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Friday, July 20, 2018

Missing: One Junior Ranger - Part 5

Good morning, Friday Fiction Fans,
I don't know about where you live, but here it's hot. And humid. Yesterday it reached 107º. Ugh. Thankfully storm clouds blew in late afternoon and the temperature dropped to the 80s for a while. We didn't get any rain, though there were a few rumbles of thunder.

This has been a good writing week. I decided I wanted to spend one day doing more writing than normal. So, since I usually only write later afternoon and evening, I started in the morning and got over 1k written. In the afternoon I wrote more, and in the evening I wrote again. My total word count for the day was 4,284 words. That bumped me up on my Camp NaNo goal quite a bit. I also wrote on Monday, Wednesday, and yesterday. I think I'll be able to reach my 20k goal and even surpass it.

I've been doing a lot of planning and trying to figure out what I need to work on of all my many different projects. Sometimes I feel rather overwhelmed, but when I break each project into smaller ones, then it's easier. The sad note this week is that I've hardly read anything! I read two shorter stories on Sunday, and a shorter one last night, and that is it. No wonder I want to read!

Anyway, that's that. I don't know if many of you are even reading this since it's summer and most likely you are all busy. Oh, well. I did contemplate just leaving you hanging on this story, but I decided to be nice.

Missing: One Junior Ranger
Part 5

    “She doesn’t know much about the radio. But let’s get out to the fort and check on her. She’s probably waiting for us to return.” Don’s words sent the others hurrying toward the door.
    “Don.”
    Turning back, Don paused behind the others at the door and looked back at his brother’s serious face. “Let me know as soon as you find out if she’s there.”
    With a quick nod and a “Sure thing, Sam,” Don was out the door and running after the Junior Rangers.

    Puffing up to the gate of the fort, the six Junior Rangers paused a moment to catch their breath. The large wooden gate was shut just as they had left it, but that wasn’t unusual. Don was the first to reach the gate, unlatch and swing it wide open. “Sharon?” he shouted.
    There was no answer.
    “All right, everyone split up,” Don ordered. “Look for any sign that she might have been here.” As the others scattered across the yard, Don raced for the stairs that led to their club room in one of the block houses. Pushing the door open he looked around quickly. There was no sign of anyone having been there. “Hey, guys!” he turned to shout. “Sharon’s pack is still here.” Not waiting to see what the others would do, Don hurried to the radio set and turned it on.
    “XNV-451 to XNR-457. Come in. XNV-451 to XNR-457.”
    “XNR-457 to XNV-451. What’s the story Don?”
    “She hasn’t been here, Sam. Her pack’s still in the club house, and there’s no sign of her.”
    Sam didn’t hesitate. “You kids head back over the trail to her house. I’ll get Mike, and we’ll take the truck over the road. If you find any sign of her on the trail, radio us.”
    “Okay, Sam. Over and out.” Flipping off the switch, Don turned around to find the other Junior Rangers crowding around behind him. “You all heard Sam?” They nodded. “Then let’s go find Sharon.”

    The trial was quiet. Each person was intent on looking for signs. Finally, after they had covered quite a bit of ground, Bob spoke. “The way I figure it, if she’d left the trail on this side over here,” and he motioned with his hand, “then she would have found the road.”
    “But she might have gone off on the other side of the trail,” Tessie said.
    “Look!” Don pointed. “Footprints.”
    “Oh, Don, they lead off the trail into the woods.” And Angie crouched down to get a better look.
    For a moment the children stood. “We can follow the trail as far as we can, but we might need Mike.” Don paused. “I wonder if he and Sam are still in the truck.”
    “Want me to radio and find out?” Grant asked, patting the portable set he had been carrying.
    “Yeah. Sam said to let them know.”
    This was done, and Sam promised that he and Mike would be there soon. “Start following the trail, but be careful,” Sam instructed before ending the call.
    Eagerly the Junior Rangers started off into the woods. Since Don was the most experienced tracker, he led the way, and the others followed in silence. Minutes ticked by slowly. Where was Sharon, and why had she left the trail?
    “Don,” Tessie asked at last,” why do you suppose Sharon didn’t stay on the path?”
    “I don’t know. If Mike were here, he could probably tell us.”
    “Here he comes,” Bob said, glancing over his shoulder. Everyone stopped and waited as the Indian and the chief forest ranger reached the group. Mike stepped ahead of Don and crouched down to look at the faint tracks in the ground.
    At last he stood up. “I think she was following something.” Mike started off. Soon he halted. “She has returned but lost the trail and goes off slightly.”
    “She returned from where, Mike?”
    Mike shook his dark head. “That I don’t know. But these tracks are newer.”
    Angie leaned down to look. “How do you know?”
    “They are on top of the other ones.”
    Sam spoke up for the first time. “How new are they?”
    “Some time yesterday, I think.”

Have you ever had to find someone?
How long do you think it'll take them to find Sharon?
Has your summer been really hot?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Missing: One Junior Ranger - Part 4

Good morning, Me!
Oh, hi! Nice to see you. How's your week been?
Rather crazy! And it's not over yet! Here's quick look.

Saturday – Morning I went out door knocking/lit dropping with some friends for my brother's campaign. It was a beautiful morning! It did get warm though. Afternoon I built a water rocket. Later afternoon/evening we picked up all 7 of my nieces and nephews and headed to the home of a family from church who were hosting a large 4th of July party. (Only it was on the 7th.) It was so much fun! They live out in the country and have a great big, flat yard where you can see everyone. There was a play set for the little kids, volley ball net, plenty of room to run, and a baseball diamond. The night ended with a wonderful display of fireworks. (I didn't get to bed until almost midnight.)
Sunday – Normal things except that my sis and I had to stay and practice music a little afterwards. I spend most of the afternoon reading after I took a nap.
Monday – Everything I did seemed to be in slow motion because I was so tired. Got writing in.
Tuesday – I had a student come in the morning for class. Got other things done including writing.
Wednesday – My nieces and nephews came over later morning so we could practice "Hurray for Newsy Jones." (They wanted to do it as a play again for my grandma's 90th birthday.) That was fun but kind of crazy. I don't know how the play will go. :) I was able to get 1k written late afternoon which was good because I worked nursery that night at church.
Thursday – Spend the day trying to get as much done as I could. I had emails to send, things to put away, chapters to check, and more. Then three nephews came over around 4:30 and stayed until almost 9.
Friday – That's today. I'm going to see what else I can get done because this evening another set of kids is coming over. Busters is going to be here again, and the girls this time. Not sure if any of the boys will come or not. 
Saturday – Is the big day! My grandparents are coming down with my aunt, we're eating lunch all together with my brother and his family, doing the play, and hanging out together. Oh, yes. And eating ice cream cake. It'll be a crazy busy day. I hope I can get some writing in.

Wow! Sounds busy. I don't know how you manage to get any writing done!
Me either, actually. But I've talked enough. I have other things I need to do. Thanks for letting me chatter since I think my usual readers are on vacation or busy with Camp NaNo.
No problem.

Missing: One Junior Ranger
Part 4

    The fire crackled brightly as it danced along the wood Don and Timmy had heaped up. Sitting around the blaze, the Junior Rangers talked and sang, laughed at jokes, and planned a fishing trip for next week. Into a lull in the chatter Tessie said, “I wish Sharon had been able to come. She said she’d never been camping before.”
    “We’ll just have to do it again when she can come,” Don said in his easy manner, breaking a small stick and tossing it into the flames.
    Silence fell over the small group of campers sitting around the fire. Above them the stars sparkled, and a large moon rose above the trees. Angie shifted and wrapped her arms around her knees. “I have a funny feeling,” she began.
    “Should we laugh?” Timmy joked from across the circle.
    But Angie didn’t smile. “I keep think about Sharon. Maybe we should have tried to find out if she was coming.”
    “How?” Tessie asked while the boys all looked at Angie. “We don’t have a phone at the fort.”
    “I know. I guess we could have asked Sam on the radio to call the Donaldsons.” Turning to Don, she asked, “Could we do that now?”
    Quickly Don glanced down at his watch in the glow of the firelight. “It’s too late. Most likely she forgot about the trip–”
    “Not Sharon!” Tessie and Angie exclaimed at once.
    “She did sound excited about it,” Timmy put in while Bob and Grant nodded their agreement.
    “Well, maybe something came up at the last minute and she had to go somewhere with her aunt.” Don gave a half shrug. “There’s nothing we can do now. Let’s get some sleep. We’ll find out in the morning where she is. We could even stop by the Donaldson place on the way back to Little Falls.”
    There really was nothing else to do, and the group settled down around the fire in their sleeping bags under the stars.

