By Crystal S. Kauffman, Contributing Writer
One autumn day, after school my twin brother Thomas and I noticed that our family's dog was not outside on his chain. Nooksack usually barks or howls at us, once we step off the school bus in the afternoon. He will continue barking; until he gets the attention that he is craving from us. I thought that my step-dad might have moved him inside the house, before he went to work. After searching the house, my brother and I realized that Nooksack was missing. I was beginning to worry when my confident brother suggested that we walked along the naval base in Seattle, WA. I was literally stumped on where he could be, because normally he would chase our school bus whenever he broke his chain. As we walked the neighbored, my brother and I gave out his description to the other kids we passed. We knew he liked all children, since we were about to turn ten years old on New Year’s Eve.
"Where could he be!" I thought to myself.
"Let's go check the nature trail. Nooksack is used to us walking with him in that area." Thomas suggested.
Nooksack was a dark brown and tan German-Shepherd mix, who was born different colored eyes. His left eye was light blue and his right eye was a dark brown, which made him unique. I was getting frustrated and sad because we couldn't find him, but my brother was sure we would find him. I continued calling his name, as my brother continuously whistled for him.
We walked down a winding hill, until we reached a path which was lined with wild flowers and apple trees. My brother decided to grab a couple of the green apples for us, as we continued walking along the trail. I stopped to pick some wildflowers for my mom, as Thomas handed me an apple. I stuck my apple in my pocket and we continued looking and calling for him.
In the distance, we saw a small wooded trail, which lead deeper into the woods. My brother and I were sure we had never seen it before.
At first, I didn't want to follow the new trail, because I was worried about getting lost. However, my brother assured that he knew the way back to our home. As we approached the trail, I noticed a large set of paw prints, which belonged to a large dog like Nooksack. I knew that the paw prints could belong to our dog, so I became excited and showed my brother what I had discovered. He suggested that we follow the paw prints and the new trail we had found. Not long after we set out on the wooded trail, we came to a clearing and found a wooden gate. The gate was made of two totem poles with carvings of animals and a sign that read, Discovery Park in bright yet bold yellow letters.
My brother and I walked through the gate and followed the walkway, until it led to two small buildings that were painted an off-white color. As we got closer to the buildings, I noticed a small playground with a set of swings and a tall metal slide. My brother and I ran to the swings, when a four-legged figure appeared from behind the trees that lined the backside of the playground.
Suddenly, I realized it was Nooksack walking toward us with his tail wagging and barking at my brother and I. Personally, I was thrilled about finding our dog, but even more excited to have found such an interesting place.
"There you are! Come here boy." I called out.
My brother and I played fetch with Nooksack, until he had had all the attention he could stand for the moment. He decided to go lay down in the shade, while we investigated the buildings that we had discovered. The first building was open, so my brother and I quietly made our way inside the mysterious buildings. I stood in amazement of what we found inside of the building, which was full of real-life Indian artifacts. The buildings walls were lined with clothing, unique jewelry, moccasins, and wooden sculptures.
In addition, some interesting artifacts were enclosed in a locked glass case that lined the back wall. My brother pointed out some beautiful paintings of different Indians who were riding their horses. These paintings were leaning against a wall near a closet, but the closet was locked. My brother and I decided to venture out of the building, in order to explore what was inside of the second building.
Once, we were inside of the building, we found more glass cases with more impressive artifacts. In addition, we found a small model, which showed the two buildings and the playground. My brother and I read the different articles and notices that were hanging on the walls before we left the building.
"I'll race you to the swing...Sis!" My brother yelled.
Suddenly, he took off running toward the swing set and I was closing in fast, but he beat me to the swing as usual. After we had played on the swings for a while, I pointed out the tall metal slide. My brother jumped off the swing and ran toward the slide, so I decided to follow him. He began climbing toward the top of the slide as I stood at the bottom and watched. Finally, I decided to climb the stairs, in order to reach the top of the slide but my heart began pounding with fear.
When I reached the top of the slide, the excitement started to replace the fear that I had felt. I felt the wind rush against my face, as I slid down the enormous slide. In that moment, I could not believe how much fun we were having in this new park, which we had discovered while looking for our dog. We lost track of time over the next few hours and the sun began to set overhead, so we put Nooksack's leash on him.
My brother stopped me and urged to be quiet, because he had heard a sound coming from the woods. Our dog began growling and barking, as a figure of a large man appeared to be coming out of the woods. My brother and I stayed behind our dog, as we hid under the slide.
My brother whispered "Stay here with Nooksack. Be prepared to run, just in case."
"I won't leave you." I declared as my heart began pounding.
"I will be right behind you." He promised.
Just as my brother came out from under the slide, I saw an older man with dark skin and long black hair approaching us. The man was using an old wooden walking stick as a cane. He was dressed similar to the men in the paintings, which we had seen earlier inside the buildings. I noticed that he was wearing a pair of real leather moccasins, like the ones we had seen in the glass display cases.
"Hi, I am Chief Twin Feather. I did not mean to frighten either of you. I am the caretaker here at the museum and the playground." The mysterious man claimed with a friendly smile. "What brings you both here so late?"
