Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)
TITLE: The View From Up High
By Bill Obenauer
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The wind died down and I felt a sense of relief, for I was not afforded the luxury of a windbreaker like most of the visitors at the park were wearing that day. From my perch upon the top of the hill, I could hear a child yell, "Hurry up Julie. It's freezing. We have to get to the top of the mountain."
Like I said, it was a warm day. Sure it was a little breezy, but I could not for the life of me understand where this kid got "freezing" from.
Then I heard a man yell, "Sarah, you're sister's having trouble climbing the mountain. We're going to have to slow down. Oh no! I just slipped on an ice patch," the man said as he awkwardly fell to the ground. Slowly he pushed himself up and yelled, "Sarah! Julie! Where are you? I can't see you! The snowfall is too thick!"
I was becoming more and more intrigued with their conversation because it made absolutely no sense to me. It was a bright and sunny day. There was no snowfall. I listened closely and heard the smaller of the two children reply, "I'm right next to you Daddy. Reach out and grab my hand. Sarah is just ahead of us. I can't keep up with her."
"Sarah," the man yelled. "Slow down and wait for us!"
"Father, I can't," she said as she spun her head backwards. "The pack of artic wolves is gaining on us! You two must hurry up or we will never reach safety!" With that, she crawled about ten yards forward as fast as she could.
The father and the girl called Julie both looked back and clutched each other. The fear in their eyes was evident. Then, they let go of each other and without saying a word, joined hands and raced for the top of the hill. Behind them, two squirrels chased each other in circles.
Julie and her father caught up to Sarah and said, "I think the artic wolves have turned back. We should be safe for now."
"Yes," Sarah replied, "but I can feel the temperature dropping and the snow seems to be picking up. I think I see shelter up ahead and we have to get there fast."
The father pointed towards the old oak tree at the top of the hill and said, "Yes girls, I see it up at the top of the mountain." Then he grabbed Julie's hand with his left, Sarah's with his right, and ran for the top of the hill.
Moments later, the father and his two girls were standing right next to me discussing their adventure. I felt so naïve when I realized that they were just having a game of make believe. The father sat on the ground, holding his two girls. The three of them smiled and laughed as they reminisced about their fabulous artic adventure.
Then, Julie jumped up, picked up a stick and told her father, "I wasn't afraid of those silly artic dogs. They looked scary but I would have just done this to them if they caught us!" she exclaimed as she swung the stick as hard as she could right into my back.
"Julie, darling," her father said, "that tree is one of God's creations. God created plants on the third day, before He even made man, and like all of God's creations, we need to respect and appreciate them." He gently took the stick from her hand and rested it on the ground.
I've sat on my perch atop the hill at Millersville State Park for over a hundred years at this point in time. I've seen thousands of families move through here, but I have never felt as blessed to hold this spot as I did today, being a part of this joyous family experience. I looked down at my youngest son, sprouting about five hundred yards away. He'll never know me, just as you'll never know what I would give to be able to have an artic adventure with him.
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