BRAVE NEW WORLD SERIES A Post-Apocalyptic Adventure in the Canadian Forest ©2013
Charles W. Bird Thehomeplace1@earthlink.net Acknowledgements
Paul Cormier: For the idea of such an adventure Dr. Robert Vallier, Ph.D.: His input on the construction of this story made it possible.
This story is dedicated to the memory of Colonel Richard Dagget O'Donnel, United States Marine Corps 1937 – 2009 A wonderful friend from my own childhood
It was becoming apparent that things were coming to a head. The government entered into a massive welfare and social reengineering program and, at our urging, our neighbor to the North, The Dominion of Canada, embarked upon the same program. In order to support such an endeavor, both countries began borrowing massive amounts of money, from China principally. The staggering magnitude of the borrowing dried up credit worldwide, creating bankruptcy for many smaller nations. Those nations were unable to repay their debts and their governments collapsed. In order that they might bring stability out of the chaos, The Chinese Government demanded payment on our country's debt, which they were unable to pay. Likewise, Canada was unable to repay any of their loans. When this became known, a run on the banks in both countries dried up all available cash and payrolls, bills and operating funds disappeared, there simply was no money to be had. At one point, just before the collapse, gasoline was going for $65.00 a gallon, any grade! Within a week, nothing was moving in all of North America, food stores were being looted and anarchy prevailed. Both governments were paralyzed, electric power had gone off and the only organizations that were mobile were the military and they began to operate without governmental oversight in whatever manner they thought best. Freedom was lost! This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental. No part of this story may be copied for any reason without my consent.
BOOK 2 – A BRAVE NEW WORLD
The Winter of Our Growth
A cold, overcast morning met us, as dreary as our thoughts. I sat with a cup of coffee, wondering what was going to become of our boys, all of us, in fact. Henry and I had become their parents in fact and we both loved them unconditionally. We feared for their safety and well-being and wondered what was to become of all of us.
The little boys, the twins and Steve and Oscar, do not seem to understand what has happened but Jake was in my lap, crying a bit, Todd had Oscar, holding him tight while Henry had scooped up both Billy and Bobby. Jacob, bless his heart was cuddled on the couch with Calvin, Lester and Fred. They looked like they had lost their last friend.
Chris, bless his soul, came up the stairs with an armload of video games and started passing them out. We stayed inside all that day, it just didn't seem to be the thing to do to go outside, but that was soon to change. After a good breakfast, the boys got their lessons out and everyone worked for several hours. Their moods lifted a bit and slowly, smiles came back to their faces.
It had started snowing again so the pile of video games vanished and the boys paired up against each other. It was a joy to hear their happy voices again and it wasn't long before Henry and I were smiling with them. Roger created a wonderful hot punch with cranberry juice and cinnamon. Henry told us that he thought there were some cranberries growing wild near the far end of the lake; we will sure have to check that out next summer!
As the afternoon started to turn winter dark, the twins suddenly sat up very straight, as if they were listening to something. All of sudden, Rodrigo said, "He needs help”, by this time we knew what to expect from those two, so we waited for more information. He and Ricardo got up and began walking towards the door just as something started scratching.
Henry stopped Ricardo from opening the door, but Rodrigo repeated, "He needs help.” Henry carefully cracked the door with Chris holding his shoulder against it being shoved open and they both peeked out. There, huddled against the slightly warm door was a dog, it looked like some kind of terrier, shivering and shaking near death from the cold. Ricardo knelt down and scooped the dog up, tears were running down his face and again he repeated, "He needs help, please Daddy, help him!”
The poor dog was covered in ice but he managed to wag his tail a bit and lick Ricardo' face, so it was no leap of imagination to realize that we now had a dog. Roger heated up some milk and broke up some hard rolls to soak up the milk for the dog to eat, while Calvin brought some dry towels to wrap the dog and get him warmed. All the while, the dog was wagging his tail and licking Ricardo' face and hands. Pretty soon he tried to stand up, having gotten a little food in him.
He walked up to each of us as if to say "thank you” before finishing the bowl of warm milk. Rodrigo held the dog's head for a moment and turned to us all saying, "His name is Raven.” As soon as the dog heard his name, he jumped up and started barking at the door and then running up to the twins, back and forth. Both boys got a blank look on their faces and they said together, "Daddy, the boy is out there and he is hurt!”
There was no question in our minds that we had a rescue situation and Todd brought mine and Henry's jackets as well as his own, Roger and Chris's. I told the two oldest, Freddy and Lester that Jacob was in charge and they were to help him with the little boys. By this time, Ricardo and Rodrigo were crying and saying, "Go faster, Daddy, the boy needs help! There is another with him!”
As we opened the door to go out, the dog, Raven, slipped out ahead of us barking and urging us to go faster. Without any question, we both followed the dog up over the ridge and down towards where the water turbine generator was located. There, we found a boy huddled against the generator shed with a bundle in his arms.
Raven continued to bark frantically until Henry picked up the boy and I gently lifted the bundle out of his protective arms. He moaned to let us know he was still alive, so we set off back to the house as fast as we could run. Somehow, the twins knew we were at the door before we could knock because the door suddenly flew open and little hands were helping us inside.
Calvin and Jacob already had dry towels and blankets stacked on the couch and Oscar was heating broth on the stove. The twins had alerted them of what we had in our arms! I think I am going to have to have a long talk with those two and learn just what it is that they can do!
Henry started taking the clothes off the boy and get him warm. He appeared, from his development, to be well into puberty, probably 14 or 15 years old and was obviously a Native. The natives in this area are all Crees, but this boy looked more like an Iroquois or perhaps a Mandan.
As they worked on warming the boy, I unwrapped the bundle he was carrying only to discover that is was a baby; a baby boy that could not have been more than a few weeks old. The little child began to cry as soon as the warm air in the room hit is bare skin. At the first wail, Raven was standing beside me licking the baby's face and body. The dog looked up at me as if to say, "This baby is MINE!” Oh, I need to have a long talk with those twins! Between the arrival of Raven and now the two boys, our excitement was running at fever pitch.
Calvin and Oscar brought over a bowl of beef broth and a spoon to Henry, who was now sitting on the couch holding the boy wrapped in warm towels. The boy looked at the bowel and shook his head "yes” so Henry started feeding him a little bit of broth at a time.
I had the baby now wrapped in warm towels and I remembered seeing some baby bottles and nipples in a package in the same room where the medicines were stored, so I asked Todd to see if he could find them. Roger was already warming some milk and the two boys filled the baby bottle with warm milk and slipped a nipple on the end. The baby was obviously hungry because he immediately clamped down on that nipple and tried to empty the bottle in a single gulp!
As soon as the boy had finished the bowl of broth, Ricardo came over and placed his hands on the boy's forehead while Rodrigo held his hands. In a few minutes, Ricardo told us the boy's name is Fox and the baby is his nephew, Sky Whistle. The boy tried to speak, but Ricardo held up his hand and again put his hands on the boy's forehead.
After a few minutes Ricardo began to recite, "Fox brought his nephew because bad people raided their village and killed his parents and his sister. All that remained alive were him, Sky Whistle and the dog, Raven. After the raiders left, he gathered up Sky Whistle and the three of them started off hoping to find shelter. They traveled all night and saw the strange orange glow in the sky and knew immediately that something terrible had happened. He finally stumbled next to the wooden shed that he could hear something running in it, but his strength was gone. When Raven couldn't rouse him, the dog went off to find help. Fox speaks some English but he needs to sleep now, please take care of Whistle.”
At that, Fox's head slumped against Henry's chest and he was sound asleep. Lester and Freddy came up to me and peered down at the baby, shyly they giggled and asked if they could hold the baby. I didn't see why not, so I got them settled on the couch and showed them how to support the baby's head.
You could just see the pride and the love flow off the two of them, Whistle didn't know it yet, but he had just conquered two older brothers!
Calvin came over to sit on my lap and then both Oscar and Steve joined in, I had a lapful of boys. We just sat there for a while and then I ran my fingers down Oscar's side making him shriek in laughter! That started the baby to cooing and soon we were all giggling with relief! We had just added two more boys to our community and a dog, I wondered how much more would we grow.
I would have been astounded had I known just how prophetic my thoughts were! Jacob had befriended Fox, who had awakened after about an hour, and they were becoming fast friends despite a language difference. They were sitting on the floor talking when I looked at Henry, I asked him if Jacob spoke French. He looked startled and said not as far as he knew. Well, listen to the boys, they were speaking FRENCH!
Henry asked his son what they were talking about and Jacob replied that he was asking Fox about his carrying Whistle all that way' Henry said, "IN FRENCH?” Jacob got a funny look on his face as said, "Yeah, but I don't know any French!” The twins were giggling over in the corner!
If I had not been so tired, I would have done some more asking, but as it was, everybody was beginning to yawn, so it looked like it was time to go to bed. Oscar and Steve asked if Whistle could sleep in their room, I was a little apprehensive but the look on their faces was enough to let them try. They went and got a laundry basket and filled it with soft towels for blankets. They then gently carried him to their room and placed the basket between their two beds. Raven lay down in front of the basket, almost daring anyone to hurt HIS BOY!
Everyone got ready to go to bed and Henry and I started to make the rounds with goodnight kisses along with a few tickles, just for fun. When we got to the twins, Ricardo whispered in my ear, "Don't worry Daddy, everyone knows what they need to do.”
Later, as we laid in bed, I related that to Henry and told me that if he didn't love those two boys as much as he did, he would be afraid of them! I asked how it was that Jacob could speak French and he replied that he wasn't sure he WANTED to know!