*

    Crack. Rustle. Crack.
    The sound roused Sharon from a light slumber, and she gripped the branch she had been leaning on and held her breath. What was that sound? As she strained her ears in the stillness, she couldn’t hear anything but the pounding of her own heart and the distant sound of water,. Everything was dark. The leafy branches overhead blocked out the friendly stars, and even the moon was only a faint glow.
    Another twig snapped somewhere in the forest, and Sharon gasped. Her body grew rigid. Something was out there.
    A tree rustled its leaves softly, and Sharon began to tremble. Drawing up her feet which had been hanging over the branch, she was thankful for the two branches that formed a sort of chair. With one arm wrapped around the higher branch, she hugged her knees close to her with the other and waited.
    Silence.
    At last her breathing grew steadier and her racing heart slowed.
    “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not.” It seemed as though Sharon could hear her uncle’s voice as he had read the verse. Had it really been that morning? To her weary and taut nerves, it felt like days ago.
    “Be strong, fear not,” she whispered to herself, trying to relax. “What was that verse about the lion and the ravenous beast not being there?” She couldn’t remember. “Please, dear Jesus,” she prayed, “don’t let anything come and hurt me. And please let someone find me in the morning. Help me not to be afraid.”
    Some leaves rustled, then a twig almost under Sharon’s tree, snapped.
    She screamed.

*

    The late morning was just as beautiful as it had been the day before. In the Ranger Station, Sam rose from his desk and stepped over to pour himself another cup of coffee. It was nearly eleven, but Sam wouldn’t take a lunch break until his assistant arrived.
    When the front door opened, the chief ranger looked over his shoulder and grinned as his younger brother and some of the Junior Rangers came in. “Hi,” he greeted them. “How was the campout?”
    “It was great,” Don said. “We’re planning a fishing trip next week.”
    “Fine. Oh, Angie,” Ranger Sam said, looking past his brother to the girl, “Sharon is supposed to go home with you for a few days while her aunt is visiting a sick sister and her uncle is out of town.”
    “All right. Is she waiting at their house?”
    A puzzled frown crossed Sam’s face. “No, her aunt said she was camping with all of you.”
    The Junior Rangers exchanged worried looks.
    “What’s wrong, Don?” Sam asked.
    “Sharon never joined us at the fort yesterday, Sam. We thought she just couldn’t make it and left a note for her.”
    “Hey,” Grant exclaimed excitedly, “I’ll bet she just stayed at the fort. She probably came after we had gone, didn’t know how to find us, and decided to spend the night there.”
    “Then why didn’t she radio you?” Sam looked from one face to another.

Do you ever get funny feelings about something?
How was your week?
Do you want the next part of this story?

Friday, July 6, 2018

Missing: One Junior Ranger - Part 3

Good morning FFFs,

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July! Mine was rather hot in the morning since I went out with my dad, and sis, to walk in a parade with my brother. There were 45-50 people wearing t-shirts with his name on them, holding signs, flags, and passing out candy. It was a lot of fun even if it was hot. 

The rest of the day I spent pretty much inside reading, and watching some patriotic songs on youtube. One though, left me shaking my head. It was "supposedly" the "true" story behind the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner. Ha! This guy must not know his history! He called us "the colonies" as though we were fighting the Revolution instead of the War of 1812! Then he only mentioned Frances Scott Key going aboard the British ship to talk about a prisoner exchange. He neglected to mention that there was at least one other man with Key. He said the British were going to release the prisoners anyway the next day because the war would be over since Fort McHenry would fall and they'd release the prisoners. Huh? Next he said the entire British navy of hundreds of war ships all came to be a part of bombing Fort McHenry. My sister wanted to know how they all managed to fit. Anyway, it went on like that and I shook my head. I think that man needed to do a little more reading.

Anyway, . . . This has been a good writing week. Since Camp NaNo started I have managed to get 4,400+ words written. I'm aiming for over 5k this week. Tomorrow I won't be writing as a family from church is hosting a 4th of July get together at their place.

But I know you all must be busy, so I won't keep you.

Missing: One Junior Ranger
Part 3

    The little fawn turned his head and looked at her a moment before giving a few hesitant steps forward. Then, with a sudden bound, he trotted off to disappear into the forest.
    Carefully Sharon gathered the fishing line and tucked it carefully into her pocket. “I don’t want something else to get caught.” After she was sure she hadn’t left a single piece, she stood up, suddenly realizing that it was growing later. “I hope I’m not too late! I’ll run.” With that thought she set off the way she had come, jumping over large sticks, ducking under low branches, and dodging around rocks and tree trunks until she was out of breath. Stopping, she rested her hands on her knees, her breath heavy.
    Feeling her air returning, she straightened and looked about. “Now, where is that path?” she muttered. “I didn’t go that far into the woods, did I?” For a long minute she stood still looking about her. “Perhaps I shouldn’t run.” Once again she set off, this time at a slower pace.
    The path refused to be found. Instead, a small clearing popped up.
    “Now where did you come from?” Sharon demanded, planting her hands on her hips and glaring at the clearing where the prints of a small deer and a child were clearly to be seen. “I must have gone in a circle. Now I’ll really be late. I wonder if they’re waiting for me.” With a sigh, Sharon unscrewed the lid on her canteen and took a drink. “Well, if I’m careful, I should be able to find my way back to the path.”
    Though she hadn’t lived in the forest for long, Sharon had spent hours with the other Junior Rangers and Mike Big Eagle, an Indian who worked as a guide around Little Falls when he wasn’t teaching the Junior Rangers something or off on his own. Now, trying to remember everything Mike had said, Sharon started off again, taking care to look for footprints.
    This was easy at first, for the ground was soft. But later the footprints disappeared, and Sharon was left bewildered. “There has to be a way to find the path again,” she said. “What else did Mike say about tracking?” Frowning in thought, she stood still and looked around her. Suddenly her face brightened. “Branches. I probably broke some small branches because I was so busy watching the deer.”
    With renewed energy, she set forth once again. It was slow going, and several times she spent several minutes searching for some broken twig or a footprint. “I know I’m going to miss the camp out,” she thought, “but when I find the trail I can go to the fort anyway and get my things. Maybe I’ll sleep there.” That thought didn’t sound too appealing. “Maybe I will just go into Little Falls and see if Sam can tell me how to get to the Prestler’s.” With these happy thoughts, Sharon began to look for signs again, but while she had been thinking, she had been walking. There were no signs to be found.

*

    The sun began to set. The light in the forest faded into gray as the sun sank lower and lower. Sharon shivered. If only she could make a fire to keep herself warm and to keep away any strange animals. “I’d better find a place to spend the night,” she thought dismally. She looked around. Not too far from where she stood was a large tree. Several sturdy branches grew not too far from the ground and seemed to offer a place to sit and rest. Quickly Sharon hurried over and looked up.
    A sigh escaped her lips, for the branches stretched several feet above her head. “I don’t think even Mike could reach those, or Sam either,” she said, thinking of the tall Indian and the forest ranger. “Perhaps I can find a branch or fallen tree that I can use as a ladder.”
    It took some searching before a suitable branch was found. Then Sharon had the difficulty of dragging it over to the tree and getting it situated against the large trunk. But at last it was up. Breathing heavily, Sharon surveyed her work. She wasn’t sure she liked the idea of spending the night in a tree, but it was better than on the ground without a fire.
    Carefully she climbed up her shaky ladder, testing each step before trusting her full weight to it. The ladder didn’t quite reach the large branch, but it was close enough so Sharon could grab it and pull herself up. As she did so, however, her foot kicked her ladder and it slid along the trunk.
    “It didn’t fall though,” Sharon reassured herself once she was safely in the tree. “It’s too dark to try and do anything now. I’ll worry about it in the morning.” She had no hope of rescue that night, for her aunt would think she was with the other Junior Rangers, and the kids would probably think she hadn’t been able to make it. “Unless they radioed the Ranger Station and Sam called Aunt Penny to ask where I was.”

Have you ever been lost in the woods?
How was your 4th of July?
Are you doing Camp NaNo this month?

Friday, June 29, 2018

Missing: One Junior Ranger - Part 2

Morning FFFs,
It's Hot! Last evening it was still in the 90s and it was 9:00 at night. But what makes it worse is the humidity! Ugh! We are under an Extreme Heat Advisory through tomorrow. Just the kind of day you want to go do door knocking. Right? :P Ha. But that's what's on the schedule for tomorrow morning. At least the heat index is supposed to be only around 100º instead of 115º like it was another time we were out knocking doors during a campaign.

This week has been busy! Starting with last Friday evening when 5 of the 7 kids were over. (Doodle Bug and Buddy went with Brother and Sis-in-Law.) They didn't go home until around 9:30 as my brother, Dad, and Sis-in-Law got to talking about food for my brother's big fund raiser event for his campaign.
Saturday Sis and I helped all morning with a large fund raiser garage sale.
Sunday after Church we helped pack up things from the garage sale.
Monday I had a long list of things to work on.
Tuesday I had one student in the morning, and Funny Boy, Buddy, and Ti-K all day. That evening was my brother's fund raiser. It was fun. :) There were over a hundred people who came. We didn't get home until about 10:00
Wednesday I tried to get things done and take a nap. ;)
Thursday my "to-do" list as about as long as it was on Monday.
Today is my best friends' birthday(s). One lives in Canada so I won't be able to do anything with her. The other lives just down the street though and we want to do something together.

