Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)
TITLE: Being Needed is Home Enough
By Loren T. Lowery
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His name was P.J. and he was tangled in the brambles, bumped there from a van that had been taking him to his new home in Cedar Woods.
A voice from a nearby path found its way with the sunlight to reach his ears. “Goodness,” it said, “wherever did you come from?”
P.J. turned his head to see a white goose looking him up and down. “I don’t know,” was all he could think to say.
“Are you lost?” The goose asked. “If you are, I have a friend, Miss Magellan, who can help find your way home.” She raised her beak, proudly. “She’s a pigeon you know.”
“To be sure,” P.J. grunted as the goose help to right himself from the bramble.
“Oh yes, she’s never been lost. Not even in storms.”
“I should think that to be very helpful.”
“Why she flies so high, she can see into the future you know. Once she saw a flood coming from upstream and rushed to tell all the creatures along the riverbank. Not everyone listened because it was a sunny day, but others did and they are alive today.”
“What a wonderful gift, never be lost and to see the future,” P.J. sighed. “I wish she’d been around to tell the driver about that bump in the road so I wouldn’t have fallen out.”
“Perhaps not,” she answered in a wise tone, “but only if your driver had listened. It’s not much good talking to someone if they won’t listen.”
P.J. nodded. “Do you think she can help me find my way home? I promise I will listen. He pointed his paws towards his head. “I do have keen ears.”
“They’re a bit floppy, but I’m sure they’ll do. You’ll find her in the field just over that hill.” She pointed. “She will take fine care of you, I’m sure.”
So, without further ado, P.J. hopped over the hill into a field and found Miss Magellan grubbing for bugs.
Strangely, before P.J. could utter a single word, Miss Magellan fluffed her gray wings and greeted him by saying. “I’ve been watching you from the air; you can see many things from the air you know.”
“Then you know I’m lost?”
“Can you fly up to see if Tommy from Cedar Woods is looking to take me home?”
“I can, but what if there is no one there?”
A tear began to form beneath P.J.’s button eyes. He did not answer, because it hurt too much to consider such a thing.
Miss Magellan fluffed her wings once again. “Let me fly up over the trees and I’ll tell you what I find.” A few moments later, she returned. “This is what I saw,” she began. “When I looked back, all I could see is where you came from and it only led back to where you are now, making you lost again.”
“I should not want to go back then.” P.J. said. “Being lost once is bad enough.”
“This is true,” Miss Magellan agreed. “And when I looked forward, I didn’t see you because you are not there yet.”
“Di…did you see Tommy, my friend?” P.J. stammered
“He was in a baseball field with a leather mitt. He seemed very happy.”
A winsome smile broke on P.J.’s face. “We often talked of him wanting to play ball.”
P.J. blinked back another tear. “I should wish to be a leather mitt this very moment.”
“I thought your wish was to go home.”
“I only wish things to be as they were before.”
“You know where that path will end. And now Tommy is happy, growing into a fine man. You have done your job well.”
P.J. hung his head. “But where then is my home?”
Just then there was the sound of footsteps and P.J. cocked his head excitedly.
“It is the farmer’s son,” Miss Magellan informed. “I forgot to tell you I saw him running from his cottage along this very path.”
P.J. looked to see a boy of about three scampering his way. P.J.’s heart swelled; and oddly no longer felt homesick or sad that no one from Cedar Woods was looking for him.
“His name is Billy,” Miss Magellan said, “and someday he, too will long to play baseball, but for now he needs a friend to help him along the way.”
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