The house quieted down with the exception of Raven, who made a continuous round checking in the Whistle and Fox. I could hear his toenails clacking on the wood floors as he went from bedroom to bedroom guarding his charges. Just as I was dozing off, I am sure I heard a tiny voice say to me, "Fox's people will be here soon, Daddy, please help them.” We spent the night undisturbed, even baby Whistle slept the night through.
The next morning the first problem was to find some clothing for Fox, his leather leggings and jacket were still water soaked. He was a bit taller than Jacob so Todd had some pants he could wear and Jacob's shirts fit him well enough. Shoes were another problem, but Chris finally found some new shoes in a clothing storage locker that were the right size.
The march to breakfast was like a triumphant army marching to victory with Whistle in his basket and Raven marching directly under it! After we had eaten, we all gathered in the big room and sat down to talk with Fox. With Jacob doing much of the translation, we learned that Fox and Whistle had lived in a family encampment about 10 miles north of our lake.
He said that in the middle of the night some men stormed their homes, setting fire to everything and shooting wildly. They wore some kind of uniform, but he didn't think anyone was in charge. His Father killed a couple of them until he was shot down. His Mother told him to grab the baby and run, which he did. It took him all day to travel to where we found him, but he said that "the voices” told him where to go.
He started crying heavily as related all this and Henry gathered him up in his arms and held him. When he finally was able to stop sobbing, we told him that he and Whistle could live with us and that as soon as we could, we would go and bury his Family. A very upset boy held Henry's and my hand as he stumbled through his English telling us that he had only 12 summers and now he and Whistle were all alone. He turned to the two of us and asked us if we would be his Daddies and take care of him and little Whistle. I don't know who was crying harder, Fox, Henry or me! So now, Henry and I have 17 sons!
Henry and I decided that, with all our new Family additions, it would be a good idea to take an inventory of the clothing and other supplies that had been stored in the camp. We knew we were alright for food, at least through the rest of the winter, but we needed an idea about clothing, shoes, bedding and that sort of thing. We also needed to discuss plans for protection if the group that had raided Fox's home ever showed up. We knew that we had a couple more months of winter weather, but it was probably a good idea to begin planning now.
We spent the rest of the day going through storerooms and lockers to make a list of our supplies. Whoever had laid these supplies obviously intended them to last a very long time. It seemed that a military man must have been the leader of the group and it did seem that the supplies were intended for military type people.
Oscar and Steve helped by watching Whistle with Raven also standing guard over the baby. They fed him another bottle and even changed his diapers like they had been doing it forever; of course, Raven checked their job before he allowed Whistle to be put back down in his bed!
While we were still busy checking the supplies, Oscar and Steve found some sheets of paper and some pencils and started to draw out plans for next year's garden. They checked on the seed supply and by lunch time they had completed plans all drawn up with lists of seeds and when they should be planted!
Our chefs, Calvin and Oscar, started lunch and everyone had hot soup and rolls. We decided to let the boys play in the afternoon as the night before everyone had been pretty restless. It was a good day and even Fox played some of the video games with the older boys. His English was improving by leaps and bounds.
After the evening meal, the twins sat down beside Henry and me, looking very solemn. Ricardo started by saying, "Fox is very important. He is Shaman!” Henry, being knowledgeable about the local Indian tribes, looked at Ricardo and asked him, "Does he know this?” Rodrigo then said, "Yes Daddy and he needs your help, he must bury his people before he comes into his powers. He is very powerful and he will bring others to us! He will help us when the bad people come!”
We decided that Fox needed more rest before we started questioning him and it was getting late anyway, so we started everyone towards getting washed up for bed. It had been an exciting and tiring two days, sleep was what we all needed.
Over the next several days we talked with Fox, but never questioned him. He grew comfortable with us and soon he was just another happy boy member of our "tribe.” Whistle was a happy baby and had become very attached to Steve and Oscar, his face would light up whenever they came near him. We continued to monitor the area cameras, but other than some wildlife, nothing was moving in the snow and cold.
We gradually relaxed our vigilance and settled back into our routine of lessons in the morning and playtime most afternoons. About once a week Henry and I would wade through the snow to check the water turbine generator, but nothing was ever needed, it ran perfectly, only a little oil had to be added about every other week.
Finally, winter began to loosen its hold on us, water began to drip from the ice on the roof each afternoon and the snow was starting to turn slushy and wet. We were anxious to get our garden restarted, with as many boys as we had, we were going through the stored supplies at an alarming rate.
ANOTHER YEAR IS UPON US
Spring in the Canadian woods is a wet and slushy affair but our hillside drained rapidly and as soon as the soil could be worked, Oscar and Steve were out planting seeds. The two boys had grown considerably since last year, they were now hulking 8 year olds and were filling out as handsome young men. They knew exactly what and where they wanted things planted and they kept us busy for a couple of weeks helping them. I was sure that the older boys were going to object, but that never happened, I guess they wanted fresh vegetable too!
The twins, Ricardo and Rodrigo were growing too, their pants were "high-water” and their shirts were suddenly too tight! They continued to amaze us with their talents and they had taken over completely working with Fox, who had now bloomed into a happy, confident youngster.
Whistle had also gotten much bigger and loved all his brothers, but most of all Oscar and Steve. Raven guarded us all, but he kept Whistle in sight always! Jacob and Fox seemed to pair off with each other whenever the twins had not claimed Fox. Both boys walked the woods near the campground with Fox showing Jacob about edible plants and spices to be found. Our soups and other dishes were taking on a whole new set of flavors.
Fox started bringing home mysterious plants and leaves to be dried. I suspect the Shaman instincts that the twins told us about were beginning to come forward. Chris and Roger spent most of their time together and they had moved into a small bedroom with a big bed in it. That was alright with Henry and me, they DID ask us first. We all needed each other and also someone special.
Billy, Bobby, Jake and Oliver had created a "bunkroom” for themselves, there was a whole lot of giggling coming from their room, but we all respected their privacy. Last, but definitely not least, Lester and Freddy announced that they were going to occupy the room near the platform on the roof and that they would man the telescope and binoculars on the lookout daily.
Everyone decided on these rooms without any input from Henry or me. We didn't think that there needed to be any changes as they were doing quite well governing themselves. As summer began to arrive, Fox came to us in tears, "Daddies, it is time to bury my people.”
Henry and I knew this was coming, but Fox's tears brought us all into an embrace with him. We knew that he needed our help and we WERE going to support him. The next morning we told Chris, Roger and Todd that they were needed to run things while Henry and I went with Fox. Immediately Jacob and the twins said they would go with us also.
We figured that would be enough people to do this hideous task so the next day we set out, carrying shovels, an axe and hand tools along with enough camping equipment for a couple of days. I was amazed at the distance Fox had struggled through the snow carrying Whistle during a storm! It took us all day to get to Fox's village.
All the houses had been destroyed, so we set up our camp near the spring that had supplied the village. We had to clean it out before it was usable, the raiders had thrown stones and building materials in, but nothing that would have contaminated the water.
We used a canvass to carry the bodies of Fox's people to a simple graveyard we had dug. Fox identified his Mother and Father, along with his Sister and her husband, so we buried them first. Ricardo surprised us, he stood at each grave and said a prayer, first in English and then in words that I believe were Fox's native language. Whatever it was, it brought sobbing and many tears to Fox by the time we had buried all his people, 15 graves in all by the time we finished.
It was too late to start our return and Fox was certainly in no shape to travel, he collapsed into his bedroll without even eating supper. It was like he had gone into a coma, we couldn't rouse him. Henry and I took turns sitting beside him until Ricardo and Rodrigo told us that he would wake up in the morning as SHAMAN! We had learned long ago to trust the twins, so Henry and I slipped into our own bedrolls to sleep.
We awoke early the next morning to the sound of Fox chanting near the graves of his family. We decided to let him have his private grieving, he finally returned to us with a smile. Ricardo whispered in my ear, "He is complete now, he is a MAN! HE IS SHAMAN!”
I hardly digested what Ricardo had said to me when he continued, "Daddies, both of you stand, one on each side of me and DO NOT SAY A WORD!” From the tone of his voice, I knew something very important was happening, so Henry and I each held one of Ricardo' hands while Rodrigo brought Fox to stand directly in front of us.
Fox stood ramrod straight, looking both of us in the eyes as he began to speak in an eerie booming voice, "GREAT SPIRIT OF THE ATAWONKA, HEAR ME, I AM THE BLOOD OF MY GRANDFATHER, GUIDE ME IN WHAT I MUST DO. I STAND BEFORE MY FATHERS, NEW CHIEFS OF THE ATAWONKA.” I swear, Fox's face went all foggy with a bluish haze and then it cleared with a great smile on his face. He continued, "I HEAR YOU GREAT SPIRIT OF THE ATAWONKA, AS YOU SAY, SO IT SHALL BE! I, FOX-ATA, AM SHAMAN! THE ATAWONKA SHALL RISE AGAIN WITH OUR NEW CHIEFS. I, FOX-ATA, SHAMAN, SAY THIS AND IT SHALL BE SO!”
At this, Fox started to crumple to the ground and both Henry and I started to move to pick him up, but Ricardo held us back telling us that it must happen this way. Rodrigo remained standing and held his hand out to Ricardo who stepped up beside him and they turned to face Henry and myself.
They began to speak as one person, "WE SPEAK FOR SHAMAN, WE SPEAK FOR CHIEFS HENRY AND PETER, WE SPEAK FOR THE ATAWONKA. SO IT HAS BEEN SPOKEN, SO SHALL IT BE. RISE FOX-ATA, SHAMAN, BRING THE ATWONKA TOGETHER.” At the last word, they also crumpled to the ground next to Fox.
