A Bother no Longer – Chapter 1
Straight Home after School!
Young Drew had often sat by the shore and dreamt of sailing cross the Deep Blue Sea. His father had, as did his father before him. His little heart yearned for it, and his head was filled with the tallest tales of adventure.
“There be mysterious creatures of every kind,” said his Granddad, whom he lovingly called “Pop.” And with a cold shiver, his Dad would describe… “The darkest of storms! Fierce and m… mighty! The likes of which… few Shrew have ever seen!”
Well, a youngster’s imagination can sometimes swell with all this. But the reality of a life across the waters, just may be a bite more than a little Shrew can truly chew.
Every day after school, the hunting of bugs and skipping of stones by the sea, was the usual business for Willie and Drew. They explored and played, and did all the fun things on the way home, that little Shrew do. But, a close eye on the time had best be kept, as nothing worried more, a Dad or Mum, than their offspring not straight home after school.
“Hey now Will, try and top this,” said Drew as he held back his arm and took aim at the surface of the water. In his hand, he held the perfect stone for skipping. Nice and flat, and just the right weight for a good long throw. Willie looked up, as he sat on a stump and whittled away at a most handsome piece of driftwood. “Good luck mate. My seven skips… a bit hard to beat,” he said.
Drew let go with a low, hard throw that left him hopping on one foot as he called out…
“2-3-4-5-6!” And then, on the last skip, it bounced up high and dropped into the water with a splash. “Six again!” he said.
“It’s all in the wrist my friend,” said Willie, as he held up his swirling hand. While losing all track of the time, Drew began to wander the shoreline in search of another righteous stone to throw.
Just then, Willie jumped from the stump and cried “Oh buggers! Drew! Look at the sun! We’re here too long again!” And with that, they grabbed up their schoolbooks and dashed off toward home, and the fate that awaits a youngster twice warned in that same week, to come straight home.
Now Drew’s Dad was a worrisome fellow. He spoke with a stammer that would miraculously stop whenever he would sing. But, when he was upset, it could be quite hard for him to spout even the shortest of thoughts. And, with a hard time remembering names, he had numbered his children “one thru six,” and Drew was #4.
As Drew came dashing through the door, the boys were all lined up and counted, and their Dad had already asked… “W… where’s #4?”
“I’m right here Dad… I’m right here!” cried Drew as he dropped his books and hurriedly took his place in line. His brother Dennis standing next to him looked over, then crossed his eyes and jokingly ran his finger along his own neck. As if to say, that Drew was surely in the biggest of trouble.
“The G … Great Golden hawk, has carried off another young Shrew! And you, young man… were not… s… s…”
“…straight home after school!” interrupted his angry Mum. Although more frightened and worried than angry, they sadly felt that Drew had to be punished. And an example set, to Drew and his brothers.
His Mum pointed to the door and said… “Andrew James! Off to the wood shed with you! And choose for yourself a good switch along the way. When you get there, think long and hard of the worry that you caused your family. Your Dad will be there in short order, now off with you!”
As Drew walked sadly toward the shed with his head hung low, he knew that this was serious. Whenever his Mum called him by his full name, he knew that he was in trouble. But neither he nor his siblings had ever a switch taken to their bums before.
He spotted a branch from the corkscrew willow lying beside the shed and picked it up. “This looks as good as any I guess,” he thought to himself. Then he walked inside and sat on a stump of wood. Slowly, Drew plucked away the leaves from the branch, and wished he were by the seashore, catching bugs and skipping stones.
But more than that, he wished he were sailing off to a great adventure across the water with his best mate Will, his old Granddad, and no worries of a switch, whacking away at his back side.
Two minutes went by. Then three… then four. Drew let out the longest of sighs as he leaned back and stared out the old sash window. There… up high in the sky, flew all the cause of his present troubles. The Great Golden Hawk. Drew stared off as it circled and circled… so high, that it looked almost too small to be a threat to any creature.
Round and round… higher and higher it flew, and was almost completely out of sight when… up popped the sorry youngster. “I know what! I’ll run away, and sail to sea!” he said. “I’ll show them all that I’m not afraid. Not of storms, not of hawks, or creatures of any kind!”
Drew looked quickly around the shed for something to write with. There was a piece of broken pencil lying on the window sill, and a small key with a leather chord hanging next to it from a nail.
“Hello there. And what’s this key about?” he wondered to himself. He took the key and hung it around his neck. “Never know… may come in handy,” he said to himself. Then he spotted the backside of an old calendar page. “Not really proper for a goodbye note but… this will have to do,” he thought. Then, he began to write…
“Dear Dad and Mum, I am sorry for coming home late from school all these times. And, I’m sorry for the worry that I caused. Please hold me close to your heart, as I will you. I’m off now, to sail the ocean blue, and to see the world of wonders that waits. I’ll be a bother no longer, as I will be gone… forever. Or maybe, a year or two. With love, Andrew James… son number 4.”
Holding the note that was sure to bring tears to the eyes of all, Drew laid back on the wood pile to give this matter… one last thought. Just one last thought… just one… last…
Off to sleep for a second or two, Drew was jolted awake by a loud banging on the door. He opened up to find… Willie! Holding gunny sacks and rope. Lanterns, and provisions of all sorts. And his eyes were wide with the look of excitement as he cried…
“Come on Drew. They gave me the same business when I got home. Let’s go then, cross the sea and beyond!”
Say no more! The two were off, with fire in their hearts, and all dreams abound. But… as they walked into the dark woods, Drew looked back one last time. There, was his Mum in the garden, picking the veg for evening supper. He let out a short, sad sigh, then threw back his shoulders and marched away with his trusty mate.
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