapping. After the clapping died down. Loretta said we would like your help as we sing one of our Daddy's favorite songs. He prays every night for peace on earth. Today we had peace on this mountain as everybody came together for a common cause, to save two lost little girls. So let's all hold hands and sing Let There be Peace on Earth If you don't know the words hum along with us. Maybe the peace we found up here today can spread through out the world and there really will be Peace on Earth.

     Then she started singing and everyone joined in. Than one at a time, they all came up, the men took my hand, the ladies hugged me and they all hugged the girls. They all said want a lucky man I was and what beautiful girls I have. All I could do was agree with them. When we got back to the cabin I hugged the girls and sent them to bed. Then I sat out on the porch and had a long talk with God. I thanked him for bringing my girls back to me safely and for all my friends in the campground. I am one lucky man.

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