And that, my readers, is what I've been up to. What have you been doing?

Missing: One Junior Ranger
Part 2


    A sudden movement to in the woods startled her and her heart thudded against her ribs. What was that? Her courage faltered, but the fear dissolved a moment later when a fawn limped into a clearing between a few trees.
    “Oh,” Sharon breathed, “he’s hurt.” Slowly, carefully so as not to startle the little deer, Sharon crept toward it. One thing she had learned with the Junior Rangers was how cruel it was to let an injured animal suffer. “It’s all right, little thing,” she whispered. “I only want to help.” It was then that she saw something tied or twisted around one of the fawn’s back legs.
    The deer took a few steps away and again paused.
    “Don’t run away, I won’t hurt you.”
    Still leery of the strange creature, though not old enough to associate Sharon with danger, the young animal limped farther into the trees, pausing every few steps to look back.

*

    “Does everyone have their packs ready?” Don asked, looking around the fort at the other Junior Rangers. As the oldest of the kids in Little Falls, and the younger brother of the local chief ranger, Don had been elected the leader of the Junior Rangers.
    “Don, Sharon hasn’t come yet,” Tessie said.
    “Well, is she coming for sure?”
    “I thought she was.” Tessie looked over at Angie. “Didn’t she say she was coming?”
    “She said she thought she could come. She didn’t think her aunt and uncle would object.” Angie shrugged.
    “Can’t we wait a little longer, Don?”
    Don looked at his watch. It was the time they had agreed upon to leave the fort. “Okay, we’ll wait a little longer,” he agreed with an easy smile. “A few minutes won’t matter.”
    Ten minutes passed and there was no sign of Sharon. The others were beginning to grow impatient.
    “Let’s give her five more minutes,” Don suggested. “Then, if she’s not here, we’ll leave her a note and head out. Who knows, we might meet her on the way. We’re heading in that direction.”
    When five minutes was up the Junior Rangers shouldered their packs and set off, leaving a note tacked to the fort gate telling Sharon when they’d be back. As they started out, Don turned on his portable radio and called the ranger station. “XNV-451 calling XNR-457. Come in XNR.”
    “XNR-457 to XNV-451, go ahead.”
    “Hi Sam, just wanted to say we’re heading off now. Over.”
    “You taking the trail by the river? Over.”
    “Yeah. We’re camping at Mr. and Mrs. Prestler’s. Over.”
    “All right. Have fun. Over.”
    “Will do. See you tomorrow. Over and out.”
    “Over and out.”

*

    Sam Oleson whistled softly to himself as he pulled out some files and sat down at his desk in the ranger station in Little Falls. As much as he would have enjoyed being out in the forest on such a lovely day, he had paperwork to do. Breaking off his whistling, he began to read.
    The opening of the door interrupted him some time later, and he looked up.
    “Good afternoon, Ranger Oleson.”
    “Afternoon, Mrs. Donaldson.” And the ranger stood up with a smile. “Is there something I can help you with?”
    “It’s not much really,” Penny Donaldson began, holding her purse in both hands. “It’s just that I got a message that my sister is sick, and I have to leave right away. My husband has gone to work, and you know he won’t be back for three days.” When she paused for breath the ranger nodded. “Sharon has gone camping with the other Junior Rangers and I can’t reach her. And I wouldn’t want to take her with me anyway. I talked to Angie’s mom, and she’s supposed to stay with them until I get back. Or until Ken gets back. But I can’t tell Sharon that.” She paused once again for breath.
    “I’m sure the kids will come by here when they return,” Ranger Oleson said. “I can let Sharon know she’s to go home with Angie, if that would help.”
    “Oh, it would be a tremendous help if you would, Ranger Oleson,” And Penny Donaldson sighed with relief. “Thank you. I must be on my way now.”
    “Have a safe trip, and I hope your sister is better soon.”
    With another “Thank you!” the door closed behind the visitor and Ranger Oleson returned to his paperwork. “If the kids don’t stop by, Don will radio from the fort and I’ll pass the message on. No use interrupting their trip now.”

*

    In a small clearing, the young fawn stopped. He didn’t move as Sharon slowly crept up and stooped. Gently but quickly, her nimble fingers worked on the tangled piece of fishing line that was twisted about the small leg.
    “You poor thing,” she murmured, pulling out the small jack knife her uncle had given her and cutting the line. “I’m sure it must hurt. Who would leave fishing line in a place where something could get caught in it? There you are, little one,” she crooned, freeing the last bit of line and pulling it away. “You can go find your mama now.”

Have you ever strayed from a path in the woods?
Do you like camping?
What did you do this week?

Friday, June 22, 2018

Missing: One Junior Ranger - Part 1

Hello FFFs,
Yes, I have a fiction story for you. Well, part of one anyway. I can't give you the entire thing all at once, you know.

How has your week been? Mine is busy, like usual. I've gotten some writing in, some reading in, and whole lot of other things done. I've been trying to work on blog posts for Read Another Page since I was pretty much doing them right before they needed to post instead of getting them scheduled ahead of time. I have done some test writing for someone who wants me to "ghost write" something for him. He made a DVD, got the transcript, and now wants the transcript turned into a book. No, it's not fiction. That would be fun. ;)

Last evening my nieces and nephews were all over and it was crazy. They were all a bit on the wound-up side except Busters. He was just tired. All the kids except 2 are going to be here again this evening. Political events.

This month has not been a very good writing month so far. I'm really hoping next month will be better. Oh, did you know Kate and I have started planning for our annual Five Fall Favorites blog party? Well, we did! And if you aren't on Goodreads, I'll have a link on my Read Another Page blog, on Tuesday, that you can sign up to be considered for a host in the party if you are interested. It isn't committing you to be a part, and it doesn't promise you a place either. It is just to see who might be interested in doing the party with us. So, if you have a blog, and want to be a part, don't forget to sign up.

And now, here's the first part of this story. Enjoy!


Missing: One Junior Ranger
Part 1

    Sharon wiggled her toes inside her shoes and tried to sit still. It was difficult, for the sun was shining brightly, the birds were all twittering and singing, and June’s warm weather had the flowers blooming in every direction across the meadow. Sharon knew that the shady forests would be cool and pleasant, and she could hardly wait until she was allowed to go.
    “Say to them that are or a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold your God will come . . . He will come and save you.” Uncle Ken continued reading, his glasses on the edge of his nose as he peered through them to see the fine print of his Bible. “No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there.”
    Why did Uncle Ken have to read something so solemn this morning? Sharon wondered, swinging her legs a little. The book of Isaiah always seemed dull to her. She much preferred Esther, Ruth, or Samuel. Who wanted to think about being afraid today? What was there to be afraid of? Oh, she knew in a general sort of way that there were wild animals in the national forest, but she’d never seen any in the two weeks since she had come out to spend the summer with her aunt and uncle.
    Already she felt at home among the inhabitants of the small town of Little Falls where the population was sixty-three. The children had welcomed Sharon warmly, and in a matter of days she had become a member of the Junior Rangers. Smiling slightly, she glanced down at the image of Smoky Bear on the front of her teeshirt.
    “Sharon,” Aunt Penny’s soft voice brought Sharon back from her dreams with a guilty start.
    Glancing quickly from her aunt to her uncle, Sharon folded her hands and bowed her head as her uncle prayed. He thanked the Lord for the day and asked a blessing on each member of the family, adding, “And Lord, please keep the Junior Rangers safe on their camping trip, and may they walk with You. In Jesus Name, amen.”
    “Amen,” Sharon echoed. She was free! Her eyes sparkled with eagerness. “Can I go to the fort now?”
    The children of Little Falls had converted the old stockade into their special clubhouse. In it they held meetings, planned outings, kept their camping gear and canoes, and even stabled the horses there during the summer months when they used them the most. The adults of Little Falls and of the few houses surrounding the town smiled and treated the Junior Rangers and their fort with respect, for they all worked hard, followed the rules, and had a radio if they needed to call for help.
    “Can I go now?” Sharon asked again.
    Aunt Penny laughed. “Not yet, dear, it’s still early. You all aren’t supposed to leave until after lunch, are you?”
    “No, but we have to get ready. Tessie, Angie, and I are going to share a tent, and I don’t want to be late.”
    Uncle Ken rose from his chair. “What about your chores, Sharon?”
    “I already made my bed and picked up my clothes.”
    “Right after lunch you may leave,” Aunt Penny said. “I’ll even drive you over to the fort if you want.”
    Sharon shook her head. “No, thanks. I can walk.”
    “Listen, Sharon,” Aunt Penny laid a hand on her niece’s shoulder, “I’ll tell you what. If you’ll water the flowers in the flowerbeds for me, I’ll fix you an early lunch and then you can be on your way.”
    A smile brightened Sharon’s face. “All right.” At least she was going to be outside. And she really didn’t mind watering the flowers.

