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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Lucas’s First Summer Vacation part 3

Lucas waved to his parents as he headed for the playground area after breakfast the next day. He had planned to meet the other boys there to play.

Gordy said to Terry, " 'C'mon...Lucas is probably waitin' for us, slowpoke!"

Terry huffed in frustration, "We're only a minute or two late. I'm pretty sure he'll be there when we show up. 'Sides, Mom and Dad didn't have you washing dishes and pans before we could leave, so you got nothin' to complain about. Spoiled brat."

Gordy stuck out his tongue at his brother. "I didn't smart off to Mom either."

 "Even if you did they'd let you get away with it," Terry grumbled. "You get away with everything cuz you're the baaaaayyyyybbbbeeee!"

Gordy just gave his brother a look.

Hearing the two brothers going at it again, Brad, who had been planning to join them, ran past. "See ya's there!" he called.

Seeing the storm brewing between the brothers once again, Lucas called, " 'Mon guys...we got lots of playtime!"

"Well, you're in this big rush," Terry said, "there he is. Let's go. Matter a fact, why don't you just run along, baby boy. I'll catch up," he said in a patronizing tone. 

Gordy stuck his tongue out at his brother again and ran to catch up with Brad. "Terry's comin'...he's gettin' old," he told the other two boys.

Lucas snickered.

Terry caught up to them and grinned nastily at his little brother.  "You bet I'm old. Older'n you, and I can take you any time. Just remember that, Gordo." He turned away from his brother and smiled at Brad and Lucas. "Heya guys, what'cha wanna do today?"

Brad thought for a moment and suggested fishing.

"Too smelly," Terry said, wrinkling his nose, "like some other things I could mention." He looked at his brother from the corner of his eye and then grinned at the others. 

Lucas said, "Let's just play on the stuff for a while...then we can do somethin' more 'citin'.  I gotta idea."

The boys ran toward the play area and had fun on the monkey bars and the swings. Terry pushed the other boys in the metal merry go round as hard as he could so that the thing spun at dizzying speed while the others held on for dear life, screaming and laughing.

Once the other three boys could stand without the world spinning around them, they headed to the slides with Terry right behind them.

When they were all worn out, Brad and Terry flopped to the ground, breathing heavily. "So, Luc...," Terry panted, "what's your great idea?"

Lucas and Gordy coming off the slide joined the other two.  Then Luc said, "Let's get some sticks we kin use like swords. Then we kin play Robin Hood. We take from them that's gots and give to them that ain't gots, mainly us. The adults and big kids always got money so's we kin jump out and demand a candy bar or the price of one, once we got enough we kin go ta the camp store and buy us what we want." 

Terry frowned and chewed the inside of his cheek, "I dunno, Luc... I'm pretty sure no one'd give us money, and we might get more'n money when our folks find out."

Brad grinned.  "No one says they have to give us money," he said, "but if they happen to want to, well, I won't say no."

Luc shrugged. "Ifn ya chicken...most folks don' mind givin' stuff ta kids."

Terry scowled at the little boy. "I ain't chicken, Turkey Lurkey," he grumbled.  "Sure, let's go for it. Me 'n' Gordy got a couple'a foam swords we kin use. I wanna be Little John, since I'm the tallest," he finished with a grin. 

"Can I use one of the swords?" Brad asked hopefully. "Otherwise all I got is one of those swimming noodles, and that ain't scary like a sword." 

"Yeah, Brad, you can use mine," Terry offered.

Gordy shook his head. "I gotta have a sword 'cause I wanna be Will Scarlet."

"So, you use your own sword, Gord! Sheesh!" Terry growled, rolling his eyes at his dense little brother. "Little John uses a staff, 'member?"

Brad bit his lip and asked quietly, "Um, who'm I gonna be?"

Lucas said, "Ya kin be friar Tuck and carry a big stick too... I'm gonna be Robin Hood 'course."  

The Bennett boys got their swords, Terry giving Brad his then Lucas helped Terry find a big stick. "We outta catch 'em on that path that goes ta the store, we gotta better chance of gettin' somethin' there," he told the other boys leading them to the spot he had decided on.

Terry climbed up a tree with his staff and waited to pounce on their helpless prey.