Despite what we had been told, Henry and I started towards the boys, but before we could move all three of them staggered to their feet and wrapped their arms around each other and ourselves, they all were flooding our shirts with their tears, not of fright but of relief! Jacob rushed to help his brothers and we all started talking at once.
Fox raised his hand for quiet and began to speak to us, "Fathers, Brothers, I am not as I was but still I am Son and Brother to you. I must go from here for a while and I must take my Brothers Ricardo and Rodrigo with me. Please remain here; we will be gone only a short time. Do not be afraid for yourselves or my Brothers, all will be well.” As he finished speaking, all three turned and walked off into the trees.
It was strange and eerie, the silence was complete. Not a single bird sang, nor a sound came from the forest and, yet, we were at complete peace. We three who remained, Henry, myself and Jacob busied ourselves cleaning up our camp and arranging stones around each of the graves. By late afternoon we had accomplished all that we could and we sat to wait for the boys' return.
Just before dark, Fox stepped from behind a tree followed by Ricardo and Rodrigo. Fox strode up to us as we stood and he said, "Father Henry, Father Peter, Chiefs of the Atawonka, I bring you our people.
At those words, a group of 15 boys, ranging from about 6 to 15 followed him out of the forest and they also, gathered directly in front of us. He began to toll out their names and each boy in his turn stepped in front of us and grasped each of our hands, Bear, Trout, Lion, Panther, Raccoon, Feather, Hawk, Knife, Fish, Horse, Tree, Sparrow, Owl, Eagle and Elk all each in their turn professed their loyalty to Henry and myself.
It was an emotional and draining experience but we knew that it represented the survival of Fox's Family and his People! Again, it was now too late in the day to try to return to the Campground, but we had no provisions with which to make supper.
Each of the new boys carried a bag, from which they produced jerky and a bread roll with enough for the rest of us to eat also. The day had taken its toll upon us and our bodies demanded sleep. As excited as we were, all of us were asleep almost before our heads hit our bedrolls! It was a weird night, I kept dreaming of Indians fighting with men in uniform, gunfire, and Indian Warriors standing before a campfire.
Both Henry and I woke about the same time and he asked me if I had any dreams. When I told him what mine were like, he said that his were exactly the same. When anyone in the future ever tells me that dreams never happen, I will tell them they are wrong!
The next morning we picked up and headed home, that wonderful place where our boys are waiting for us. What a surprise we have for them, and I wonder where we are going to put them all?
SUMMER COMES TO THE ATAWONKA PEOPLE
For such a large group, we moved fairly fast through the forest and it was early afternoon as we came in sight of our home. We sent Ricardo and Rodrigo on ahead to warn everyone that we had strangers joining us, so the whole Family stood at the entrance to welcome us home. The new boys were a little overwhelmed by their welcome and there was a little language difficulty but that was all soon overcome by being just boys.
We opened up the closed wing of the main house; that gave us 6 more bedrooms and a great room. Fox and Jacob led the new boys into the great room and introduced them to everyone. Between English, French and the native language, it was a great mixture! Jacob moved out of his old room to be with Fox, it looks like that is going to be a permanent arrangement. I think it bothered Henry at first, but when he saw the two together, he had no more problems with it. They ARE a couple!
Ricardo and Rodrigo became quite friendly with Sparrow and Owl, who are the same age and, I suspect, they are telepaths like Ricardo and Rodrigo because all of a sudden, the two Indian boys were speaking English! We took the two single beds out of Ricardo' and Rodrigo's room and replaced them with two Double Beds. It was a tight fit but all four boys were happy.
Eagle and Elk are the same age as Oscar and Steve, plus they are cousins to Whistle, so those two joined the "bunkroom” right away and there seems to be no communication problems there either! The next boy to be "assimilated” was Bear. He was the oldest at 15 and Ricardo walked him over to Chris and Todd and introduced them silently? Whatever Ricardo did, Bear was their long lost buddy and he headed to the bedroom between those two, locked arm in arm!
I sometimes think that Ricardo and Rodrigo are the news Chiefs, but the moment I thought that I got scowls from both boys, hoo boy, I gotta be careful even with what I think about!
It was apparent early on that Fish, Horse and Tree were very close and Rodrigo told me that they were blood brothers and had seen their parents murdered by the raiders. That made them very special to me and I gathered them to me as we sat on the couch. They clung to me as I told them I would be their new Daddy. I am not sure they understood all my words but there was no question that they knew my meaning. I found out that all three were very ticklish and it was a wonderful way to break the tension – WITH GIGGLES!
They jibber-jabbered to me and I, back to them; pretty soon we began to understand each other, I am sure Ricardo and Rodrigo or maybe Owl and Eagle are part of that?
Next came Knife, even though he was 10, he was a small little boy. Knife wandered out to the kitchen where Calvin and Oscar were getting supper ready. He watched for a little while and then dug some crumpled leaves out of his bag and handed them to Oscar, pointing to the pot. Oscar sniffed them and then crumpled them up and added yet another taste to the stew they were making. Oscar tasted it and yelled, "WOW!” He grabbed Knife and kissed him!
Jacob, of course, took up guard next to Fox and was his constant companion. At one point, Fox turned to Jacob and said, "You are my JACOB-ATA, be with me always!” Jacob looked at Henry and when Henry nodded "OK”, Jacob was Fox's!
Trout and Lion are both brothers, 10 and 11 years old. They were a little shy but they looked at Lester and Freddy and asked if they could join Panther and Raccoon on the observation deck. There was no problem with that as it was the largest bedroom in the campground. All six boys dashed off, giggling and laughing; they climbed the stairs to the top level.
Feather and Hawk started playing with the video games and Chris took them down to the computer room where the camera monitors were operating. They immediately understood what they were looking at and started operating the camera controls. We were never sure how they did that, but those two, Feather and Hawk, became the camera operators and were the first ones to see trouble when it finally came to us. They saved our "bacon” more than once!
All this took place over several days and each Indian Boy was accompanied by Fox as he moved in with the boys already there. After about two weeks, Fox asked if he could hold a campfire and a POW-WOW near the lake. Of course we had no problem with that (we had already been warned by Ricardo and Rodrigo!) So, on a mid June night, Fox called all his brothers to POW-WOW.
They made a huge group and Henry and I were also invited. (We were warned by Ricardo and Rodrigo to stay silent while Fox led the ceremony!) At dusk we all trouped down to the lake shore, after turning out all the electric lights that surrounded the campground. We even brought Whistle in his basket bed.
As it grew dark, Fox lit the fire logs that he had placed in the fire ring and, as the fire grew, he stood before all of us and started to chant, first in his language and then in English. "I am FOX-ATA, SHAMAN TO THE ATAWONKA” "ALL PRESENT ARE ATAWONKA, CHIEF HENRY AND CHIEF PETER ARE HERE TO PRESIDE.” Ricardo and Rodrigo stood and took my and Henry's hand to pull us upright. Rodrigo said, "This is Chief Peter” "Heed him well” Ricardo said, "This is Chief Henry” "Listen to him well” and they both sat down leaving Henry and I standing.
Henry looked around the fire circle and said, "Are all of you taken care of, does anyone need anything?” "Are you hungry or need clothing?” A voice in the dark said, "We are well and loved here” So I then asked, "Have you found friendship here?” "Do you feel safe here?” And again the voice in the dark responded, "We are well and loved here.”
It suddenly came to my mind. (Guess who I suspect?) I then said, "We, the Chiefs of the ATAWONKA welcome you in our midst, we claim you as our own! YOU AND WE ARE ATAWONKA, NOW AND FOREVER. NEVER CAN WE BE SEPARATED. SO IT HAS BEEN SAID, SO IT SHALL BE.”
Immediately Fox stood, he looked around the fire circle and the turned to Henry and myself and bowed, saying, "I AM FOX-ATA, SHAMAM OF THE ATAWONKA PEOPLE. MY CHIEFS HAVE ACCLAIMED YOU ALL ATAWONKA, SO IT HAS BEEN SAID, SO IT SHALL BE, FOREVER MORE WE ARE JOINED, ONE PEOPLE, NEVER TO BE SEPARATED!” At that, the fire died, almost as if a switch had been turned. We all joined hands and returned to the house. As it was quite late, the time seemed to have flown by, everyone was ready for bed, without complaint. Especially Henry and myself, we were exhausted. There were no more sounds for the remainder of the night!
THE COLONY BEGINS
The next morning everyone was up and ready for breakfast, Calvin and Roger outdid themselves and they had sprinkled some of Fox's dried leaves on the powdered eggs and it made a world of difference! As we were all leaving the table, Fox stood and said, "CHIEF HENRY, CHIEF PETER WHAT ARE YOUR ORDERS?” Both Henry and I stood and I whispered to him, "Make it good, partner”
He smiled, looked over the crowd of boys and said, "Fox, we must never forget those who were before us and we must never forget who we are, but we are starting a new life here, one where we are all equal, a new life that begins today; a new life that demands new traditions, new ways and new ideas. Dad sounds much better to me and Dad Peter. Sons and Brothers and Dads we are now. Do not forget the Old Ones, but let us start our news lives with new traditions, new ways and new names. It is time for a new equality among Brothers in a New Place – THE COLONY! Let us be at peace with ourselves, a new people equal in all things, each for the other; forever brothers!”
All the boys looked stunned then Ricardo and Rodrigo jumped up on a chair and shouted, "THE COLONY FOREVER!” That was all it took the boys started hugging each other, Indian boy and English speaking boy, it made no difference – THEY ARE BROTHERS!
It was a warm day and we decided that it would be a good idea to air all the bedding in the sunshine and wash the winter clothing before storing them away.