    At last lunch was over, and Sharon was free to go. Her things for the overnight trip were already at the fort, and all Sharon had to take was her canteen full of water. With a goodbye hug to her aunt, Sharon hurried out of the door.
    “Are you sure you know the way to the fort from here, Sharon? You’ve never gone alone before.”
    “I’m sure, Aunt Penny. I just have to follow the road, then take the trail where the large rocks are and follow it to the other side of the forest. Then it’s an easy walk over the hill, back to the road, and then to the fort. See, I know.”
    “All right, but be careful. And have fun, Sharon!”
    “I will! See you tomorrow!” With a wave, Sharon started off down the rutted path which marked the road, leaving her aunt behind on the stoop. Uncle Ken had left while Sharon was watering the flowers. “If Mom and Dad could see me now,” Sharon thought, turning off the road to the forest trail, “they probably wouldn’t recognize me. I don’t feel shy here like I do back in the city. Maybe that’s because there aren’t as many people out here.” She gave a little skip of pleasure.
    The leaves of the towering trees provided a pleasant shade from the summer sun, and Sharon stopped now and then to look around or to stroke the needles of the pines and smell their enchanting aroma. It was the first time Sharon had ever been completely alone in the forest before, and it gave her a queer feeling of daring and bravery.

Have you ever gone to stay with relatives for the summer?
Have you ever been alone in the woods or forest?
Are you excited about the Five Fall Favorites party?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Just My Life

Hello Readers,

Sorry, I don't have a new fiction story for you this week. I'm still working on an old, temporary computer. Mine is not going to be getting fixed as it costs around $400. just to get the part for it. The computer guy told me he thought it would be better to put that money into another computer. So . . . Back to computer shopping I go. :P I'm not particularly fond of getting a new computer and trying to settle into it.

I've gotten some written this week. Not a lot, but some. I was working on, and am almost finished writing, a story for the blog. I started it with the idea that it would be a month story, but I don't think it will. I think I'll just post it on here and then decide what I want to do with it. But I need to get to the end of the story first, and get it edited. Perhaps you'll get part one next week, but it's not a guaranty.

Yesterday my aunt came down for the day, and in the late afternoon my brother and sis-in-law dropped off all 7 kids and went out on a date. The kids loved having Aunt M. here. They played games with her, and the birthday boy (Doodle Bug) chose to sit at her table during supper. Aunt M. had also brought cookies and rice crispy treats for everyone. They loved them. :) Even Busters (10 months old) didn't holler as soon as he was done eating like he has been doing. Maybe that was because he got to eat french fries like the big kids. :)
The kids had wanted to do "Hurray for Newsy Jones" for Aunt M., but we didn't have a lot of time. So, since she and my grandparents are coming down next month to celebrate Grandma's 90th birthday, I told the kids we would practice the play before then so we all knew what we were doing, and then they could do it for Great Grandma and Grandpa, and Aunt M. That sounded good to them. :)

Let's see, what else have I been doing? Oh, I did get the July story up for pre-orders. Now I don't have to mess with it later.
Can you believe there are only 2 weeks and 1 day left of the Read Another Page Reading Challenge? These 6 months went by fast! So far we've had 7 people complete the Challenge already. Some are really close, and others are determined to reach the 12 books mark. Anyway, I've really enjoyed seeing all the books everyone has read, and adding them to the list. If you haven't looked at the list of books read, go check it out. It's rather fun. :)

And now I'm going to go. I have other things I need to do before we clean the house. Thanks for coming by and letting me chat.

Have you read the June story yet?
Have you been doing any writing lately?
Are you doing the reading challenge?

Friday, June 8, 2018

David Ben-Gurion - Part 4

Good morning FFFs!
How was your week? Mine was good. I'm still using an old computer, but I was able to get my computer to our "computer guy" at church. I haven't heard anything about it, so I'm still hoping he can fix it.

I got my June story published. It's called "His Mighty Acts" and takes place during WWII. I've written a little bit on my other new story that takes place on a horse ranch. I'm still waiting to hear back from the ranch with answers to my questions. Pray that I'll hear back soon.

With this old computer I feel like I'm not getting much done, but I know I am. I mean I got 1980s book of family letters finished and ready to order the proof copy. Now I can start work on compiling the 1940s. Those will be fun as they're letters from my grandparents to each other before they were married. I can't wait to read them all. :)

I know this part is short, but I have other things to do, and I really don't have a whole lot to say this time. This is the final part of David Ben-Gurion. I hope you've enjoyed it, and that you've learned a little something.


Fighting for Survival
The explosions of dropping bombs filled the air in Tel Aviv, Israel, with their sound. Ben Gurion paused a moment in his talk over the radio to U. S. citizens. “The noise you are hearing now,” his voice was calm as he spoke, “is the noise of bombs being dropped by enemy aircraft on this city.”
The war for Israel’s survival had begun. As Minister of Defense and Prime Minister, Ben Gurion was immersed with work, disbanding the many resistance groups and forming the Israel Defense Forces, directing the war, and raising support from abroad. The war was grim and the fighting fierce. The Arabs attacked city after city only to be driven back and repulsed by the small groups of Jews that were defending their homes. The fighting was furious as Jews throughout Israel strove to defend the land they loved. In Jerusalem, the Arabs had cut off the supply roads, and only through Ben Gurion’s quick decision to use a small rocky goat trail to bring supplies in, were the inhabitants saved from starvation and slaughter. As Ben Gurion said, “In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.” And it was so. The Arabs thought they would quickly and easily achieve the victory because, after all, they had more men, more supplies and were better trained. They did not realize, however, that the Jews were fighting not only for their nation, but for their lives and homes, their families and land, their religious and cultural heritage. And, as the Lord was with the Israelites when they drove the Cananites out of that very land so many years ago, so He was with the people of Israel in their struggle for a homeland.

After four strenuous weeks of heavy fighting, a truce was called to try to come to terms of peace, but to no avail. At the end of the truce the Arab nations tried once again with all their might to annihilate Israel out of existence. Ten more bloody days of war passed, but in the end Israel was still there and even stronger than it was before. For Ben Gurion had not been idle during the four weeks of the truce. More arms had been gathered, more supplies brought in, the Haganah reorganized, and encouragement given. Finally, in early 1949, peace agreements were signed with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Israel, with Ben Gurion as Prime Minister, was a recognized nation. Though but a tiny strip of land surrounded by enemies, it was yet a haven and fortress for the beleagured Jewish people of the world.

The End Years
It was late evening in November 1953 as Ben Gurion and his wife sat cosily together in their home in Tel Aviv. “Do you know?” Ben Gurion said, “I believe I want to resign from being Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.”
Paula smiled. “I don’t see why you shouldn't. After all, you have been a leader in one way or another for over 52 years.”
Ben Gurion looked confused. “But Paula, we’ve only been a nation for not quite six years.”
“Ah, but you forget,” she smiled. “You were a leader before we even became a nation. You were a leader here in Palestine when the Ottoman Empire ruled, and before that, you were a leader in your own home town in Russia.”
“You are right, dear. And I’ll do it! Let’s move out to a frontier town.”
“Which one?” Paula asked with another smile. She knew it would be difficult for her hard working husband to relax and take things easy, even if he was in his 60’s. Therefore, a move to a frontier town didn’t surprise her.
After thinking a minute, he replied, “Perhaps down south in Sedeh Boker in the Negev.”
“All right,” Paula agreed readily. “How soon shall we go?”
Sedeh Boker was indeed on the frontier. Not many would have called it even a town. A small cluster of wooden shacks with a wire fence around them sat in the middle of an empty landscape. Dry barren wilderness surrounded it on all sides. The earth was hard and cracked by the sun’s fierce rays and eroded by the hot winds that swept over the desert, leaving only sparse vegetation on which to feed sheep. It was certainly not a place where most people would think of moving when they retired.

As Paula could have predicted, Ben Gurion’s retirement lasted only two years. When he was asked to help in the government as Defense Minister under Prime Minister Moshe Sharret, he couldn’t refuse. Once in office again, it wasn’t long before he was re-elected Prime Minister. And for eight more years, he continued to serve as Israel’s leader. Then once again he retired from political office, although he continued to be active in politics and leadership from his home in Sedeh Boker. And from that now flourishing town, where lush vineyards grew and orchards of apple, peach, plum and almond trees thrived, Ben Gurion began promoting a college to be located on a nearby plateau.
In 1968, Paula, Ben Gurion’s beloved wife and helpmeet of 53 years died. Two years later Ben Gurion really did retire. Much of his time was spent reading from his personal library of 20,000 books, and working on a third volume of his collected letters. Then, on December 1, 1973, in the midst of the Yom Kippur War, at the age of 87 years, he died and was buried by the side of his wife. Upon his death, not only the nation of Israel mourned its fallen leader, but others around the world grieved as well. America’s President Richard Nixon said, “It was with the deepest sorrow that I learned of the death of David Ben-Gurion. . . The people of America join with the people of Israel in mourning the passing of a gallant man. As we shared his ideals and hopes, not only for Israel but for all mankind, so we share in their loss.” Ben Gurion was a leader, beloved of his countrymen, hated by his foes, and honored by millions who came after him.