Brad, happy with his weapon, hid behind a bush and waited for 'Robin Hood's’ signal.

A man came along the trail and Lucas gave the signal and all four boys jumped onto the path. 

"Ya gotta give us a candy bar or money for one!" Lucas cried. "We're takin' from the rich an' givin' ta the poor!"

The man, a little startled at first, grinned, dug into his pocket and gave Luc a dollar. "Here you go Robin Hood." He then continued on his way. The little boy turned to his companions and grinned. "See...nothin' ta it!"

Gordy grinned at his brother and they went back to their hiding places.

Brad grinned, "Hey, this is great!" he exclaimed as he went back to the bush he had been hiding behind. "If this keeps up maybe we can buy out the store!" 

Terry looked at Lucas appraisingly and grinned, maybe this kid had something after all, he thought.

Several people had come by and all had given the little boys a dollar. Some of them however grumbled as they went on their way and stopped at the camp office. When the director had received half a dozen complaints he radioed security to check into what was going on.

The security guard came upon the boys from behind, startling them. "You boys need to come with me," he said sternly.

Terry debated staying quiet up in the tree but the guard saw him and gestured him to the ground with the others.  Chewing the inside of his cheek as he often did when he was nervous, he followed the guard and his friends back to the office.

The camp director stood as the boys were shepherded in. He checked their identifications against the logs and then asked the guard to bring the boy's parents to his office.

Gordy and Terry's eyes widened as they looked wordlessly at each other. Brad looked on the verge of tears but held them in. He refused to be the first one to break down.

Lucas shrugged and tried to look unconcerned.

Gordy looked frightened while Terry tried to remain stoic, even though he could feel his knees shaking a little.

Carl looked at his wife when the security guard stopped to inform them about the trouble. They thanked the man and headed for the office.

Sean looked at Erin surprised at what his little one had been up to and also thanked the guard then headed with his wife to the office.

Zhara blushed with embarrassment. It wasn't like Lucas to wander off like that so she hadn't checked on the boys and felt responsible for whatever they'd done. Omari had been fishing and had to be hunted down. He didn't look the least bit happy to hear that his son was in trouble. He put his gear away and was escorted to the office to join the other parents. 

With a very placid expression on his face, and in a very even tone, Omari looked at his son and asked, "What were you boys doing? And why?"

Sara Bennett also looked on the verge of tears as she gazed at her very guilty looking sons. "Why on earth would you ever do something like this?"

Luc looked at his papa. "We was just playin' Robin Hood like ya read ta me," he told him.

Carl leveled a very stern look at his sons who blushed and avoided eye contact.

Sean pinned his son with a disappointed expression.

Erin, Brad's mother, looked at the boys with confusion, then she turned to Omari. "You did tell him it was just a story, right? I know that Brad would never have done anything like this on his own!" 

Brad blushed hotly, "It wasn't no one's fault Mom, it was all of us. I... I thought it was a great idea."

Zhara looked at Erin calmly and said, "Children have very active and fertile imaginations. Granted they could have gone about what they did a little differently." She looked closely at Lucas.

"If you have the names of the people who gave the boys money, we'll happily return it," Omari said. "We're very sorry about this."

The camp director nodded. "Yes, I do have the names of those who filed a complaint."

Lucas frowned in confusion. "We wasn't stealin' anythin' Papa, they gave of their own." 

Sean said, "I can promise this won't happen again." He gave Brad a stern look. "Will it Bradley?" he asked.

Brad, worried at the sound of his full first name, quickly shook his head and crossed his heart.

Carl added, "I also can guarantee my boys won't be involved in such an activity again as well." He pinned both boys with a look. "Will you boys?"

"No Dad," Terry said quietly.  Gordy agreed with his brother, looking shamefaced.   

"As for you...," Omari said, leveling a disappointed look on his son.

"You and I need to have a very long talk about reality versus fantasy, and apparently also right from wrong. I think we should go home, as long as these kind folks are ready to let you go?" he asked, looking at the security guard and manager.

Lucas's eyes widened when he heard his papa say he'd have to ask them to leave. He gave Omari and Zahra a concerned look.