Everyone was busy with their own needs, the sound of happy boys was like music in the air. The four oldest, Henry and I have come to think of them as The Four Musketeers, Chris, Roger, Todd and Bear, had their heads together all morning, even including Fox a couple of times. It seemed that they had reached some kind of agreement and the four of them came to talk with Henry and myself.
Surprisingly, Bear acted as spokesman, he had always seemed shy before this. He told us that there were chickens running loose where they had fled to after the raiders destroyed the village. They wanted to build a chicken coop and retrieve the remaining chickens; we could have fresh eggs and chicken to supplement the frozen food we are all eating.
Henry told them that there was cut lumber and fencing materials, stored at the saw mill and they could use those materials. We could take the truck down the old logging road behind our campground and bring enough supplies to build a suitable pen for the chickens. It would have to keep the chickens in as well as keep predators out!
They proposed we go the next morning to the saw mill and start building a chicken pen. Henry and I both agreed that was a good plan and several of the other boys volunteered to help.
The remainder of the day was spent marking out where the pen should be built as well as the spring cleaning of the buildings. Even though everyone was busy, monitoring the camera screens was not neglected. We had impressed upon the boys that vigilance was necessary for our protection. They took this seriously and there was always someone watching the screens during the daylight hours.
The next morning Henry got the old truck started. The Four Musketeers hopped in, along with a few others to help load materials and they started out headed for the saw mill. It would be an all day trip, so Calvin and Oscar packed lunches for all those going.
While they were gone, I got to thinking about the houses across the lake. The uniformed men had carried off everything they could, but we needed to see if anything else was salvageable.
I gathered Fox, Calvin and Panther and told them to get the canoe ready to go across the lake. Trout and Lion I left in charge with a special warning to watch after Whistle.
I took one of the radios and left one with the twins, who were going to stay up on the observation deck while we were gone. There was little wind, so the trip across the lake was without problems.
The houses were in terrible shape but Calvin suggested that maybe there were hidden doors like there were in our buildings, so they all scampered off to search.
Oscar was the first to discover a hidden door under a pile of trash in a garage. We found a treasure of canned food, weapons and ammunition and a quantity of assorted clothing and bedding. We closed it back up and piled trash over the door until we could get a working party over to reclaim what we found. In every house we found hidden doors and rooms full of treasures for our survival.
None of the houses were completely destroyed, they all could be made livable again without a great deal of work; window glass was the only thing that we could not replace. As we were walking towards the last house, I heard voice in my head say, "Daddy, look in the garage quickly!”
Fox must have heard the same thing because he took off running with me towards the garage of the last house. We pushed the broken door open and, at first we saw nothing. Then Fox heard a little noise like a whimper and pushed the door open even wider to get some light. There in the corner was a young man holding a board like a club and standing in front of a woman lying on the floor holding a baby.
The man was wild-eyed with fear when he saw us, I held the boys back and spoke calmly to the man, "We are friends, we will not hurt you” I had to repeat it several times before he seemed to register what I was saying. Finally, he stammered, "Can you help us, my wife has fallen and broke her leg. We have no food for the baby, we have not eaten in days. PLEASE, will you help us”
Fox dropped to his knees beside the woman and gently said, "I am SHAMAN, let me help you.” The young man started to cry, "Help us, help my wife and my baby, I beg you!”
I used the radio to call back to the house to tell them to bring blankets and towels down to the pier, we had injured people to help! Fox fashioned a splint from two boards and some rags for the woman's leg and Calvin took the baby in his arms, singing to it to calm both the baby and the parents.
When we got them all back to the canoe, we saw a flotilla of canoes headed towards us, Lion and Feather had broken out the biggest canoe and brought it to carry the family across.
Panther, like Bear, is a boy as big as a man, he is well named. He leapt from the canoe in a single bound he was beside the young woman. He said, "I am Panther, let me help you” He said it with such feeling and kindness in voice, despite his poor English, the young mother knew she could trust him.
As soon as she was seated in the canoe, Calvin brought her baby and put it in her arms. When all were loaded into the canoes, we set off straight for the house. When we got there, Henry and his crew were also waiting for us. I asked why they were back so soon, he tapped his forehead and said, "The Twins News Service!” Apparently, everyone heard their broadcast!
We carried the Family inside and laid the young woman on a bed; Fox approached her and said, "I must set your leg so it will heal properly.” Fear showed in her face and he went on, "I will not hurt you, I will give you something to numb the pain.” At that, he pulled a small bag from his pack and poured a powder out of it into a glass of cool water. He had her drink it and they waited until she started to get drowsy.
Fox told Bear to lie across her abdomen and then in a swift motion, he set her leg straight and immediately retied the splint to hold the bones in place. He turned to the young father and said, "She will sleep now, when she wakes we will feed her a light broth.” The man looked at and was about to cry when Fox continued, "It is what I do, I AM SHAMAN”
Calvin and Oscar cleaned up and bathed the baby and they discovered she was a little girl; they wrapped her in warm towels and fed her. They laid her beside Whistle in the clothes basket crib and she was asleep before her head hit the blankets. Raven lay down in front of the basket, daring anyone to disturb HIS babies!
We let the man sit beside his wife until she was completely asleep and then offered him food and a place to clean himself. It was later that afternoon when he told us their story. "A convoy of buses was transporting people to one of the large cities when it was attacked by raiders. He and his wife and baby were able to sneak away under cover of darkness and started walking. They had no idea there was anything here, they were just following an overgrown dirt road when his wife, Maria, slipped and fell.”
He realized she had broken her leg and was fearful for her life. They had taken refuge in that garage when he was sure he heard someone tell him help was on the way. By this time, he was completely in tears and begged us to care for his wife and child, he would go away if we didn't want him around, but please spare Maria and the child. They had not even had time to name the baby!
At that point I felt I needed to make a decision and, as I stood, our two little mind sneaks sent to me, "Do it Daddy, it is the right thing to do!” Those two little gremlins had already known what I was going to say! I said to everyone, "NOBODY is going to be sent away, we will make a place for you among us!”
The young father, we learned his name was John Brayton and he was but 17 years old, thanked us through his tears and said that they would be good citizens of our community. He was hardly older than our boys and Maria was only 16 years old and they had not actually had a wedding.
Fox turned to them as said, "Before you stand two CHIEFS of our people, when you are ready, THEY WILL MARRY YOU!” He looked right at Henry and said further, "I AM SHAMAN, SO I HAVE SPOKEN SO IT SHALL BE!” Then he grinned a silly grin and ran off before we could say anything.
So it came to be that we had our first of many emigrants. We repaired a house across the lake for them so they could have some privacy as a family and later that summer all three came to Henry and myself and asked that we marry them and christen the baby, whom they named Rachel. It was a feel good time, but little did we realize that our isolation and our solitude would soon be shattered.
As summer was beginning to turn into fall, Ricardo and Rodrigo again warned us there people were approaching and some of them were hurt. Knowing how John and Maria found refuge here, we sent a party out under the leadership of Bear, who was turning out to be a skilled leader of men, and men they are in both body and heart.
The search party did not return that night and Henry and I worried all night long; such horrible things our imaginations can dream up.
We both finally did drop off to sleep just a little before dawn. It seemed like only minutes, but it was actually a couple of hours later, a grinning Rodrigo and Ricardo were shaking us. When we finally got our eyes open Ricardo told us that we had visitors across the lake at John and Maria's house. We quickly dressed, grabbed a fresh bun that Calvin had created and started across the lake in the small canoe.
We had been supplying John and Maria with fresh eggs and meat and they had planted a small vegetable garden and that had begun to produce. They had made a meal for the group of parents and children seated under a tree in their side yard.
There were three families that included four boys and a girl. All the children appeared to be in the 10 to 14 year old range and everyone was skinny with their ribs showing and gaunt faces.
They all had sores on their skin and several of the boys were severely bruised, something that alerted Henry and me. Fox had accompanied us across the lake and he and Bear were talking quietly.
Both boys stood and joined Henry and I, they turned and faced the group. Bear started, "I am Bear, I and my Brothers are the ones who rescued you. This is Fox, our SHAMAN.”
Fox then began in a rage, "I AM SHAMAN, TELL ME WHY YOUR CHILDREN ARE HURT!” At that, the entire rescue party of our boys looked very grim.
An older man stepped out from the group, clearly showing he was frightened, and started speaking, "I am James Ammons, my older brother operated a sawmill near here, we were trying to reach safety at his mill.” At that, Henry literally screamed and ran to the man, hugging him and crying, "Brother, Brother, I thought you to be dead.” Henry turned to us and said, This IS my brother whom I thought lost to me!”
After much hugging and more tears, James began their story, "The government agents were transporting us on buses when the one we were on broke down. The other buses went on without us, just abandoning us in the middle of nowhere! We overpowered the driver and the guard and tied them up leaving them in the bus.”
He continued, "I knew about where we were and convinced everyone that we had a better chance surviving with my brother than waiting for someone to rescue us. We have been wandering around these hills for three days now, before we stumbled on that old road that seemed kind of familiar to me. We have been locked up in pens, like cattle, for more than a year. They made slaves out of us, forced labor and little food. When our boys rebelled against the treatment, they beat them. More than one of our sons died from their beatings.”
He turn towards Henry and asked, "Do you think they will let us stay? Will they help us and not enslave us like the others did?” Both Henry and I were having a hard time not breaking down, Fox stepped in front of us and held up his hand for silence, "I AM FOX-ATA, SHAMAN, BROTHER TO ALL THESE BOYS, SON TO CHIEF HENRY AND CHIEF PETER. THEY SPEAK TO ME NOW, YES WE WILL HAVE YOU AND YOU WILL BE SAFE HERE. THE CHIEFS HAVE SAID IT, SO IT SHALL BE!” That said it all, nothing more was needed.