Epilogue
Today the land of Israel is no longer an uninhabitable land of dry, arid deserts and swampy, malaria infested grounds with Jews longing to someday dwell in the land of their fathers, but being denied the right to live there. Now thousands of Jews from all parts of the world have reclaimed the land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They have drained swamps and established thriving cities, causing the desert to bloom and bear abundant fruit as Isaiah, the prophet of old had foretold. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice , and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly. . . They shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. . . For in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” Everywhere, Jews have purchased land in Israel and with hard work have made a place fit for habitation. The college that Ben Gurion started in the Negev is prospering, and after his death was renamed Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in honor of Israel's great leader, who sought to pass on to the younger generations opportunities for learning and knowledge.
The land of Israel is not a land only of Jews. Arabs live peacefully with them, sharing in the labor and also in the government of the people. But, despite the early peace agreements signed with their neighbors, and almost 60 years of prosperous existence, the Israelis still face a constant struggle for survival. Yet they will survive, for the prophet Isaiah has also declared, “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail . . . they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.” Ben Gurion’s life of vision, courage, and determination still challenges us today to be leaders who never give up.

How was your week?
Have you read the June story yet?
What do you want to read next week?

Friday, June 1, 2018

David Ben-Gurion - Part 3

Hello FFFs,
This story may not be fiction this time, but I hope someone is enjoying it. Of course it was written quite a few years ago. I wonder if I should attempt to rewrite it.

Anyway . . . I'm posting this from another computer. Mine is sitting here, but it's not on. I was going to take it to someone last Sunday to see if he could fix it, but he wasn't at church. So I'll try again this Sunday. Hopefully he can fix it and I can get back to my regular schedule. At least I have my files on flash drives. But this computer doesn't have photoshop nor does it do some of the things mine could do, nor does it have Adblocker. Oh, well. I'm just thankful to have one to use.

I've been writing, and reading, and getting my June story ready to publish. It'll probably be out either Saturday or Monday. It'll just depend on when I can finish it. :)

Camp NaNo opened their cabins last evening, so I've already claimed my bunk Next Door. Do any of you want to join me? We'll take folks from other countries too. :) Just let me know if you do. Of course if you were in Next Door or the Chatter Box last time, you know who to contact.

And since this is already later than usual, I'm going to just post it. Enjoy!


World War II
It was the year 1939. World War II had begun and with it Hitler’s brutal determination to destroy the Jews. Ben Gurion knew that everyone in the Haganah and many others besides would have to work untiringly and efficiently to save their fellow Jews from the Nazis. He himself, though never actually assisting in the rescues, was in charge of everything. It was a heavy responsibility, and his approval was needed for each mission. The name they chose to use for their work of rescue was Aliyah Bet, which meant “second immigration.” Not only was the work strenuous and extremely dangerous anywhere behind Germany and her allies’ lines, but the British armed forces, under the direction of their leaders, also were doing all they could to keep more Jews out of Palestine. Their action was loudly denounced by Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, who was sympathetic to Zionism. The results produced by Aliyah Bet seemed to many as unexplainable miracles. And indeed they were. Miracles by the hand of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. By the end of the war, hundreds of Jews were saved from their enemies by Aliyah Bet under the hand of God.


Struggle
Ben Gurion sat leaning back in a comfortable chair enjoying an evening at home with his beloved wife. At 59 years old, his hair was white. Most people his age were thinking of slowing down, but not Ben Gurion.
“Paula,” he declared suddenly, sitting upright and leaning forward eagerly. “The war has been over now for some time. Hitler is dead, but the British still won’t change their minds about immigration. We have got to do something!”
Paula glanced up, the book she had been reading dropping into her lap. “Is there anything that can be done but what we have already been doing?”
“Yes, there is.” Ben Gurion spoke slowly and thoughtfully. “Instead of just smuggling Jews in and talking about a national homeland, I realize now that I must support the armed underground rebellion. Also,” he continued, “tomorrow I am going to authorize the Haganah to begin collecting arms. We may have to fight for our freedom.”
Paula sat quietly for a moment, then she spoke softly, “Just be careful. The British, if they found out. . .”
“We will take every necessary precaution. It will take quite some time, I’m afraid, but the Haganah can do it.”

The Haganah did do it. The year 1946 passed and 1947. All during this time the British, fearing the Arabs would revolt if many Jews came to Palestine, sought to keep other Jews from immigrating there. It was becoming harder for Jews from other countries to enter the “Promised Land.” Many ships bringing Jews over were captured by the British, and those on board were either transported to detention camps on the island of Cyprus or taken back to where they had come from. Despite all this, Ben Gurion continued to pursue the dream of an independent nation. To this end, he labored. When in 1947 he heard that the United Nations had approved a plan to divide the land of Palestine between the Arabs and the Jews, he was willing to cooperate. But the Arabs would have nothing to do with dividing the land with Jews! This was Arab land, they claimed, even though there had always been Jews living in the land ever since the days of old when Joshua had conquered the land of Cannan.

A Nation At Last
“It must be. There is no other way,” Ben Gurion spoke firmly. “The British are pulling out of Palestine at midnight on May 14th. We will then declare our independence.” A murmur arose from those seated around the room. May 14th, that was not very far away.
“You do know what will happen if we do this, don’t you?” asked a voice somewhat hesitantly.
“I know what will happen if we do not do it. The Arabs will claim this land, and no Jews will be allowed to remain in it.”
“But why May 14th?”
The debate hotly continued for some time before finally coming to a vote. The resolution to declare, on May 14, 1948, that Israel was an independent nation, passed 6 to 4.

Now the eagerly awaited day had finally arrived and he, David Ben Gurion, was signing his name to an historic declaration of independence. At midnight the news was flashed around the world. Israel is a nation! The dream of years, of hardships, struggles and tears had finally become a reality. Only eleven minutes after midnight a message was brought to Ben Gurion from the President of the United States of America, Harry S. Truman, in which he recognized Israel as an independent nation. Though this was a time of great thankfulness and joy, the Jews had no time to celebrate, for every Arab nation surrounding the tiny strip of land that was Israel had banded together to “drive the Jews into the sea!”

Have you had computer troubles this week?
Are you eager to read the June story?
Are you doing Camp NaNo?

Friday, May 25, 2018

David Ben-Gurion - Part 2

Well, FFFs,
Here we are with another Friday. And guess what? That new privacy law is active now. And I just wanted to let you know that I do not give out your information to anyone. Google said it would display something about it on my blog, but it might not work because of the way I have it designed. If so, great. If not, sorry. I don't use your information for anything except to allow you to read these post via email if you want, or to come to the blog.

But let's get back to real life, shall we?

This week has been–shall we say–interesting? Mostly it's been my computer. It's had a slight glitch for a couple months now where it likes to restart at random times. Well, it's gotten worse. And now it will even freeze up completely. I talked to someone at church (the one who rescued all my files when my last computer completely malfunctioned), and he said it could be hardware or software. But he'd be willing to look it over. The only thing is it will take a full week. So I've been trying to get everything done that I could possibly do this week. Making sure all my files are backed up on flash drives, files that I need to work on are transferred to another computer, and things like that. I'll take my computer to him on Sunday, and then will have to use some older computers for the week. I'm just praying this computer can get fixed and I won't have to buy a new one.

Writing is going okay. I did finish the July story and both June and July have been sent to beta readers. I am back to working on my "unnamed horse ranch story" and it's coming along slowly. I'm waiting to get some answers from the horse ranch in SD.
Oh, guess what? "Dylan's Story" is now being recorded for audio! And so is "Finding Joy" and "TCR-4." And "The Old Mansion's Secret" is going to be recorded too! Talk about fun times!

I don't know if many of you have even read last week's story. When I posted it I wasn't paying attention to dates. But last week was the 75th anniversary of the present day nation of Israel, so I think this fits. It was written quite a few years ago, but I do hope some of you will enjoy it because that's what you're getting.


Exile!
“This Jewish paper is going too far!” stormed a young man in the office of the Palestinian Turkish governor.
“In what way?” the older man leaned back in his chair and yawned.
“Haven’t you seen the last few papers, Sir?”
“No, I don’t pay much attention to those things, Ekber. It’s just a bunch of talk.”
“Don’t pay attention. . . just talk! Why!. . . why. . .” the younger man stammered in disbelief. “Why, in this paper,” the mentioned paper was shaken in the older man’s face, “He says that the Jews must form a political force!”
“Who says that?” demanded the older man sitting up suddenly with more interest. Seeing that he had bestirred the older man, Ekber continued, “It’s Ben Gurion this time, but it might be Ben Zvi next time. They both seem to be leaders of the same mind. Anyhow, it also says that they must strive for Jewish autonomy in Palestine!”
“What!” thundered the older man, now thoroughly aroused. “Why that’s treason! They dare to conspire against the mighty Ottoman Empire! Those miserable Jewish nobodies!” Pacing the room in anger, the older man continued his tirade against Ben Gurion, Ben Zvi, and all the other leaders of the Zionist movement. “Such men as those should not be allowed in Palestine! I won’t tolerate it! Ekber, order their arrest at once! We’ll soon put an end to all such troublemakers.”
Both men were apprehended and charged with conspiring against the Ottoman Empire in order to create a Jewish state. Their sentence? Exile from Palestine! 

