( Intermediate Level )
Kenny and his wife, Jill, had taken their vacation this year at the same time. It coincided with their boy’s summer vacation from school. Michael, ten, would be going to be in fourth grade and Jackson, eight, would be starting second grade in September.
This year, their plans were to camp out at their favorite lake in the mountains. This was a quiet place for them to unwind from their busy city life.
Both Kenny and Jill were attorneys and their schedules were always conflicting with their life at home. Not this year. They are making a point to put their lives and boys first.
Friday after work, Kenny started packing the car with everything his wife had packed. From extra clothing to fishing gear and food. They had plans to leave out at six in the morning since it was going to be a four-hour drive.
This would allow them to arrive in plenty of time to set up their camp and have some daylight hours to enjoy. Michael and Jackson were eager for the next day’s plans and their parents had a difficult time getting them to sleep.
The boys were up at five in the morning and ready to go. “After breakfast guys, mommy and daddy need their coffee.” Kenny smiled at his wife who had just gotten up out of bed ten minutes earlier.
Finally, it was time to leave and the boys were the first to get in the car and have their seatbelts secured. “Let’s go!” They chanted together. “We’re coming.” their mom replied as she checked the door one last time to make sure it was locked.
The four-hour drive went by fast. The boys occupied their time by having car games such as slug bug or how many red cars can you count. Mom didn’t care for the game slug bug since it involved punching the other every time they had seen a Volkswagen beetle. Jackson always cried since his brother punched harder.
Once they arrived they chose to set up camp near the beach area. It was a little rocky but not bad enough to hurt your feet if you went barefoot. This area would allow them great access to swimming or fishing. Whatever they chose to do that day.
The boys ran around and explored their new home for the week as mom and dad set up camp. “Not too close to the water, ok boys. Your father and I are busy setting up and we cannot watch you.”
You heard them in the distance. “Yes, mom.” The boys found an array of bugs as they wandered. These two were just like any other typical boy where ominous creatures intrigued them, picking each up and getting a closer look at them.
Michael would throw each bug once he finished observing it, at his younger brother. “Stop or I am going to tell mom.” Jackson’s threats didn’t scare him. They kept exploring until they heard their mom calling.” Boys. It’s lunchtime.”
Sandwiches and chips were served for lunch. Kenny was hoping to catch a few fish for dinner that night. “Boys after lunch, let’s try to catch some fish for dinner.” Both agreed and a challenge was inevitable.
“I bet you, dad, I can catch the most fish and the biggest” Michael smiled as he challenged his father. “What about me?” asked Jackson. “Of course, you can be part of this too.” dad said as he rubbed the top of Jackson’s head.
As the men headed out to fish for the afternoon, Jill planned on reading her book. A quiet afternoon without the boys and her husband sounded wonderful to her. She had started this particular book over six months back but never found the time to read it with the demands of her family and work.
The trio arrived at the bank of the lake. Michael wanted to get his line in the water as soon as he could. He was determined to win this challenge. Jackson had to have his hook baited by his dad. He was not fond of putting a worm on the hook.
Both Michael and his dad had caught three fish each but Jackson hadn’t caught a single one. He became bored and quit fishing. He wandered off to explore as his father and brother continued to fish.
“We are going to have plenty of fish for tonight and probably tomorrow too,” Kenny said as he looked at Michael. “Where’s Jackson?” He looked but he couldn’t see any signs of him.
“Michael, Where is your brother? Did you see which way he walked? Michael shrugged his shoulders as he uttered, “I dunno.”
“Jackson!,” His father began to yell his name. Nothing. No response. “Michael, grab the fish and take the fishing poles back to camp where mom is. I am going to look for your brother.”
As his dad started to run off he yelled back to Michael, “Let mom know what is happening and tell her not to worry.” Michael grabbed up the fish and the gear and headed back to the campsite.
“Hi Honey, where are dad and your brother?” Michael told his mom what was happening and instantly she became panicked. Jackson was only eight. He was her baby.
There wasn’t anything Jill or Michael could do but sit at their camp waiting on any word from either her husband or Jackson.
Kenny searched by the lake hoping his son hadn’t fallen in, no signs of any footprints or him so he began to head towards the woods. He knew Jackson loved animals and could easily be distracted by a bird or a rabbit.
All along he yelled, “Jackson? Jackson? Where are you?” He stopped periodically in hopes he would hear a response or even hear him crying. Nothing.
The sun would be setting soon and the urgency to find Jackson was heightened. Kenny knew he couldn’t go back to camp without Jackson in tow.
Just as he began to give up all hope of finding him while it was still light enough to see, he spotted something ahead near a fallen log. It was orange in color and he couldn’t quite make out what it was.
it was obviously something that didn’t fit into the surroundings. It was too bright in color. He tried to remember what Jackson was wearing but he failed to pay attention.
His footsteps quickened to see what this object was. As he approached a huge sigh escaped him as it was Jackson. He had fallen asleep propped up against the fallen tree.
He bent down so as to not startle him and gently woke him up. “Oh. Hi, Dad.” as he yawned. Jackson was oblivious to how he had made him worry so.
“Well you scared me and I imagine your mom is worried to death. We need to head back to camp so she knows you are ok.”
Jackson stood up and grabbed his dad’s hand. Jackson told his dad about this small red dog that he followed until he disappeared. “I sat quietly hoping it would come out of hiding and I must have fallen asleep.” Kenny listened to his son’s description of the animal and he figured it was a fox.
They headed back to camp, hand in hand. Kenny was relieved that everything was fine and his son was safe. It would be a story to tell in the future and most likely become exaggerated each time the story was told.
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Thoughts From Angel:
I loved to explore the outdoors, like Michael and Jackson. My imagination took me to many far-away places, not just the backyard.
The innocence of childhood is precious.
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coincided – verb: occur at the same time
unwind – verb: relax after a period of work or tension
conflicting – adjective: incompatible; contradictory
eager – adjective: wanting to do or have something
barefoot – adjective: wearing nothing on the feet
ominous – adjective: scary or unknown
observing – verb: to notice
inevitable – adjective: certain to happen
trio – noun: a set or group of three people or things
dunno – slang: do not know
distracted – adjective: unable to concentrate
periodically – adverb: from time to time
urgency– noun: importance requiring immediate action
heightened – adjective: intense
in tow – idiom: accompanying or to follow someone
pay attention– idiom: to concentrate on
quickened – verb: become faster or quicker
worried to death – idiom: extremely anxious
exaggerated – adjective: represented as larger, better, or worse than in reality
Question ( s ):
When you were a child, had you ever become lost?