As I looked up, already a flotilla of canoes were being paddled across to us, loaded with clean clothing, blankets, food and things like soap and bandages. Fox started examining the children first and tenderly applying his herbs and ointments to their hurts.
The women were trying to recover from the stunning news that they were safe and that their children would suffer no more beatings. For the fathers, it was like a ray of sunshine crossing their faces, now they had hope.
As for me, I guess there is no sense in admonishing the Twin Broadcasting System, they know us as well as we know ourselves, Henry and I. We asked the parents if they wanted their children to stay across the lake with us or with them, we just didn't have room there for everyone. James Ammons said his two boys, Gary and Billy could stay with us, that way they could get to know their cousin, Jacob.
The other parents wanted their children with them, we could certainly understand that. Then the little girl spoke up, "My name is Gail and I am nobody's child, my parents are gone and these kind people took me in. May I stay with you across the lake? I would work for you and do your cleaning if you will let me stay.”
Before anyone could say a word, Calvin ran to the little girl and said, "Of course you can stay with us, Little Sister, and no slave labor will EVER happen in our house, NEVER SHALL IT TAKE PLACE.” At that, Fox again came forward, held up his hand for silence and said, "THERE ARE NO SLAVES IN THE COLONY, NOT NOW NOR EVER SHALL THERE BE. YOU ARE SAFE HERE LITTLE SISTER, A CHIEF'S SON HAS SAID IT, SO IT SHALL BE.”
He then turned to the new boys and said, "WE ARE ALL CHIEF'S SONS, BROTHERS TO EACH OTHER AND SISTERS, ALSO. THE CHIEFS HAVE SAID IT, WE HAVE SAID IT, SO IT SHALL BE! Come with us and be welcome, there is another sister waiting for you across the lake, just as there yet another behind you, daughter to John and Maria, sister to all of us.” Fox announced, "WE are all sisters and brothers, it is the way of the ATAWONKA.”
The new adults looked shell shocked, after all they had been through it was hard to believe that they would ever be welcomed anywhere again.
Henry and I walked through the group introducing ourselves. We met James' wife Adell, who was mother to James, Jr, and Carl Ammons, Ronny and Nel Butcher along with their son David. George and Carie Noland had no children living, their son had died in the prison camp.
As we spoke with them, George said, "Chief, SIR” and I stopped him right there. He looked frightened so I quickly explained, we are merely Peter, myself, and Henry. We are not rulers nor are we commanders, just parents like yourselves; we are no better nor any worse.”
After a few moments he began again, "Peter, we have cared for Gail since we left the prison camp, Carie and I have come to love the little girl, she is only 6 years old and has been horribly abused. Could you see it in your heart to let us raise her, we can't have any more children and those monsters murdered our little boy, Bobby. That little girl is all that is holding my poor wife's sanity together. Will you help us?”
Suddenly, Rodrigo was at my side. He spoke up, saying, "Daddy, he speaks the truth and he is a good man. Invite them to stay at our house for a couple of days, they can have my and Ricardo' room, we will sleep in the bunk room for a while. Give them a chance to bond with our sister.”
I turned to George and said, "You have been vouched for as no other could be, please be our guest until we can fix up some more houses. We will talk more later and also speak with little Gail. Be easy, you have great and wondrous champions for your cause!”
We loaded up all those going back across the lake and those staying with John and Maria returned to that house as it was started to become dark. We arrived back at the dock and assisted everyone in bringing their few belongings up to the house.
George was amazed, he said that the prison camp even, did not have electric lights! When he discovered hot and cold running water, flush toilets and central heat, he just sat down dumbfounded! He said, "I am a maintenance mechanic, if you will let me, I will maintain all this in return for letting us stay.”
I told him that there was NO FEE to be allowed to stay, that we are a free people and will never make servants or slaves of anyone else. He was still sitting on the steps when Carie went looking for him so he could eat supper. All he could do is shake and cry as he told Carie what I had said. I was eavesdropping, yes I know I shouldn't, but there was no way I could leave without being seen.
Ricardo came by me and put his fingers to his lips for me to be quiet as he walked up to George and Carie and sat down beside them. He looked at them for a few minutes and then started talking to them, "All those preacher men are wrong, Dad Peter and Dad Henry are good men and they have cared for us, healed our hurts and protected us. They have never asked anything for themselves, they give and give and give even when they are hurting themselves. That is just the way they are, they are building a new life here for all of us, you included. Come now, supper is ready and you are welcome. WE ARE FAMILY.”
They didn't see me as they went to supper, I just sat there and cried, Henry came and got me, he said that Ricardo told him where I was and that I needed him. I surely did! I hung on him and wetted his shirt with my tears. In all my life I had never been called a good person, yet a 7 year old boy just explained me to another adult in those terms!
Fall was not far away and we needed to get ready for winter. Henry shut down the water turbine generator and we ran the engine generators for a while. George volunteered to service the water turbine generator, repack all the bearings and make sure there were no water leaks that could freeze and damage the system.
Oscar and Steve gathered together a group of boys and also Gail, who volunteered to help harvest the vegetables and dry things like onions and garlic before hanging them in the store room.
We had a bumper crop of corn and also potatoes, it had been a very good growing year. We were going have to be careful to keep seed from year to year, our store bought seeds were beginning to run a little low. Potatoes, of course, we needed only to save the "eyes” and plant those the next spring.
Bear and a group of boys took some of the canoes out and brought back enough fish from the lake to fill two of the freezers. With more people to feed over the winter, food was becoming critical.
Fox took Rodrigo and Ricardo with him and they went camping for three days, when they came back, all three were heavily laden with bags of leaves, plant parts, flowers and special herbs that Fox would make into his medicines and use for spices. He had already shown us his abilities in that direction and we knew how important his skills were to us.
Calvin and Oscar experimented with adding ground dried corn meal to the wheat flour we had in storage. It made an "interesting” bread, but certainly better than no bread.
Our supply of canned butter is gone, but things like honey and ground nuts make an acceptable substitute. I don't see us getting a cow any time soon!
Henry and James took a group of boys up to the saw mill for a week, and they cut most of the logs he had stored there. If we need much more lumber, we will need to fell trees to cut up. They brought down all the cut lumber in several truck loads and stored it in the garages across the lake. Nobody has a car anyway, so they make good storage rooms.
Bear led a crew of 10 boys out for a week after the lumber cutting week and gathered fire wood for the woodstoves. They are an important source of heat and the only heat in the houses. We did hook up the old electric power lines so we could feed electricity to the houses, but there is only a limited supply, not enough to heat houses. We cancelled school lessons in order to get all the fall work done in time, everyone pitched in and there were no complaints at night when it was time to go to bed!
By mid-September all was ready for winter and Fox mentioned maybe we could have a Fall Pow-Wow. Henry and I thought it was a good idea, so all the boys and one girl got into planning the festivities. Nobody leaked any information to the adults, we were in complete dark about what was planned. The evening it was to start, a deep booming tom-tom started sounding. That was new?
Fox, Bear and Chris marched through the houses and then around the buildings on our side of the lake chanting. Some of it in English and some of it in Atawonka, but in any case, the intent was clear, it was a CALL TO MEETING! All gathered, we were around 50 people!
Fox was standing on an upended log to one side of the fire. After everyone was there, even Whistle and the new baby, they named Rachel, Fox raised his hand in the manner for silence and he began to speak, "GREAT SPIRIT OF THE ATAWONKA, WE THANK YOU FOR OUR PROSPERITY, WE THANK YOU FOR OUR NEW PEOPLE AND WE THANK YOU FOR GIVING US SAFETY IN THESE TERRIBLE TIMES. I, FOX-ATA, SHAMAN TO YOUR PEOPLE ASK YOU FOR YOUR BLESSING UPON THE ADOPTION OF OUR SISTER, GAIL TO HER NEW MOTHER AND FATHER, CARIE AND GEORGE”
He waited for a few moments and then continued, "WE ASK YOU TO BLESS THE MARRIAGE OF JOHN AND MARIA BRAYTON AND REJOICE IN THEIR NEW BABY TO BE!” At that there was a gasp from Maria and she whispered to John, "How does he know?”
Fox continued, "WE KNOW THERE ARE STILL TROUBLES AHEAD FOR US BUT WITH YOUR GUIDANCE, WITH YOUR HELP, YOUR COLONY WILL GROW AND PROSPER. THESE THINGS WE ASK, THESE THINGS ARE FOR THE GOOD OF THE ATAWONKA PEOPLE” At that, he sat down and the drum began to beat again.
Suddenly, 35 boys and one girl circled the fire, hand in hand, and started a slow dance in a chain around the fire. They twirled and skipped, jumped and clapped without saying a word, except for the beat of the drum and sound of their clapping, all was silent. A climatic crash of the drum and then all the dancers turned towards the spectators.
Fox again stood and said, "Our Fathers have laid the basis for our laws, laws which must govern our community. They told us we must never forget those who were before us and we must never forget who we are but we are starting a new life here, one where we are all equal. That new life that begins today! A new life that demands new traditions, new ways and new ideas. Do not forget the Old Ones, but let us start our news lives with new traditions, new ways and new names. It is time for a new equality among Brothers and Sisters in a New Place – THE COLONY! I, FOX-ATA, SHAMAN TO THE ATAWONKA PEOPLE REPEAT TO YOU, GREAT SPIRIT, THAT WE ARE BROTHERS AND SISTERS, ALL. WE ALL SHALL PROSPER OR WE ALL SHALL FAIL. WE ARE ONE AND ONE FOR ALL. STAND NOW MY PEOPLE AND EXTEND THE HAND OF FRIENDSHIP AROUND THIS FIRE...........GREAT SPIRIT, WE ARE UNITED AS ONE PEOPLE NOW AND FOREVER.”
