- “Dad, can you recommend a good obedience school?” Agnes asked Mike.
- “I, uh, well...” Mike wondered why she thought he would know anything about dog training, as he did not have any pets.
- “For seven-year-old boys,” Agnes teased and then grew serious.
- “As for you, young man, you are going to walk right in front of me for the rest of the trail. No wandering, even an inch, off the trail. Do you understand?”
- “Yes, Mom.”
- Mal wasn’t particularly happy, but he knew things could have been much worse, especially if he had gotten hurt, possibly broken his back in the fall.
- “Are we all ready to go? Besides Rufus, I mean. He can’t wait to get up to higher ground,” sad Mort, hoping that he could coax Rufus to climb the steps back to the main trail since he was determined not to let go of the leash again.
- “Mort, I think you and Rufus won’t be taking the steps. He’ll decide how to get back up and you can hang on. He’ll pull you up, just like I predicted when Dad suggested coming here,” Agnes said.
- Mort had hoped Agnes wouldn’t remember what she said earlier, but he had to acknowledge that she was probably right. It was a good thing that all of them had sturdy hiking shoes, he thought...especially me!
- The rest of the Sentinel Trail hike went uneventfully, albeit slowly. Mike and the children needed to take their time. It was a good think Agnes had the foresight to bring granola and almonds in her pack to fortify them after a particularly challenging part of the trail.
- It was early afternoon when they finally reached the top of Sentinel Rock. Everyone gasped at the panorama view of the Mississippi River far below and the state of Iowa on the other side, a welcome sight after the close-in view of trees and more trees.
- “Do you realize that we’re seeing the same view that the Indians saw hundreds of years ago?” Mike asked, but more as a statement than a question. “And they had to be in pretty good shape!”
- “Apparently so are we,” Agnes replied. “Dad, you’ve done spectacularly!”
- “Thank you, my dear. I’ve been secretly working out. Even joined a health club. You’ve been quite an inspiration, you know.”
- The Best Laid Plans
- Mort looked at his watch. “Ag, it looks like we won’t be able to follow your plan for the afternoon. How about heading back to the cabin for a leisurely afternoon and evening?”
- “Sounds good to me,” said Mike.
- “Me too.” “Me too.” Mal and Mel were obviously tired, and they were all hungry. Granola and almonds can only go so far.
- “Ah, the best laid plans. They never do work out, do they? Sure! We all deserve a rest.” said Agnes. “Mal, how is your back?”
- “It’s fine, Mom.”
- They had a late lunch of sandwiches back at the cabin. The twins were so tired they went up to take a nap without even being asked.
- “Be sure to take off all those dirty clothes before you climb into bed,” Mort called out and then went up to check on the twins.
- When Mort came down, Agnes and Mike were having a quiet cup of coffee on the porch.
- “Say, Mort, have you heard from the bank about that bag of money you found?” Mike asked.
- “Not a word,” Mort replied. “I would think they’d be a little more communicative. I’ll call them early next week.”
- The three adults sat on the porch, slowly sipping their coffee. No one wanted to be the first to admit being tired.
- Finally Mike spoke up.
- “We’ve had a late lunch. What say we take it easy until the twins get up? Then we can all shower and head into town for Saturday evening services and then pick up those steaks I promised to grill for you and hamburgers for the youngsters.”
- “Dad, that sounds great,” Agnes agreed. She had forgotten Mike’s promise and planned on everyone roasting their own hot dogs. Steak and burgers definitely had more appeal. “Thank you!”
- Maloneys in the Mist
- Mist blanketed the area on Sunday and everyone got up late without the bright morning sun and chorus of birds chirping to rouse them. No one felt the need to turn on the television in the cabin to catch up on news or weather the night before, so the turn in weather surprised everyone.
- “You two are as hushed as the mist out there. What’s the matter? You can’t expect sunshine EVERY day of your lives.” Mike watched the twins as they shuffled down for breakfast; Agnes watched Mike and thought she saw a hint of amusement in his eyes.
- “We know, Grandpa. I brought my camera and waited until today to take some pictures,” Mel said softly.
- “Well now, checkout time isn’t for another 5 hours. According to your mom’s map, there are some neat lookout places that we can drive up to really close. Anybody can take postcard-type pictures when the sun’s shining. This is a perfect chance to see how creative you are. You can imagine that you’re sitting on a cloud.”
- Mike knew Agnes and Mort were feeling a bit of a letdown, Agnes especially, with all her detailed plans for the weekend. Weather is something that can’t be helped and less-than-ideal conditions are simply a part of life. The best laid plans...sometimes fall apart, Agnes reasoned, recalling the saying "Into each life, some rain must fall.
- After breakfast, Agnes gathered up some towels from the cabin and put them in the car just in case anyone’s hair needed drying.
- At Lookout Point, the twins peered into the mist. The view was a lot different than it was the day before and they weren’t so sure that taking photos was a good idea.
- “When professional photographers try to duplicate nature like this, it’s called a ‘special effects,’” Mike explained. “Do you remember seeing those pictures of your mom and dad’s wedding? The photographer uses a special lens to soften and even slightly blur the picture. Here, you’ve got the effect automatically.”
- Neither Mal nor Mel remembered seeing anything like what their grandfather described, but they decided to be good sports and took turns taking pictures of the scenery from angles that possibly no one before them had ever tried.
- The camera’s “memory full” warning came on after about 15 minutes and everyone agreed that they should go back to the cabin for an early checkout and start early on the drive back home.
- They returned the towels, packed their clothes and other assorted gear. After Mort and Agnes checked one last time to make sure nothing was left behind, they all piled into the car for the drive home.
- “We were so tired last night, I totally forgot to sing my favorite Mississippi River song!”
- “Oh, Dad,” Mort sighed.
- “Come on, it’ll be fun for Mal and Mel.”
- As they headed east, Mike sang in his fine baritone voice:
- Well, in eighteen fourteen we took a little trip/along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip./We took a little bacon and we took a little beans,/And we caught the bloody British near the town of New Orleans./We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin./There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago./We fired once more and they began a’runnin'/down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.
- Soon the twins started joining in the chorus. “We fired our guns and the British kept a’comin...”
- Mort and Agnes looked at each other. It was hopeless. They shrugged and joined in, tenor and soprano. At least it’s better than ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall, they both thought.
- Please click HERE to read the Post Adventure and a glimpse of the adventures to come in BioFables; The Journey Begins, Books 2 and 3.
- LINKS: BOOK 1 TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION TO THE BIOFABLES SERIES
BioFables 1 Teaching Brief
BioFables 1 & 2: Word Counts, Reading Levels