World War I
Three years of exile passed, and in 1915 Ben Gurion returned to Palestine and again entered the Holy City of Jerusalem. This time he was in the uniform of the 38th Battalion of the Jewish Legion under British General Allenby with the rank of corporal. Jewish battalions had been recruited in England, and when one began in the United States, Canada and Argentine, Ben Gurion and Ben Zvi joined up. Ben Gurion had resided during his years of exile in New York where he met and married Paula Murweis. Paula had also been born in Russia to Jewish parents. At the close of World War I, when the Ottoman Empire had been destroyed and the British had control of Palestine, Ben Gurion moved his wife, and two-year-old daughter, Geula, back to Palestine. There he continued to work towards an independent Jewish state.

Leader In Palestine
“Ben Gurion, Sir!”
“What is it, Joseph?” Ben Gurion paused on the sidewalk and glanced at the young man. He could see excitement, as well as anxiety, in his eyes.
Joseph glanced around and instinctively lowered his voice. “I just received word that there is another group of Jews waiting to come to Palestine. Is there any way we can get them passports from the British?”
Ben Gurion frowned. “Not now. I am afraid they fear the Arabs too much to let many of our people come here. It has been that way for some time now, even though the United Nations has declared this a National Home for Jews.”
“Sir, what can we do? There are thousands of our people around the world who are being persecuted. Is there no way we can help them?”
“No way? Joseph, come now. Just because the Brits won’t help us doesn’t mean we are helpless. Come with me.” There was a slight smile on the leader’s face as he turned towards a motorcar with Joseph close behind.
Had anyone been following them, they would only have seen them casually travel to an inauspicious house and enter. A middle aged man looked up from a desk as the two strolled in. Rising to shake hands, he greeted Ben Gurion without formality, using his first name. Ben Gurion told of the problem Joseph had brought to his attention. “Can something be done about this?”
“Well, we already received word about that very same group,” the man at the desk answered briskly after glancing down at a few papers. “It will no doubt be difficult but. . .”
Ben Gurion smiled. “The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer. Eh?”
“That’s it, Sir.”
Joseph waited until he was back in the car with Ben Gurion before asking, “The Haganah? How can our defense force bring Jews to Palestine?”
“A lonely coast of France, or somewhere else and a lonely coast of Palestine and a ship or two in between.” Ben Gurion smiled more broadly. It had worked time after time. The Haganah was ready for anything. Their secret training in hidden camps was paying off. How devoted, loyal and brave these men and even women were. Each was willing to risk his life for fellow Jews.

Ben Gurion went home that night to his wife and three children, Geula, Amos and little Ranana, in the center of Tel Aviv. The Haganah (The Defense) was certainly growing in many ways he had never dreamed of at the start. The group was begun in 1920 as simply a defense group. As a leader, Ben Gurion well knew that if the Jews were ever to have their own state or nation, they would have to defend themselves. Now, along with defending the frontier settlements, the Haganah was busy bringing more Jews secretly to Palestine. 
 How has your week been?
What do you know about the nation of Israel?
Are you excited for new audio books?

Friday, May 18, 2018

David Ben-Gurion - Part 1

Good morning FFFs,
I didn't have anything to post, so after looking through my archives, I decided to repost this story I wrote when I first started this blog. I shared it in February of 2009! Yeah, that was a while ago. I wonder if anyone thinks I should publish it as a kindle book. Any thoughts would be welcome.

This week has disappeared rapidly. I designed the covers for my June and July short stories. The June story is ready to send to my beta readers, and my July story is almost written. I'm hoping to get them sent out to beta readers at the same time so that July's story will be ready to publish before the 4th. I haven't been back to my "horse ranch or Camp NaNo" story for a while. Mostly because I needed to get the next two month stories written. But I heard back from a ranch in SD and they said they'd be happy to answer questions for me. I sent them a list yesterday. I'm looking forward to hearing back from them.

Not much is going on here. The weather gets into summer mode, and then decides it isn't ready and drops back into spring. Last night it was 60º but during the day it was 90º. At least the humidity wasn't bad at all yesterday. But earlier in the week it was only in the 80s and we had to turn on the AC because the humidity was so bad you didn't want to do anything.

Tomorrow I'm planning on mowing the yard and maybe doing some other yard work. Some things need trimmed, or weeded. It's time to put away the bird feeders. Well, except for the hummingbird feeders.

Now here is the first part of the story. I hope you enjoy it.


David Ben-Gurion, Leader of Israel


May 14, 1948. The hours slowly passed by approaching midnight when the British Mandate would end. It was afternoon in the Art Museum in Tel Aviv as a short stocky man, whose dark eyes flashed with determination and courage, began to speak, reading from a piece of paper with great feeling. A small group of men and women listened with passionate intensity. The lights in the room shone on his bushy white side hair and nearly bald head. The moment that he had dreamed of, struggled towards and fought for was fast approaching.
“In the Land of Israel the Jewish people came into being. In this land was shaped their spiritual, religious and national character. Here they lived in sovereign independence. They created a culture of national and universal import and gave to the world the eternal “Book of Books.”. . .” On he read, until at last, reaching the end of the paper, he laid it on a desk. The tension in the room grew as he silently reached for a pen. Two other men crowded forward to watch this historic event. There was a glint of a smile in those dark eyes as he boldly signed his name, David Ben-Gurion. As his pen scrawled across the paper, his thoughts flashed back nearly fifty-one years.

The Early Years
“David! Have you read the news?” In his home town of Plonsk, Russia (now a part of Poland), eleven-year-old David Green looked up from the book he was reading.
“What news, Father?”
“About Dr. Theodore Herzl.” Young David looked puzzled. Slowly he shook his head. His father quickly explained, “Herzl is an Austrian Jew, and he has just called together a congress of Jewish delegates to meet in Switzerland! The delegates are from many different countries.”
“But what are they meeting for?” David interrupted.
“To try to secure a national home for Jewish people in the land of Palestine!”
“Palestine! Oh, Father!” David’s eyes shone with excitement - the same excitement that was in his father Avigdor’s heart. After his father left him, David sat staring at the book in his hand, yet not seeing it. A homeland for their people, his people. For centuries the Jewish people had been persecuted and oppressed in almost every country where they lived. The Jews were the troublemakers and scapegoats; the fewer there are the better the world will be seemed to be the general idea of most of the rulers towards these people of the Bible. And yet, the Jewish people continued to live and dream of maybe one day returning to the land of their heritage where they would be free to live as their ancestors had. Now maybe all this talk that David had heard all of his life would become a reality. As the days went by, there was much excitement in the house over this wonderful news, but it was soon subdued as Sheindel, David’s quiet, gentle mother, died giving birth to her eleventh child. Though overcome with grief, Avigdor did his best to fill the place of both father and mother to his children.
The years passed by swiftly and at 15, David, always more serious -minded than his friends, was an able leader for the cause of Zionism (a Jewish homeland) in Russia. He helped form a group of youths all interested in Zionism. Like Ezra, the scribe of the Old Testament, who returned to Palestine from Babylon some 25 centuries before them, so these youths (Their group was called “Ezra”) were eager to go for the first time to Palestine. Five years passed. The persecution of the Jews during the Russian revolution and afterwards increased greatly before David was prepared to leave his family and the land of his birth to travel with a friend to Palestine.

In Palestine
The first night David spent in Petah Tikvah, the Gateway of Hope, he couldn’t sleep for happiness. He was in Palestine! Breathing deeply, he smelled the corn, heard the donkey's bray and felt the breeze that rustled the leaves in the fruit orchards. Petah Tikvah was a small village with swampy, mosquito breeding ground. There were some fruit orchards, but it was definitely not the “land of milk and honey” that it had been when the first Israelites conquered the land under the leadership of Joshua. Finding work in Palestine in those days of 1906 was hard if you were an untrained immigrant. Finally, after persistent searching, David found a job.
“Here, fill this wheelbarrow with manure at the stables; take it down to the orchard and mulch the trees,” he was told. “And make sure you spread it thickly.”
David did as he was instructed, and day after day mulched the trees with manure. The swampy area he was working in was full of mosquitoes, and he soon came down with malaria.
“Go back to Plonsk,” the doctor told him. “This climate is too hard for you.”
But David wouldn’t go back even though his malaria came back every two weeks. For a year David hauled manure and fought malaria. Then he and a friend traveled north into the frontier area of Nazareth. There, with forty-six other young men and women, he labored to clear the rocky soil. They weren’t planning on living there long, only long enough to make the ground ready for a small settlement. David worked hard for two years, living with the others in five wooden huts. It was there that his malaria left him for good, and though the work was strenuous with not a lot of food or fresh water, he always looked back on it as a happy time. There was just one problem. The Arabs kept stealing animals and equipment. The workers themselves were too tired to keep guard at night, and so a group of Jewish men, Shomrim (watch-men), were appointed to each frontier village as guards.