Fox sat down to utter silence, broken only by the crackle of the burning logs. There simply was nothing any of us could say, nor were we willing to break the solemn silence. We sat quietly as the fire burned down and then everyone proceeded to their residence, again in utter silence.
Gail went home with George and Carie for the first time, they too were silent except for wide grins on all three of their faces.
In our house, the boys all went about their need for bed without saying a single word. Each boy came and gave Henry and me a kiss, even little Whistle was brought to us. We each in our turn went to bed and there was silence throughout the night.
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
Morning arrived all too soon, as I looked out the window I saw a light dusting of the season's first snow. I hoped we would not have a hard winter. I wandered down to the kitchen to see if I could get a cup of coffee to get my day started and Oscar had beat me to it, he handed me a cup and said, "This is a special tea brewed from leaves that Fox brought to us.” I took a sip and, WOW, it packed a punch, I was immediately all awake and ready to fight wars!
My eyes must have flashed neon because he asked me if it was ok. I told him that it was wonderful, but be careful it is powerful! He just giggled and said that breakfast would be in a few minutes, so I made the rounds of all the bedrooms and bunkroom rousing the bodies of our brood. Henry met me in the hallway and grabbed my cup with a "GIMMEE!” He swallowed that last of my tea and gulped, "GOOD GRIEF, what is that firewater!”
I told him it was some special tea courtesy of Fox! Without another word he headed to the kitchen with the cup held out for more! It was a lazy morning after the emotions of last night and everyone was hanging around the kitchen. Roger spoke up and said, "We are beginning to run low of supplies, with all the additional people, we are getting low on meat, the milk is gone as is the butter and cheese.”
Henry looked at me and then said that maybe we needed another Family meeting. Fox spoke up, "Fathers, there are several thing we need to discuss as a Family” so I turned to him as told him to gather the Family and also include all those living across the lake. This he did and he told everyone to meet right after lunch today. He must have thought it urgent to schedule it that soon and, as it turned out, it was.
Directly after lunch, everyone started showing up, we moved chairs into the great room so we could meet indoors as it was getting too cold for outdoor gathering.
When all were seated, Fox stood and motioned for silence, "WE MEET TODAY AS A PEOPLE TO DISCUSS OUR NEEDS FOR THE FUTURE. ALL MAY SPEAK, ALL ARE EQUAL. THIS IS THE WAY OF THE ATAWONKA, MAY THE GREAT SPIRIT GUIDE US TO FIND OUR PATH”
I stood first and told about our diminished supplies and asked if anyone had any suggestions.
James stood and, after a moment, said, "I remember, as a boy, there was a man living out beyond the borders of our Father's timber land who raised goats and a few sheep as well as cows. Has anyone seen or heard from him lately?”
Nobody had an answer so then Bear stood, "Fathers, my Brothers AND Sister, we need to organize a system of protection should the bad people come back.” Next, Nel stood and spoke, "I was a school teacher and we need to teach our young folks. I would like to start a school.” As she sat back down, there were groans and sighs from the boys.
Then John stood and said, "I know I am the youngest father here, but I took ROTC in high school, we need to train some of us in the proper handling of the guns, especially if there is any danger the raiders might come back.” Before John could sit back down, Ronnie stood and said, "I agree and I will help, I was a sergeant in the army in my younger days”
Everyone started talking at once, so Fox stood and raised his hand for silence, he tuned to Henry and me, saying, "FATHER CHIEFS, WHAT SAY YOU?”
Henry stood, silent for a while as he was thinking, and slowly smiled as he said, "All the suggestions are exactly what we need. James, will you go with me to see if we can find Oscar Tremaine, maybe he will trade us for some of his livestock. Nel, it is absolutely important that our children receive schooling, will you arrange for classes? They can be held here in this room. Ask anyone else if they can help also, there are books and paper in the storeroom. Bear, I appoint you as War Leader, choose who you wish to be part of our protection force and John and Ronnie will teach you about the guns. However, I want you also to become proficient with bows and arrows, spears and hatchets. We will not always have firearms; they are only good as long as we have ammunition.”
As soon as he had returned to his seat, Fox again stood, "THE FATHER CHIEFS HAVE SPOKEN, SO IT SHALL BE!”
From somewhere behind us, the drum was stroked and as I turned, I saw the twins with it and a big grin on their faces. Fox continued, "THIS CONGRESS IS COMPLETED, THIS IS HOW THE ATAWONKA DECIDE AND WE WILL MEET AGAIN. GO NOW IN THE PEACE OF THE GREAT SPIRIT.”
Henry and James remained, talking quietly on how they would approach Mr. Tremaine, even if they could find him. Bear walked up to them and suggested that he, along with Chris, Roger, Jacob and Todd go with them in case they needed to bring animals back. They both thought that a good idea and they began to make plans to leave the next morning, before winter weather made the trip impossible. Bear was truly becoming a leader among us, he was over 6' tall now and his broad shoulders made him impressive!
Nel was quite excited about starting a school for the children, it was going to be a challenge as the Indian boys had very little schooling before now and the rest of the boys had not had any formal schooling in more than a year. She assigned classes by age and estimated education level.
As we were still standing in a group, Fox came running up to us dragging Adelle with him. She was still trying to catch her breath! As soon as he caught his breath, Fox said, "Dads I have just discovered that Adelle was a Physician's Assistant, may I study with her so I can be a better healer to our people?” This news almost floored me because I had been worried about what we would do if we were hit by sickness or someone was seriously injured. Fox has taken care of our minor ailments and had even set Maria's broken leg but I knew that it was only a matter of time before something happened that he would be unable to help with.
This was a minor miracle as far as I was concerned and I eagerly told them both to start right now! Truly, things were looking up for our small colony.
Early the next day, the search party departed to look for Oscar Tremaine. Bear was proud to lead in the front, Chris and Todd brought up the rear with Roger, Jacob, Gary, Billy, Trout and Panther also part of the group. At the last minute Raven ran out barking and joined them. They worked their way cross country by angling north and eastward from the lake and crossed the Ammons' Timber Company property as dark began to close on them, so camp was made and everyone turned in early.
Meanwhile, at home, Nels started classes for the boys and Gail. She was surprised by the educational level of the Indian boys. They all were at grade level along with the rest of the group! She told me later that Rodrigo and Ricardo were scary, they would answer questions BEFORE they were even asked!
I told her about what I suspected of their mind speaking abilities and she was not surprised. She told me that it was becoming known in the educational system that many children were showing that ability and more. She told us that several of the boys, INCLUDING two Indian boys – Eagle and Elk, who were quite proficient at mind speak! She also suspected that Fish, Horse and Tree were communicating as well as Lester and Freddy! Good Grief, are not the twins ENOUGH, already!
As evening approached, my thoughts were with Henry and the search party, I was not worried about them but I sure hoped they were OK! As I was getting ready for bed, Ricardo and Rodrigo knocked on my door and entered. Ricardo started by saying, "Daddy Henry is fine, he is sleeping now” and Rodrigo said, "Bear is standing watch, they are all safe, Chris and Todd will relieve him later.” If this is what our mind speakers can do, maybe it is not as scary as I thought!
The next morning, just before they went to class, Eagle and Elk came over to me and said, "Bear says to tell you everybody is ok and that they should be to the Tremaine Farm before lunchtime” I thought to myself, does everyone know I am worried about them and Elk said, "Yes” and then giggled and ran off!
Oh, my, maybe I need to get a lead cap to block my thoughts and a voice I knew was Ricardo' said in my head, "It won't help!” Yes, definitely scary!
The search team finally reached the Tremaine Farm and found it deserted. It looked like it had been ransacked and it was obvious nobody had lived there in a couple of years. As they exited the house, they spotted two cows and a couple of goats feeding in the meadow. The paddock looked to be in fair shape, so the boys, along with Raven, went around, behind the animals and worked them into the fenced area.
The goats were nearly wild, but the cows remained calm. There were still supplies of grain in the barn that had not spoiled, so they fed and watered the animals and went looking to see if they could find some more. It took what remained of the day to round up 4 more goats and a dozen sheep.
They tried to bed down in the house, but it was just too eerie, so they spread their bed rolls out next to the paddock and had a peaceful night. Just before they drifted off to sleep, Bear spoke up and said, "Rodrigo and Ricardo report that everything is fine at home”. Henry later told me, "Yep, definitely scary!”
The next morning, when they woke up, there were two more cows munching grass outside the paddock fence! Since the weather was still holding, they decided to try and get the animals moving toward home. Raven proved himself an expert cattle and sheep dog, without him they would have never been able to control the animals. As it was it took them three days to drive the "herd” home.
The "mind bouncers” kept us all informed of the progress and when they finally arrived, it was like a holiday celebration! We now had 4 cows and a bull, 5 nannie goats and a billy and the flock of sheep included a young ram! When we first got the news of what they were bringing, we built a corral for the animals next to one of the larger garages that could be used as a barn.
The boys had carried sacks of grain they had salvaged from the Tremaine Farm and the boys here at home had been cutting hay from the fields for three days. It was going to be tight to get that many animals through the winter, but it will be well worth the effort.
Grain now was going to be a problem. James Ammons spoke up and told us that there were grain fields that had gone wild all along the road they walked to escape from the broken down bus. We will have to think hard about that, we don't want to advertise our presence here.