"We're done here, then, I think," the manager replied, trusting that these children's parents were going to take care of the situation, "as long as there is no repeat of this behavior for the rest of your stay."

Sean said, "There will be no worry about that, Sir."

Carl also nodded. "That goes for these two as well." He gave his boys another very stern look.

"I'll make sure to keep them nice and busy for the next couple of days," Sara said with a meaningful look at her children.

"I'm so sorry," Zhara apologized sadly. "I meant to keep a better watch on them. I never thought they'd leave the play area."

"I don't blame you, Zhar," Erin said quietly, "the boys are old enough to know they shouldn't have gone anywhere without asking."

Zhara gave the other woman a grateful smile.

"Absolutely," Sara added, "it could have happened to any of us."

Gordy exchanged a look with his brother and sighed.

Sean pulled Brad close and snuggled him a bit. He was disappointed, but not truly mad.

The Park manager nodded. "All right we'll consider the matter closed," the man said with a smile. He was just grateful that the whole thing had been settled so easily.

With that Omari crooked a finger at his son in a clear sign which said to follow him, then with a smile at the other men, excused them to their campground.

Once inside the motor home, Omari brought Lucas into the bedroom and sat beside him, explaining as simply as he could, the differences between fantasy and reality, and acting on them. He gently explained to his son why his friends and he had been wrong to do what they'd done, and waited for the child to respond.

Lucas frowned slightly and then asked, "So Robin Hood weren't right in what he did?  So, it was bad ta do that?"

"Robin Hood actually gave the money and items he stole to the less fortunate. You, my little man, are not one of the less fortunate, any more than your friends are. You have mothers and fathers who are here for you, to take care of you, to love and protect you. The people Robin gave the money to didn't have any of those things. Nor did they have parents close by who they could have asked for money to buy candy. Granted, we may have said no for the time being, but you wouldn't know that until you asked.  As it is, you will not be having any candy until told otherwise. That does not mean that you go out and play Robin Hood again to get the money you should never have had in the first place. Do you understand?"

The little boy bit his lip and looked down. "Yes, Papa," he said in a quiet voice. “I was bad again... Mr. K said readin' would open new worlds... he didn' say it were gonna get me inta trouble," he pouted. 

"Reading isn't going to get you in trouble, any more than watching a show on television is. It's what you choose to do with what you read or see that makes the difference. And, I have to admit to some fault here as well. The story of Robin Hood is really much too advanced for your age. I just thought that you would appreciate the action and adventure, not encourage you all to go around stealing from people as a result. Perhaps I should switch to a less... stimulating... subject. More suited to your age group. We have all the books that Mr. K suggested for summer reading. We'll just stick to those."

Lucas's lower lip trembled. He didn't like the idea that his Papa had done something bad too. "S-sorry P-papa...I didn' wanna see ya in trouble too," he sniffed.

Omari hugged his boy to him, "So we both learned a lesson then, right, hon?" he asked gently.

The youngster nodded. "Uh huh, don' do the stuff in books."

The older man tried not to laugh. "If you read a book about going swimming, of course, with Mama or I there, you may go swimming. If, however, the book says that the child went swimming alone, that is not the right thing to do. Do you see the difference?"

"It's a learned thing," Zhara said, walking in to see how the two of them were doing. She was glad that her husband had decided against spanking the child. There was nothing wrong, in her opinion, with children having imagination, and she didn't want Lucas to believe that that was a bad thing. "It's called common sense, honey. As you get older, your common sense will mature as well, so it'll be easier to tell what is right to do, and what is not right."

The little boy looked at his father at first confused, then at his mother as she entered and added her part. "So, ask first?" he replied a bit hesitantly.

"See? You learned already." She smiled as she gave her little one a hug.

"That doesn't mean that you won't have to face consequences for what you did, Lucas. Do you understand that?" Omari asked softly.

The youngster looked at the man, sadness in his eyes. "Yeah, 'cause I was bad." 

"You're not bad, you behaved badly, if you can understand the difference," Zhara offered.

"Mama and I have decided that your punishment will be that you'll be helping with the chores for the rest of the day, and an early bedtime. Right after you read your story, and it'll be lights out after the stories for the next week. No horsing around, just straight to bed." 

Lucas bit his lip, then with a big sigh said, "Yes Papa."

