I was walking in the woods behind my grandpa’s house one fall day. I had been wondering where my little sister had wandered to. Any chance to get outside, and she was up for it. Instead of my sister, though, I came upon two boys sitting on the ground in a small dirt clearing. They were playing a dice game. They heard my steps, shuffling in the fallen leaves, and looked up. It was Ben and Albert, two young friends of ours.
“Hey, guys,” I said.
“Hey, Mark,” they both said together.
“Have you seen my sister anywhere?” I said.
The taller one, Albert, scratched his head. “I passed by her, sittin’ on a log by the pond, fishin’.”
“Sounds like my sister,” I said.
“Yep,” said Ben. “That Tabitha’s the only girl I know who goes fishin’,” he said, with a smile.
“By herself, anyway,” I said. “Thanks, y’all. Have fun.”
“Okay,” said Albert.
“Bye,” said Ben.
I hopped the fence back into my grandpa’s yard, crossed the back yard, went through the gate, through the front yard, turned left and walked down the street, then onto a dirt path that led to the pond. Albert lived near the pond, on the other side. Ben lived back on the other side of my grandpa’s house. Albert would have passed the pond on his way over to Ben’s house. As I came out of the woods, I looked across the pond, and there she was, sitting on a log, with a fishing pole in her hands.
“Hey, Mark,” she said, smiling, and she waved.
“Hey, Tabby. Grandpa’s got breakfast ready. Pancakes and bacon.”
“Okay,” she said. “I’m coming.” Then she reeled in her hook, still fit with a half a worm on it. “The fish aren’t bitin’ much, anyway.”
By that time, I walked around the pond and stood by Tabitha. I looked down at a bucket of water by her right tennis shoe and saw a couple of brim swimming in it. “Those two look good,” I said.
“Yeah, caught those a while ago. Nothin’ since.”
“Okay, c’mon. Get your fish.”
She reached down and picked up her bucket by the handle, and as I held out my hand, she reached out and grabbed it. “Thanks for coming to get me, Mark,” she said, smiling.
“I knew you wouldn’t have wanted to miss grandpa’s pancakes,” I said.
“Yep, you’re right,” she said.
When we both got back to grandpa’s house, grandpa was waiting for us at the door. “Breakfast is gettin’ cold, you two.”
“Sorry, grandpa,” we both said.
“Watcha got in the bucket, Tabby?” He said.
“Couple of brim, grandpa,” said Tabitha.
“Well, we’ll have to get them ready to cook for lunch!” He said, patting us on the backs towards the breakfast table. “After breakfast, that is!”