RUSH TO HARVEST
We all agreed that we should try to keep the livestock alive, so that meant we had to harvest some of that grain. It was going to be back breaking labor as we had no machinery to harvest grains. We had two large flatbed trailers and some 4-wheel drive vehicles to pull them so the next day everyone except the babies and Maria, whose leg was still healing, rode to the grain fields.
We cut the grain stalks and piled them on the trailers; from there we hauled them to a flat area near the houses and piled them up. We worked for 5 days of back breaking labor to harvest as much grain as we could. During that time, we saw no vehicles on the old highway, it was just dead silence but we were very nervous anyway.
As soon as we thought we had sufficient grain, everyone returned and the next day we tried our luck at threshing. We ended up doing it like from a history book. We laid the stalks on the hard ground and ran the light trucks over it back and forth. Then we pitched it up in the air and the grain fell to the ground while the chaff blew away! It wasn't very efficient, but it did get the job done.
We had to clear out another garage to store the grain, we couldn't tell how much grain we had. We just hoped it would be enough to get the livestock through the winter. We had plenty of area for pasture during the summer, so that would help.
The boys finished harvesting the vegetable gardens and carefully washed and dried the root vegetables before storing them away. One of the cows was "fresh”, we never found the calf, but now we had milk again, especially for the babies and young children.
Whistle was growing like a weed and was trying to walk. Fox was his special favorite and his eyes would light up every time he spotted Fox. He would clap his hands and make a noise that sounded very much like OX! This just delighted Fox and he would pick up the baby and carry him all around.
Rachel was another favorite, but she was still very tiny. Maria and John were so proud of her, but poor Maria would get all red in the face whenever the Twins would ask how the new baby was doing!
One day, Ricardo stood next to John and in a stage whisper said, "It's a BOY” John let out a wild WHOOP and went screaming, "It's a BOY, It's a BOY” all over the colony! I sure hope Ricardo is right, but then, when has either of those two ever been wrong?
Bear and his crew have been taking firearms lessons and they also have been making bows and arrows, a skill taught to them by their fathers back before the raid. They now felt skilled enough to go hunting for game to supplement our fast disappearing supply of meat. Bear, Chris, Roger, Trout and Lion all started out heading towards the north in search of game. Nel had excused them from classes for the hunt and Fox gave them a private blessing for their success.
They were gone 5 days when Rodrigo and Ricardo announced that the hunters need help bringing home the meat. They were at the saw mill and wanted us to come help the carry the meat home.
Henry started up the flatbed truck and he and I drove up the old logging road to the saw mill. What we met just amazed us! All dressed out and hanging from tree branches over the creek were 6 elk, 8 deer and what looked like a moose!
The hunters were guarding their prizes to keep marauding animals away! There must have been at least 2 tons of prime meat hanging there! Every freezer in the Colony was going to be needed! Fortunately, the big walk-in freezer was empty, so everything could be saved.
It was a jubilant group of proud young hunters who came marching into the Colony that afternoon and rightfully so. This was our winter supply of meat to carry us through! Those 5 hunters brought enough to feed us all! Our lives here were no longer so precarious, we WERE sure now that we were going to survive!
Oscar tried experimenting with some of the grain to make flour for bread, but he had little luck until Sparrow showed him how to use a flat rock and a round one to grind the grain. The flour turned out a little course and gritty, but he was able to make loaves of bread with it. He was going to have to share the grain with the livestock and the chickens, but still, it WAS progress!
Winter was now closing in on us and the snow was sufficiently deep to prevent any intrusion from the outside world until spring. This meant that school classes would be full time now, but nobody complained. In fact, poor Nel needed help, the students were pushing her for more, not fewer classes! James, Henry and I each took over a class to lighten her load. We sure didn't want her to go "ON STRIKE”!
Just before Christmas and mental shriek went out that we ALL heard, calling for Fox and Adelle to come quick. Ricardo translated for us, John and Maria's baby is coming! The lake was not yet completely frozen over, so Fox had to run around the end of the lake. Henry and I were not far behind, but that boy's legs are sure growing!
By the time Henry and I got there Fox and Adelle were with Maria in the bedroom and poor John was wearing the floor out pacing the living room. Rachel was standing in her crib looking google-eyed at all the commotion. Adelle stuck her head out the bedroom door to call John in and the next shriek we heard was, "ITS A BOY!”
By that time others, including Ricardo and Rodrigo had arrived, Ricardo just giggled and said, "I already TOLD HIM it was a boy!” So our small community has now grown by another boy! John insisted he be named John, Jr. and it was a proud Daddy who brought out his son to meet everyone.
After congratulating the new parents, we all headed back home and left them their privacy to get acquainted with their new boy. On the walk back, Ricardo and Rodrigo became very agitated and they, along with Fish, Horse and Tree went running back to the house as fast as they could. Henry and I looked at each other and said the same thing, "OH, OH, trouble!”
MORE MOUTHS TO FEED
We found the boys up on the observation deck with binoculars and the telescope all pointed to the south. Nothing could be seen, but the boys were all crying and saying, "They are hurt, they are hurt, get help” I asked Ricardo and Rodrigo if they could tell us what has happened and Ricardo gulped his tears back and said, "The Children, The Children, fire and blood everywhere, GET THE CHILDREN!”
Fox had already heard the call and was beating on the big drum for all he was worth, it boomed out over the snow covered land with great rolling booms calling everyone to muster. Men and women, boys and girl crowded the steps of the house, ready to help. Fox stood on the steps and said in a yell, "WE ARE CALLED, THE GREAT SPIRIT NEEDS OUR HELP, CHILDREN ARE HURT!”
Henry and Chris ran to the garage and started the trucks and we all climbed aboard. With Bear and his troop breaking the snow and ice, we slowly moved out in the direction Ricardo pointed. He was riding on the front bumper of the flatbed truck. It was slow going as the snow had gotten fairly deep by now. It took us over an hour, but we finally reached the old main road and just over a hill, we could see flames glowing, so that is where we headed.
Bear changed his crew as they were getting tired, but he remained out front, leading the way through the snow. At last, we reached the scene, it was a crashed air cargo plane! We could hear children screaming inside the fuselage, there was blazing fuel everywhere.
Without even slowing down, Bear leapt through the flames, waving his crew on with him. Soon they started returning with children in their arms, the rest of us followed him back into the plane, there were children everywhere, some obviously dead, but most were screaming in hurt and fear. I don't know how long we spent bringing children out of that plane, hours later we counted 43 children we had saved.
Finally we got all the living children out just as the entire plane exploded in a ball of fire, driving us all back many feet. We covered the children as best we could, even taking off our own clothing to keep them warm as we hurried as fast as we could go, keeping to our already broken trail to get home.
We finally returned to the Colony well after midnight and Fox and Adell had set up a hospital in the great room. It was daylight before the last child had been tended.
We were all tired, but Fox and Adelle were staggering in fatigue and emotion. Truly, there IS a Great Spirit, of the children we saved, not one died. Some will bear a few scars of their ordeal, but none died and none will be disfigured.
What amazed us was all the children we saved were girls. We later learned that all the passengers on that plane were girls and when we found out what they were destined for, the rage that erupted in the Colony was fearsome! These children were being sent to brothels! There was no girl over the age of 12 and some as young as 4 years old! As tired as Fox was, his rage was nearly uncontrollable and Bear had to leave the room he was so angry!
For myself, I have no recollection of what I did or said other than pure anger and rage. Those that stayed behind organized care for the injured children and the rest of us collapsed in a stupor, but sleep would not come. Henry cried for hours and I am sure I did also, although I have no memory of it. By early afternoon we had struggled to return to some semblance of civilized behavior and got some food prepared for our patients.
The little girls were wide eyed in fear and they cringed whenever a boy or man came near them.
Finally, Fox had enough and he dressed in his full tribal regalia, something we had not seen before. With Ricardo and Rodrigo bringing the drum, he slowly marched into the great room with the twins beating a slow call on the drum. He stopped in front of the injured girls and held up his hand to silence the drum.
Nobody made a sound as he started, "I AM FOX-ATA, I AM SHAMAN! WE ARE THE ATAWONKA AND WE DO NOT HURT CHILDREN. WE DO NOT PROSTITUTE CHILDREN. WE DO NOT ALLOW THOSE WHO DO THESE THINGS TO LIVE AMONG US. ALL CHILDREN ARE PRECIOUS TO US AND WILL BE MADE SAFE AMONG US. YOU WILL RECEIVE NO HURT, NO FEAR FROM US. OUR FATHER CHIEFS HAVE SAID THIS, SO IT SHALL BE. IT IS ORDAINED BY THE GREAT SPIRIT. WE ASK YOU TO LIVE AMONG US IN PEACE. OUR ANGER, OUR RAGE IS NOT DIRECTED AT YOU, BUT RATHER AT THE EVIL ONES WHO DID THIS TO YOU! I, FOX-ATA, SHAMAN TO THE ATAWONKA, PLEDGE MY SPIRIT FOR YOUR SAFETY!”
He sat down, sobbing uncontrollably, as we all were. No greater pledge could a man give but his very soul, his spirit! All the men left the room and the women, including Gail fed the girls and made them comfortable.
As Gail was feeding one of the older girls, she was asked, "How long have you lived here?” She replied we escaped a year and a half ago, I was alone and now I have two loving parents.”
Another girl asked, "Those boys, what things do they do to you?” Gail replied, "They care for me, they see I have food and clothing, they love me as a sister, they would kill anyone who would hurt me”
Another girl spoke up, "They don't do nasty things with you?” Gail laughed and said, "Sure, they chase me when we play tag, they tease me because I cannot run as fast as they can and they made a rag dolly for me to play with”. "Is that what you mean?”
The first girl replied, "I don't think so, you mean that you are perfectly safe here?”