"We were looking for our dog and we found him here at the park, but we lost track of time!" Thomas answered.
Nooksack began wagging his tail and barking his friendly bark, like he knew the man as he reached down to pet him. I stepped out from under the slide to shake the man's hand and introduced myself to him.
"Your dog has been coming to visit me for about a month now." The Chief revealed.
"No wonder he breaks his chain a lot!" I responded. "It's nice meeting you, but we have to go home."
"Come back anytime you want and be sure to bring your dog." He declared with a warm smile.
After we made it home, we told our mom all about the Indian Park and Museum that we had discovered in the woods. Our parents decided to follow us to the park the next and they brought my little brother Jamie along. Chief Twin Feather met our parents and my little brother loved the simple playground as much as we did.
Every day after school, we took our dog to see Chief Twin Feather, while my brothers and I played at the park. The Chief taught us about the many artifacts in the museum and what each on represented. I enjoyed hearing his many interesting, yet intriguing stories shared about how his ancestors lived. One day, he invited us to a special ceremonial dance and he gave my family new tribal names.
My official Indian name was Free Spirit and my twin brother's name was Wild Eagle. However, I don't remember what he named the rest of my family, but it was one memorable night. For the next few years, my brothers and I always met up with the Chief at the park, so he could teach us more about his culture. Furthermore, he took us on a tour of the lighthouse, since he was also the caretaker. We had a wonderful time and I will never forget Discovery Park or the many things he taught us.
Today, Discovery Park is one of the largest wildlife parks in Seattle, Washington. The park has grown considerably, since we lived there in the early 80's. I noticed that there have been many changes since the last time my family visited this park. However, a few things have remained the same, like the lighthouse and the Indian Cultural Center that once was a small museum.
©2012, Crystal S. Kauffman
By, Crystal S. Kauffman, Contributing Writer
Rose was planning a surprise birthday party for her little sister Lily, who is turning four years old today. She had planned to throw the party after dinner tonight and had invited eight of her little friends. She invited her friends were from the small farming neighborhood that they live in, just inside of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Unfortunately, Rose overheard the weatherman discussing the chances of strong thunderstorms for tonight.
Rose turned twelve years old about four months ago and she has been paying more attention to the news and weather. She teamed up with her mother, in order to get the living room decorated before the party guests begin arriving. Her mother helped her decorate the living room with pink and white party decorations, as well as setting up the gift table. Rose pulled her long blonde hair back into a pony tail and climbed living room furniture, so she could reach high enough to help string up the different colored pink streamers. Rose quickly hung the three foot homemade banner directly in center of the living room, by attaching it to the wooden ceiling fan blades.
She knew that the fan would be turned off for the party tonight. Rose had spent all week creating the special banner for her fun-loving, yet bratty little sister. Lily is her best friend and a little pest at times too, but either way Rose loved her little sister. Lily has long curly blonde hair; just like Rose with matching green eyes which sparkle like emeralds. About eight weeks ago, her mother gave birth to their baby sister named Orchid. She is so tiny and breakable, but Rose and Lily loved helping her mom tend to their sister whenever they had a chance too.
She went to the mall and used her allowance to buy Lily’s special birthday gifts. She wrapped her gifts and let her mom put them with the rest of the family’s birthday gifts. Pink was Lily’s favorite color and she made sure everyone knew it. Literally, her entire wardrobe was different shades of pink and her bedroom was decorated with a light pink princess bed. The bed matches the dresser, the bedding set, the lamp, and the nightstand. She loves collecting porcelain dolls and stuffed animals, plus collecting fake pink roses.
She told her mom that the vase of different colored pink roses reminded her of her big sister Rose. This revelation made Rose smile, when she overheard Lily telling her mom about the meaning of the roses that she collected. Finally, dad came home from work at about 5:15 PM and the girls ran outside to meet him. After washing up, the family sat down to eat a special dinner and discuss the party coming up tonight at 6:30 PM.
“The weatherman says we may get some bad thunderstorms tonight, so we may need to shorten the party.” Dad said.
“For now we will keep the weather radio on and play it by ear, until we are sure what we should do.” Mom answered.
“Okay, during the party, I will listen to the weather reports on the radio and I will keep you updated.”
“Alright, I am going to feed Orchid. Can you help Rose finish setting up for the party?” Mom asked.
Dad nodded with a smile. Time slipped by, while Rose and her Dad finished setting up the last minute party favors. Suddenly, the doorbell rang and Rose left to open the door. Three kids from the Mullen’s family were standing at the front door with their mother.
“Please, come on in and make yourselves comfortable until the other guests arrive.” Rose said.
“Thanks, you three go find Lily. Rose, where is your mom?” Mrs. Mullen asked.
“She is feeding the baby in her room. I will show you the way.”
“Thank you, Rose!” Mrs. Mullen said.
Their dad let more kids in, until all the guest had arrived. Lily was playing in her room with the six girls and two boys that Rose had invited to her birthday party tonight. She was excited and Rose had to admit that she loved seeing Lily so happy. Finally, their mom came out of her room with Orchid in her arms and Mrs. Mullen right behind her. She yelled for everyone to join her in the living room and Lily came running in first with the others right behind her. However, their dad was in the kitchen listening to the weather radio, just in case they have a severe thunderstorm tonight.
