“1, 2, 3, 4…” The counting began! I ran to hide as I fast as I could. There were a million trees and bushes, but those who hid there were always found first. Not me, no siree! I had the perfect hiding spot picked out behind the wood pile. A curved piece of driftwood had floated up on the bank of the river. I had dragged it behind the woodshed and washed it off. It was just big enough for me to curl up underneath.
“17, 18, 19, 20…Ready or not, here I come!” Ronnie Wilkins shouted from the counting tree. Ronnie made a lot of noise when he ran. I could hear him searching in front of the woodshed, then on the side, then he was quiet and I was sure he had come around to the back.
Dad said Ronnie’s Dad had gotten laid off and they might have to move to another town. Ronnie wouldn’t like that, he would miss his friends. Dad prayed every night that Mr. Wilkins would get another job. I prayed he wouldn’t so Ronnie could stay.
I could hear Ronnie’s feet squishing in the mud where I had hosed off the driftwood earlier that morning. I sat perfectly still and quiet underneath my driftwood, holding my breath the entire time. I was sure Ronnie knew where I was!
“Hey, I see you!” Ronnie cried out. His feet were pounding off in a different direction. Relief came over me as Jenny Parch’s piercing squeal echoed throughout the yard. Jenny was small and her feet moved really fast when she ran, kind of like a cartoon character running from an enemy. I couldn’t hear her footsteps, but she always made that high pitched noise as she ran as fast as she could to the safety tree.
Sometimes she couldn’t play with us. Sometimes she had to stay at the hospital. I knew Jenny didn’t like being away from home and she must be scared there. Dad prayed every night that God would heal her and comfort her parents. I prayed that God would help her to not be scared.
“Safe!” She yelled! She had never made it to the safety tree before! I knew she must be really happy.
“Ollie Ollie In Come Free!” Dad always called us in when the bible study was over. I was glad no one found me. I was having so much fun hiding!
I peeked out from under my driftwood to make sure no one was looking. Ronnie and Jenny started calling me, too. I jumped out and ran from the woodshed hoping they wouldn’t see where I had come from so I could hide there again next time..
“There you are!” Ronnie said. “Where were you?”
“I’m not tellin’!”
Mrs. Parch was sniffling and holding a tissue. She cried a lot; especially after prayer time. I wasn’t sure why. She had her arm around Jenny and was holding her close as she led her to the car. Jenny looked back over her shoulder with a big smile. I knew she was happy that she outran Ronnie. I smiled back at her and waved.
“Congratulations again. Let us know if we can help.” Dad said to Mr. Wilkins.
“Good game today.” Ronnie said. “See ya’.”
That was the last time I saw Ronnie. I figured he must have moved. Dad prayed for his family to find a new church. I prayed that Ronnie would find someone new to play hide and seek with.
Jenny never went back to the hospital again. Dad thanked God that she was getting better. I thanked God that she didn’t have to be scared. She got stronger and faster. She still came over every week and we would run around the back yard. But we never played hide and seek again.
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