Gail laughed again and said, "I sure am, did you not listen to Fox and what he said? He meant every word and he pledged his very soul for your safety. Nothing will happen to you here except good things, you will even get to go to school and learn!” At that, nothing could be heard in the room except sobbing tears.
We left the girls alone for a while and then Henry and I walked in. Henry started, "I am Chief Henry, although most just call me Dad. When we have gotten you all healed, we want you to join us and be part of our Family. We are building a new life here and we want you girls to be part of our life. My son, Fox, has guaranteed your safety with his own soul! A girl asked, "Your Son, but he is an Indian boy!”
Henry replied, "Yes, my son. I have many sons, they are ALL my sons and if you will join with us, I will have many daughters also.”
I then stood and said, "I am Chief Peter, already I think of you as my daughters, just as my sons think of you as sisters!” The oldest girl, who had spoken out, struggled to sit up as she spoke, "It will take us a while to understand all this, we have been through hell, but if you will be patient, I think we see our road home. Thank you for saving us.”
Calvin and Oscar enlisted Chris and Todd to help in the kitchen. They put together a stew made of chunks of seasoned venison, potatoes, carrots, onions and some of Fox's special spice leaves. Calvin made some bread and used some of the newly made butter to put on it.
Then he mixed fresh milk with honey and made it frothy in glasses. The boys wheeled a large cart, loaded with the food and served each girl. The first girl exclaimed, "Is this REAL milk?” and he answered, "Yes, would you like some more?” as he refilled her glass. When they got to the oldest girl, who seemed to be their leader, she looked in her bowl and shouted, "Real Meat and vegetables, oh God, can I have more?” Calvin just refilled her bowl without saying a word.
As they were leaving the room, someone asked if they could have more bread and butter, he turned and said, "Sure” as he gave each girl a second piece. As he was leaving the room, he turned and said, "Just holler, if there is anything more we can bring you” He was answered by a room full of crying sisters.
I was sitting at the table with a cup of tea that Calvin had made for me, just thinking about how to manage the population increase we suddenly acquired. Henry soon joined me and asked what I was thinking so deeply about. I said, "We suddenly have over 80 people living here, I think we need to start something like a town council to help govern the Colony.” He replied, "Why not something like a tribal council or a Council of Elders?”
I thought for a moment and said, "I don't think a Council of Elders is the right way to go, most of our population are children. Maybe the best way is to hold another congress to decide.”
He agreed so I asked Bear to send messengers across the lake to ask the folks there to come tomorrow at noon and I walked into the great room and told the girls the same thing.
Ricardo walked by and before I could say anything, he giggled and said, "I already told everybody, Dad!” The Twins News Service is still working!
The rest of the day was spent helping the girls get settled, we were going to have to make some permanent room arrangements for them soon, as they were recovering from their ordeal rapidly and were going to need sleeping areas, clothing and schooling.
I spotted Fox walking down the hall, so I told him about our plans for congress tomorrow; he didn't look surprised as he told me he had already been told about it! I thought again about those lead helmets and heard giggling coming from downstairs!
Supper that night was very different; the boys had decided to ask the girls to join us, so had moved all the tables around and put boards across some sawhorses to make trestle tables. There were enough spaces for everyone and the meal took on a holiday atmosphere.
The girls were becoming more relaxed around the boys and the boys, for their part, were being very careful not to upset or startle the girls. Calvin and Oscar, with help from most of the other boys, put on a really nice dinner. I was a little worried when Calvin asked for a bottle of liquor, but he assured me it was not to drink.
It showed up as part of a pudding they had created. It was so good, there was not a crumb left over! The girls were excited at being invited to the congress, but Fox reminded them that they were part of us now and would never be excluded from any Family activity.
Some of the girls got a little weepy over that, but all in all, we had a pleasant evening. Bedtime seemed to creep up on us and yawns were common. Everyone said "GOOD NIGHT” and we headed to our beds. It seemed like I had hardly put my head down when Fox was shaking me, saying, "Dad, we need to talk”
I looked up bleary eyed, but the window showed that it was already daylight! I left Henry asleep, he had been working so hard, I was sure he needed it. When Fox and I got down to the kitchen, our chefs were already hard at work creating a breakfast masterpiece – sticky-buns!
Only one cow was fresh right now, but her milk seemed to be producing enough butter for everyone to have some! The milk was reserved for the children and right now, the boys were giving up their share so the girls might have extra to help their recovery. That was something they had decided on among themselves and Henry and I were very proud of them for that!
Fox and I sat at a table and cups of tea were set before us immediately. Fox started, "Daddy, I think that we should make Bear our "constable” and his hunters become our protection force. We have a lot of people here now and many of them are very young, we need to be able to protect everybody!”
I told him that was a very good idea and he should bring it up at the meeting. Further, "You, Fox, are our SHAMAN, now and forever. That is an important part of our Family and you should be prepared to take your place in that post” He visibly swelled in pride and said he would.
Henry came staggering down to the kitchen, it was apparent he was NOT a morning person, at least not before he got his first cup of tea. We had pretty much changed over to tea, as Fox supplied us with his special brewing leaves. That way we could save the remaining coffee for special needs.
I related to Henry what had transpired and his comment was, "All our boys are fast becoming men. They all show maturity far beyond their years!”
Shortly before lunch time, Nell excused all the school students and Ricardo began tolling the drum in rolling booms that clearly said NOT EMERGENCY! It took those from the houses a little time to arrive as they had to walk around the end of the lake. It was warm enough that we could meet outside as long as we did not spend a lot of time out there.
Everyone had been told, I suspect by "mind message” about the meeting, so when Fox stood and raised his hand for silence, it was immediate.
He began, "I, FOX-ATA, SHAMAN ASK FOR THE BLESSING OF THE GREAT SPIRIT UPON THIS MEETING, MAY HE GUIDE OUR DELIBERATIONS AND MAKE US A BETTER PEOPLE.”
As he said that, all the girls were wide eyed in amazement that the boys were leading the meeting, not the adults! Bear stood and looked all around, then started to speak, "I AM BEAR, I AM YOUR HUNTER, I SPEAK FOR THE HUNTERS. WE PROPOSE THAT WE BECOME YOUR PROTECTION FORCE, WE WILL MAINTAIN THE SAFETY OUR PEOPLE.”
All the boys jumped up, clapping and expressing their approval. Fox again stood saying, "I, FOX-ATA STAND AS YOUR MODERATOR, WHAT SAY YOU TO BEAR'S PROPOSAL?” Almost as one voice, the air was filled with "Yes and Yeas”. Nobody expressed disapproval.
Fox then continued, "WHAT SAY YOU THAT I BE MODERATOR?” Again, all yeas were responded. Fox then spoke a third time, "FATHER CHIEF PETER, HAVE YOU SUGGESTIONS FOR THE FORMATION OF A COUNCIL?” Oh boy, those mind leeches are at work again! Immediately I heard, "It wasn't us, Daddy!”
I stood beside Fox and began to tell of my suggestions, "Since you have already approved of the Protection Force, also I suggest that each of our distinct groups, THE BOYS, THE GIRLS and THE ADULTS all contribute each two delegates to sit on the Colony Council to act as its governing body. Chief Henry and I will also sit as non-voting members and OUR SHAMAN will act as moderator”
Fox stood and said, "Make a show of hands, all those who agree.”
The vote was unanimous. Fox continued, "OUR PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN, SO IT SHALL BE. EACH GROUP SHALL MEET THIS AFTERNOON AND CHOOSE THEIR DELEGATES. THE COUNCIL WILL MEET TOMORROW AFTER LUNCH. THIS CONGRESS IS CLOSED, THE GREAT SPIRIT HAS GUIDED OUR PEOPLE.”
At that, Fox jumped into the air yelling, "Lunch Time!” and ran to the dining room, laughing and giggling like the little boy he should be. Since the weather had tuned fairly mild, Bear took two of his hunters and headed for the grain field, I wasn't sure what they had in mind but we were greatly surprised when they came back after only a short time, loaded with pheasants!
Calvin and Oscar were quick to take charge of the birds and told everyone that supper would be a little late tonight. From the smells that were soon drifting out of the kitchen, nobody was willing to argue!
Supper that night was not really all that late, maybe a half hour and we sat down, the entire Colony was invited to our meal, to roasted pheasant, dressing, REAL cranberry sauce (the twins and crew had harvested them from the far end of the lake), braised vegetables with honey glaze, and a wild plum pudding for dessert!
The girls were so stunned, after all they had been through, they were crying, most of the rest of us were not dry-eyed, either! When everyone had eaten their fill, Fox stood and said, "THIS SUPPER SIGNIFIES TO US THAT WE ARE ONE PEOPLE, OF ONE FAMILY. THERE ARE NO OUTSIDERS HERE, WE ARE ONE!”
There was not a sound for several minutes before John and Maria stood up, each holding a child. John started by saying, "I know Maria and I are the youngest parents here, we are hardly older than most of you boys and girls. We have two babies, but we want to offer a place for two girls to come live with us, you decide who they shall be, we will love them as our own two little ones!”
Immediately the 4 other married couples stood and offered a home to as many girls as they could make beds for.
Fox was still standing, so he continued, "THIS IS A MATTER FOR THE COUNCIL, THOSE WHO WISH TO PROVIDE HOMES, COME BEFORE US TOMORROW. WHAT CAN BE DONE; SHALL BE DONE.”
Today, like so many of our days lately, has been supercharged with emotion so after that tremendous meal everyone was yawning and showing the need for sleep. It took only a short time to clean up the kitchen, everyone pitched in and helped the kitchen crew. Within an hour all the lights in the entire Colony were off and not a sound was to be heard until the next morning.