In time, David made a short visit back to Russia to visit his father. On returning to Palestine, he was asked to help edit the first Hebrew newspaper in Jerusalem. His co-editor was Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, who was also from Russia.
“Hmm,” David murmured to himself as he paused before signing his name to his first article. “Green. That really doesn’t sound very Jewish or very strong. I need a new name. One that will identify me forever as a Jew. I know! From now on, I will be David Ben-Gurion, son of a lion-cub!”
And so it was that from that time on, David Green was known as “Ben-Gurion.”
 
Have you ever read much of David Ben-Gurion?
Are you eager for the June short story?
Who does the mowing at your house?

Friday, May 11, 2018

My Camp NaNo Story - Part 3

Good morning, FFFs!

I hope you are enjoying some lovely weather! We had to turn the air conditioning on this week for the first time this year, but yesterday it was off all day. And right now the windows are wide open, and the breeze is very pleasant.

I was gone Monday evening to a very delightful picnic with some old friends and their families. The weather was perfect! And I got to hold all five of the babies. The oldest baby being my 9 month nephew, and the youngest being a little guy just over 2 months. Then there was a 4 1/2 month old girl, a 6 month girl, and another little guy who is a week younger than my nephew. Talk about fun!

Tuesday was warm. By afternoon my creativity felt like it had melted into a pile of mush. Not so good for writing. After we turned the AC on, it got better.

Wednesday my mom and I went to the library! And I got books! I've only read one so far: "Word After Word After Word" by Patricia MacLachlan. It was a delightful story.

Yesterday was the big ride. My nieces and nephews were over (except Busters, the youngest) and we had decided to go for a bike ride out a nearby path. My mom and sister took Ti-K and Buddy in the van with Buddy's bike. The others had to ride their bikes to the start of the path with me. The day was cloudy and cooler, perfect for riding. After riding just over 1/2 a mile on the path, we reached the bridge and stopped to throw rocks into the the creek. Then, while Mom, Sis, and Ti-K went down to a large rock bank and had fun there, the rest of us rode our bikes another half mile to a road. And then the 1/2 mile back. Another stop at the creek. And then back home. Those of us who were riding back to the house ended up riding over 2 miles. We ate a picnic lunch outside, read a few books, and then the kids got picked up.

As far as writing goes, I did get my June story written. Well, I haven't re-read it and edited it. I plan on doing that today. Then I'll hand it to my editor. I'd like to start work on my July story, but I haven't figured out a story yet. I do have a sort of idea, so we'll see how it goes. :)

I'm glad you are enjoying this new story. I kind of like it too. :) Here's the next part. Enjoy!

Untitled Story
Part 3

    That’s what Austin thought he had heard before. So they had seven days to pack everything they owned up, and head north. “I’m going to go to the park to make sure Drew has company until everyone arrives, okay? The girls are next door.”
    When his father nodded, Austin turned to leave, but at the gate his dad’s voice stopped him.
    “Austin, I’m sorry. I should have told you all this before. I should have insisted on more time to pack up. I should have–”
    “It’s okay, Dad,” Austin broke in. “We’ll get through these next crazy days. We can be glad so much stuff is already packed up from showing the house.”
    Slowly Mr. Sparks nodded. “I don’t know how to pack up a house, Austin. That’s why Mimmie is coming.”
    “It’ll work out. I’ve got to go now.” His dad nodded, and Austin left the yard and broke into a jog, his mind whirling with shock waves from his dad’s bombshell. Packing. Moving. Aunt Mimmie coming. That at least was good. Aunt Mimmie was Dad’s youngest sister. Her real name was Colleen, but she looked so much like her oldest sister, Rachel, that Rachel had nicknamed her Minnie-Me when introducing her to others. When Colleen was old enough to talk, she called herself Mimmie in her attempts to say Minnie-Me, thinking that was her name. The nickname stuck, and close friends and family seemed to forget her real name.
    Mimmie was single and often came down to visit her brother and his family. When Mrs. Sparks had been diagnosed with cancer, Mimmie had come down and spent nearly a month with the family. They had only seen her twice since the funeral.

    Arriving at the park, Austin paused to glance around while he caught his breath. He had run faster than usual. The park was almost empty, and he quickly spotted Drew on the swings.
    Striding over, Austin sat down on the swing beside his younger brother and set it in motion. Neither one said a word for several minutes. Then Austin, slowing his swing, looked over at Drew. “Are you okay, Buddy?”
    Drew didn’t answer but pumped higher.
    “We can ask Aunt Mimmie if she knows of any ball teams nearby.”
    At that, Drew stopped pumping. “It won’t be the same.”
    “I know.”
    “I’m mad at Dad.”
    “Because he didn’t tell us sooner?” questioned Austin.
    “No, because we have to move at all. I don’t mind vacations up at the ranch, but who wants to live in that old trailer? I like where we live now.”
    “I do too.”
    “Then can’t you get Dad to change his mind?” Drew let his feet drag until he stopped, then twisted in the swing until he was facing Austin. “Can’t we just move to a different house or something? Do we have to leave this town?”
    Austin wasn’t sure what to say. His brother was hurting and wanted answers, but he didn’t know if he had any that would help. “Listen, Buddy, you know that Dad hasn’t been the same since Mom died. Everything around here reminds him of her, and it hurts. He told me he had been praying about what to do and then Grandpa called and told him we could stay in the trailer. He said it had been updated.”
    “How updated?”
    Austin shrugged. “I don’t know. But I do know that Dad needs a change. Perhaps after he’s been back at the ranch for a couple months, he’ll be back to his old self and we’ll find a better place to live and–”
    “There is no better place than right here,” Drew said stubbornly. He looked around. “Some of the guys are here. I’m going to go practice.” He jumped off the swing as he spoke and picked up his bag.
    Giving a long sigh, Austin closed his eyes and let his shoulders drop. He wasn’t sure if Drew would put up a fuss later about leaving or if he’d decide to take things in stride. He thought the girls would be okay once Aunt Mimmie was there. As for him, his feelings were mixed. He loved Grandpa’s ranch and the freedom of the wide rangelands, not to mention his love of a certain horse. But on the other hand, the Sparks family had lived in that house since before Drew was born. Austin didn’t really remember any other home. They had friends, and a church, but the thing that hurt the worst was Mom’s grave.
    Giving himself a shake, Austin stood up and sauntered over toward the baseball diamond where Drew and a few of his pals were tossing the ball. If he had known Dad was even thinking of leaving . . . But no, that wasn’t fair, Dad hadn’t even known what he was thinking.
    “Help us, Father,” Austin prayed again. “We’re a mess right now, and I don’t see how it’s all going to come together.”

Have you ever played a sport?
Do you have a special aunt like Aunt Mimmie?
Have you ever been on a long bike ride?

Friday, May 4, 2018

My Camp NaNo Story - Part 2

Oh, hello.
I forgot it was Friday. Well, I knew it was Friday, but I hadn't thought about posting at all until I got on my blogger account. So I guess I'll post.

I haven't gotten a lot written this week, but I have done some. I just haven't felt like writing. Maybe it was because Camp ended Monday night. (Though a few of us are still hanging out in the cabin.) I'm working on getting my May story ready to publish, and trying to write one for June. Perhaps I'll get one for July written too while I'm at it. Maybe I should just write all the rest of the months while I'm at it. I have August's written, I have an idea for October, so that just leaves Sept., Nov., and Dec. Any ideas are welcomed. The story has to be around 4k words though, so no really complicated plot, please. ;)

We've had some warm sunny days this week reaching the 80s. Then it rained yesterday and was only in the 60s. I think it's supposed to get warmer again today and reach the 70s. I'd like some more days when it was in the 70s not the 80s.

Boy, I can't seem to think of anything interesting to say this morning. I think my brain is already off with my June story, running through the things I need to do today, planning on what I should do this weekend, and other things. I suppose that means I should just go get to work on things and leave you in peace to read this next part of the story with no name.