That evening after dinner, Lucas sat on the comfortable couch and opened the next book. At first, he wasn't the least bit happy looking at it, but as he read the more he found he enjoyed it and was quickly engrossed.  Omari took out his phone and began to record, paying special attention to his little boy's rapt expression and the smile on his lips. 

"Lucas," he called softly, "look here for a moment."

The youngster looked up at his father, an expression of confusion crossing his face.

"I want to send this to Mr. K. Is there anything you'd like to say?"

Lucas bit his lip at first and then nodded. "Yeah, I wanna say sorry I was so upset 'bout the readin'. He were right, I like it and the books he picked out fer me ta read."

"Would you read a little bit for him? I'd like him to hear how much you've improved," Omari encouraged.

"'Kay...I'll read some." He read the next paragraph. "That good 'nough Papa?"

"That's great," Omari praised, "say thank you, hon!"

The little boy gave a big smile and said, "Thank ya Mr. K... see ya in September!"

Omari turned the camera toward himself and Zhara who both smiled broadly, "Thank you, Mr. K!"

As promised, Omari and Lucas spent a lot of one on one time together although with the help of both his parents, the little boy turned into a strong swimmer. Zhara taught him how to do flips and twirls under the water and how to do underwater hand stands. He would dive down to pick up shiny rocks he found and excitedly showed them to his parents who started a collection of his favorites.

One-day Omari had brought his son fishing with him. The little boy was so excited at his first big catch that he stood in the rowboat, tumbled into the water and had to be fished out, but by some miracle he hadn’t lost his trout. Once back on shore Zhara took a picture of her son, wet hair and clothing plastered to his tiny frame, holding a fish nearly as long as his arm.  That evening, warm and dry in the RV with cool drinks in their hands, they relived the day through the picture and all got a good laugh out of it. 

The little boy and his friends spent time together on the playground and the families had cook outs together, enjoying their children playing together and exchanging stories of their own adventures camping in times past as well as things they themselves had been involved in as children.  And in the Okoro’s case, mischief that their older children had gotten in to when they were younger.

Lucas paid close attention when his papa told stories about Coral.  Knowing that his older brother had done some crazy things as a child made him feel better about the stunt he had pulled playing Robin Hood.

The days passed quickly and Lucas had improved with his reading, even going so far as to sit and read when he wasn't scheduled to, which made his parents proud and happy. 

His Aunt Opal and her husband and his cousins, who were actually his nieces and nephews, had come and spent a week at the camp ground. Lucas had enjoyed having everyone there as he introduced them to his friends. While the younger children played together, Caitlyn and Kyle entertained themselves with hiking, swimming, fishing and just enjoying sitting and sunning themselves.

Luc was saddened when they had to pack up and leave to return to their home in Maine, but had admitted that he'd had a great time. After exchanging phone numbers and addresses with the other boys he'd gotten into the motor home and waved at his friends until he couldn't see them anymore. With a grin of anticipation at writing or receiving his first letter or call, he settled down on the couch and picked up a book.

Omari and Zahra had loved camping, but were also glad to see their own home as they pulled the motor home into their driveway. They left the unloading for the next day as it was late when they arrived.  Omari carried Lucas to his room, undressed him and tucked him into his bed. They stood for several moments, smiling down at the sleeping form of their youngest before heading up to their own bed, where they quickly fell asleep.


Reference to the book, Robin Hood:

The information I was able to find about the legend of Robin Hood is rather confusing. The book is credited to Howard Pyle, who was an American illustrator and author, primarily of books for young people. He was a native of Wilmington, Delaware, and spent the last year of his life in Florence, Italy. 
Born: March 5, 1853, Wilmington, DE
Died: November 9, 1911, Florence, Italy

However, the first clear reference to 'rhymes of Robin Hood' is from the alliterative poem Piers Plowman, thought to have been composed in the 1370s. The earliest surviving copies of the narrative ballads that tell his story date to the second half of 15th century, or the first decade of the 16th century.

As always, no copyright infringement is intended.

1 comment:

  1. LOl Lucas is quite the character. You bring up such a strong point that most parents don't ever bother teach their children these days about difference between reality and fantasy. Thank you.