To get the party started, their Mom led everyone in singing “Happy Birthday” to Lily, who was looking around a smiling at all the decorations. Rose could tell she was about to burst with excitement, especially once she saw that the gift table was full of different colored pink gift bags. Rose took over after they had finished singing and she had Lily sit down in a rocking chair next to the gift table.
The other guests sat across from Lily on the couch and loveseat. Rose had Lily close her eyes and she handed her the first gift, which she opened the gift bag and pulled out a bright pink outfit from their mom and dad.
She continued letting Lily look into each gift bag to get out her new presents. Rose finally reached her two gifts that had been wrapped up, so Rose let her little sister unwrap the gifts. Lily was excited when she found necklace with a pink fairy in one box and a matching pair of earrings in the other box.
After all the gifts were opened, everyone moved to the dining room and Rose’s dad asked her to come outside with him. Mrs. Mullen was serving cake and ice cream, so Rose joined her dad and mom outside. Rose was worried after she saw her dad opening up the storm shelter. He was putting supplies in the storm cellar.
“The weatherman has predicted severe thunderstorms with a tornado watch over this area. We need to get everyone down into the storm cellar now!” Dad said.
Her mom was going into the cellar with Orchid, while dad was running inside to get the rest of the supplies. Thankfully, her parents always kept food and lodging items in the storm cellar, so Rose knew they would be okay. After Orchid was born Rose put a small bassinet, diapers, and cleans bottles in the shelter.
Rose ran straight to the dining room and let Mrs. Mullen know about the watch. She told her that she needed to help her dad gather supplies. Suddenly, a loud siren began sounding and Rose knew they all had to run to the storm cellar.
“A tornado is coming! Follow me, as quickly as you can. We are going to the storm cellar outside.”
Everyone began running behind Rose and she led them to the storm cellar, but she immediately realized that Lily wasn’t behind her. She ran back in the house and she found Lily holding her ears and hiding behind the couch scared. Rose knew she had to get her to the shelter now, but she also knew Lily was afraid.
Rose grabbed her hands away from her ears and yelled, “Follow me to the storm cellar Lily. I will stay with you till it is over...I promise!”
The wind was strong after they got outside, but together they ran against the wind toward the storm cellar. Rose pushed Lily to run faster, so they can get to the storm cellar and safety quicker.
Her dad rushed up the steps to help them inside, but the cellar door slammed shut on him. He tried his best to open the doors, when suddenly a gust of wind opened the door. Rose shoved Lily inside the cellar, which hurt her a little but Rose was worried they wouldn’t make it to the cellar in time.
A loud rumbling noise overtook the sirens and all Rose could hear was something that sounded that a freight train coming through. Now, Rose was worried she wouldn’t make it herself inside the cellar, when suddenly her dad grabbed her by the hand. He yanked her inside the cellar and yelled for every to get as far back into the cellar as they can.
Lily climbed on top of roses lap and began crying, as her body trembled in fear. Rose tried to console her, but she was worried about her dad’s safety as well. He was still on the cellar’s steps struggling to shut the door, when gust of wind knocked him off the steps and into the cellar floor. The door slammed shut and he quickly ran back up the steps, in order to lock the doors and secure the cellar. Everyone was safe now, but Lily and her guest were still crying. The cellar door kept rumbling and shaking, which made Rose begin to worry. Without any warning, the cellar doors stopped making noises and the outside seemed quiet. The siren had stopped sounding and Rose overheard the weatherman on the radio talking about the F2 tornado that had touched in the Bartlesville, Oklahoma area.
“Is the monster gone?” Lily asked.
I hugged Lily tightly and responded, “I think so…”
Rose watched as her dad opened the cellar door and he said, “Fortunately, our house had not been too badly damaged by the tornado. Come on, let’s go inside and get everyone settled for bed.”
Everyone followed their dad out of the cellar and into the house, where Mrs. Muller began cleaning everyone up. Rose helped Lily, while their Mom took Orchid inside and laid her down in her crib. Rose went into shock, because couldn’t believe how close to danger she had came tonight. Lily tugged on her t-shirt and snapped her out of the daze she was in. She helped Lily and the five other girls get settled for the night, because there was no way that they would be going home tonight. Most of the roads will be closed, until the damaged has been accessed and cell phones weren’t working.
Mrs. Mullen decided to let her three children lie down in the living room with her. Rose was about to get in the bed, when her father came in to say good night but instead he smiled proudly at her.
“You were so brave tonight Rose! You saved your sister’s life tonight, but you put yourself in danger.” Dad said.
Rose smiled and then stated, “I knew she was terrified of the monster that was coming, so I had to help her. One day, she will realize that what she is calling a monster….is actually a tornado! But, until then, I am her big sister and have to protect her."
“Good night…Our little hero!” Dad said with a proud smile and he turned the light off.
©2014, Crystal S. Kauffman
Penning Your World;