Unknown Title
Part 2

    Fighting the frustration that rose inside him, Austin let out a sigh. “Dad, it’s going to be okay. We’ll survive the move. It’ll just take some getting used to. And you know the four of us kids love the ranch. South Dakota may be states away from Arkansas, but it’s still in the land of the free and the home of the brave. And Dad,” Austin paused until his dad lifted his head, “God will still be with us.”
    Swallowing hard, Mr. Sparks nodded. “Thanks, son.”
    “I’ve got to finish cleaning up.” And Austin rose, shoved the chair back under the table and returned to the sink for the dishcloth to wipe off the table. His life had been completely turned upside down once again. He didn’t know how his younger siblings would react to the news of their move, nor how his dad would enjoy working on the family ranch again.
    “Lord,” he prayed, “we really need Your help. I don’t know what these next few days are going to be like, but I don’t think it’ll be easy.”
    “Austin?”
    The hesitant way his dad spoke his name alerted Austin that there was more news. He looked over his shoulder. “Yeah?”
    “Would you tell the kids?”
    “Don’t you think you should?”
    Mr. Sparks let out his breath sharply. “I guess I should.” Then with shoulders stooped and hands shoved in his pockets, he headed outside to the backyard.
    “Ugh!” Austin groaned, rinsing the dishcloth and bracing himself for an outdoor explosion. Dad had never been very tactful when it came to announcements; it had always been Mom who paved the way and got everyone excited about whatever was going to happen. But Mom was gone.
    Loud voices suddenly filled the peaceful quiet of the morning. Drew’s high treble was easy to make out. “What? I can’t go now; I got baseball!”
    The excited voices of the twins filled the yard as Austin watched his younger brother race toward the house. He couldn’t tell if the girls were eager to go or upset, for he couldn’t see their faces from the window.
    The screen door slammed behind him and Austin turned. “Drew–”
    The boy rushed through the kitchen without a word and on to the bedroom the brothers shared. A few moments later he reappeared with his bag of baseball gear over his shoulder, a cap on his head, and a scowl on his face.
    “Where are you going?” Austin asked.
    “I got practice,” was the short answer before Drew stormed from the house and down the sidewalk in the direction of the park where his team practiced.
    “Yeah, you have practice,” Austin muttered, glancing at the clock, “in about an hour.” For a moment he debated whether to follow his brother or let him have some time to cool off first.
    The screen door slammed again and two pitiful faces appeared before him.
    “Austin,” Addy began, “Dad says we have to move to the ranch.”
    “Yep.”
    “But we don’t want to go,” LeaLea protested. “We won’t have any friends there.”
    “Oh, come on, girls,” Austin said, sitting down and motioning them over. “You both love the ranch. And think of all the horse rides you’ll get to take. All your friends here are going to be jealous. And don’t forget we’ll get to see Grandma and Grandpa, and all our aunts and uncles and cousins. Did Dad say that Aunt Mimmie was coming next week?”
    The sad faces brightened a little at the mention of everyone’s favorite aunt. But they fell again when Addy remarked, “Dad says we’re going to stay in that old trailer. I’m not going to like that. Come on, LeaLea, let’s go see if Hannah can play.”
    Hannah was their next door neighbor, and the three girls had a play date nearly every Saturday morning at nine o’clock. Nodding at LeaLea’s questioning glance, Austin followed his sisters to the front door and watched until they were let into the neighbor’s house. Then he turned and looked about him.
    The living room walls were hung with framed photos of past years, books filled the shelves, and the end table held a stack of Taste of Home magazines. They were old, for Mom hadn’t had time to renew another subscription before– Blinking, Austin turned away. He wasn’t in a mood to face all the memories this small house held. With a shake of his head he headed outside to find his dad.
    Mr. Sparks sat on one of the outdoor chairs and stared vacantly before him. Austin paused a moment. “Hey, Dad,” he said at last, approaching the table and resting a foot on the seat of the other chair.
    Mr. Sparks looked up.
    “When did you say Aunt Mimmie was coming?”
    “Monday.”
    Austin nodded. That was probably good as he figured it was going to take them a long time to get everything packed up. Only they didn’t have a long time. “When do we have to be out of the house?”
    “The end of next week.”

Are you a tactful announcement maker?
Would you have felt like Drew or the twins?
Do you want the next part next week?

Friday, April 27, 2018

My Camp NaNo Story - Part 1

Good morning FFFs,
It's a sunny morning here. Still in the 40s, but it's supposed to warm up to the upper 60s or low 70s. Things are really starting to look green. Since we've had such a strange winter/spring these last two months, most of the trees haven't leafed out like they usually have by this time. Now they are starting to.
This past week has been good and not good. The good in that I've been able to write most days, I only have 400 words left to reach my Camp NaNo goal, I had a birthday, and I've sold a few kindle books and a couple paperbacks. The not so good is that I've been fighting some allergy thing. It's gone from just something annoying, to an ear ache, to a bad sore throat, to a cough, to headaches. Yeah, fun. :P Okay, not so fun.

If you haven't seen it yet, I am celebrating my birthday this week! You can get all the info on Read Another Page. But just remember, if you are going to order any of my books from Light of Faith, and want them sighed, do it before Saturday night because you can use the code BIRTHDAY and get 20% off! And the Triple Creek Ranch kindle books are all on sale for $1.99 right now. The price returns to $4.99 Saturday night.

Here's the very first part of my Camp NaNo story. Much to my delighted surprise, I've actually worked on this story all month! Now I need to do some more research before I get much farther into it. I hope you like it.

[It needs a working title]
Part 1

    Stirring his cold scrambled eggs around on his plate, Austin Sparks frowned. They were dry. Again. In disgust he pushed them to the side of his plate and looked across the table to where his dad sat buried behind a newspaper. He assumed his dad hadn’t even noticed the dry eggs, the half burnt bacon, or the sour orange juice.
    “Austin,” a young voice whispered.
    Glancing to his left, Austin raised questioning eyebrows as his younger sisters. They were twins and he didn’t know which had said his name.
    “Do we have to eat our eggs?” Addy asked.
    Wordlessly he shook his head. If he couldn’t stomach them, he doubted his younger siblings could. Well, except for Drew. The ten-year-old had cleaned his plate and was busy licking the butter knife. “Did you want more eggs, Drew?” he asked.
    “Nope. Can I be excused?”
    Mr. Sparks didn’t move, and after waiting a moment, Austin nodded. “Take care of your dishes.”
    The twins took Drew’s permission for their own and scooted back their chairs quickly, no doubt eager to get out into the warm summer sunshine away from the gloomy kitchen.
    The kitchen hadn’t always been gloomy, Austin recalled, standing up and carrying his own dishes to the sink. When Mom was still alive the whole house was bright and happy. After dumping the cold eggs into the garbage disposal, Austin ran it before turning the water to hot and filling up the sink in preparation for washing the dishes. Everyone took turns washing the dishes, and Saturday mornings was Austin’s turn.
    The sound of the children outside on the swings brought back memories of the hours Austin had spent outside on those swings with his mom pushing him. For the first seven years of his life it had just been his mom, his dad, and him. Then Drew came along, followed two years later by the twins. A smile crossed Austin’s face as he recalled the commotion the arrival of Adeline and Avonlea had caused.
    “We’re moving.”
    Dropping the glass he had just picked up, Austin turned slowly. “What?”
    Still at the table, Mr. Sparks folded the newspaper slowly and laid it on the table. “To the ranch.”
    “Grandpa’s ranch?”
    “Yep.”
    “Dad, you hate that ranch.” Sudsy water dripped from Austin’s hands onto the tile floor, but he took no notice of it.
    His father shrugged. “It’s better than nothing. And we can’t stay here.” Pain filled the man’s eyes and spread across his face as he looked about the room. His wife’s death six months before had left him with little will to go on.
    Turning back to the sink, Austin mechanically washed the rest of the dishes and rinsed them before he said, “When are we leaving?”
    “Next week.”
    “Dad!” This time Austin grabbed the back of a chair, spun it around and straddled it backwards preparing for an argument. “You can’t expect us to just pack up our whole lives in a few days and move states away. It’s going to take longer than that. Not to mention going through Mom’s stuff that’s in the attic.” The pain in his father’s eyes deepened, but Austin ignored it. “Why do we have to move so suddenly? What about your job?”
    “I was let go yesterday. And,” he shifted in his chair, “the house sold.”
    “Our house?”
    Mr. Sparks nodded, rubbing a hand over his rough chin. He hadn’t shaved that morning. “Your aunt Mimmie is coming on Monday. She’ll help. Grandpa said the old trailer on his land has been updated, or something. We’ll stay there. At least until I can find a better place.” He looked up at his son, pleading in his eyes. “You’ve got to help me, Austin; I just can’t do it here any more. The memories . . .” He shook his head and looked away. “It’s too much.”
    Austin didn’t reply. Since cancer had claimed the life of his mom, he had watched as his dad had withdrawn more and more into himself, grieving for the love of his life and seeming to forget the four children she had left him. He also seemed to forget or to ignore the healing God offered him, or so it seemed to his son. Drawing a long breath, Austin nodded. “Okay, Dad, but it’s not going to be easy.”
    “I know. But Austin, I can’t keep going here. I’ve tried. I didn’t know what to do. I’ve prayed, and when your grandpa offered us the trailer, I felt it might be a step in the right direction, especially since work–” He cleared his throat. “Then I got a call from the realtor saying there’d been an offer on the house. A better offer than I had hoped for. Papers were signed yesterday.
    Letting out a frustrated sigh, Austin gripped the back of the chair. “But why didn’t you tell us this sooner? Drew’s going to be upset when he has to leave his baseball team.”
    “I thought he liked the ranch?” Mr. Sparks looked unsure.
    “He does. Or at least last year he did. But that was later, after the baseball season ended.”
    “I didn’t realize he’d started playing already this year.” Defeat filled Mr. Sparks’ voice and, resting his elbows on the table, he buried his face in his hands.
    Silence filled the kitchen.

Did this catch your interest?
Do you feel sympathy for Austin? or Mr. Sparks?
Have you ever had to move suddenly?