SIX: DOWN BY THE OCEAN
Soon the three were walking along the
beach. “Boy, that water’s cold,” said Skip, who had never seen the ocean
the way it is up here in northern Massachusetts,” replied Peter. “You enjoy
it, but you don’t go in it.”
they walked along and conversed, they learned that Skip had lived all his life
in Ohio; Peter was native to Massachusetts while Larry had lived in many places.
father is assigned a new government contract each year, it seems. So we are
always traveling to interesting places,” said Larry.
are they living just now?” asked Skip.
question was never answered; for, just then, Peter said, “Who’s that over
down a path onto the beach and toward them were two girls.
must be freshmen; for I’ve never seen you before,” said Peter.
we’re both transfer students. My name is Barbara and this is Jennifer.”
We’re both juniors, from a boarding school in the western part of the
call me Jenny,” said the other girl.
everyone had introduced themselves, Barbara eyed Larry for a moment and then
said, “What’s that sticking out of your shirt pocket?”
one of my Bibles,” said Larry.
Bible! Get this! A Bible at this place, and you even carry it around in public
with you!” said Barbara in a tone of mock surprise.
am never ashamed of the Bible,” said Larry. “For centuries, Christians were
burned at the stake rather than deny their faith in God. Why should I be ashamed
that I carry a Bible around.”
was taken aback at the calm certainty with which Larry spoke about his Christian
if you’re a fanatic,” you sure don’t look like one,” she said
this Larry really laughed. “Do I give that impression?”
you really don’t. It’s just that Bible. Why do you carry it around? Is it
for looks or something?”
a bit,” replied Larry. “Whenever I have a little extra time, I take it out
and read in it. I get strength from the Bible.”
Now I’ve heard it all!” By this time Barbara was beginning to realize that
she could not dent Larry’s confidence in his faith. Indeed, he seemed to have
a more solid foundation than she did. But she sure wasn’t going to tell him
you haven’t said much yet,” said Peter.
don’t talk as much as Barbara,” said Jenny softly.
this everyone laughed.
we’ll probably meet again on campus,” said Larry, and led the two boys on
down the beach by themselves.
didn’t you want to spend more time talking with them?” asked Peter.
will be time later to talk to girls,” but we shouldn’t be talking to them
alone here. It’s not a good thing. We always have to keep our standards high
or we can get in trouble.”
Skip and Peter liked this. If they hadn’t, they would have dumped Larry quick
as a friend. But they saw in him a friend with high morals. Something they
wanted for themselves.
fact, they liked Larry so much, they didn’t mind the fact that he took time
each morning and evening to have personal worship, read his Bible and pray. He
never seemed to be ashamed of God.
to the dorm, the boys cleaned up their two rooms and put all their stuff in
place. Peter especially liked having a roommate for a change that went to bed on
time at night. He said the one he had the previous year would wander in at
midnight and wake him up. Peter also liked the fact that Larry was so well
built. “If I stick with you, you’ll make a good bodyguard,” Peter joked.
SEVEN: ROOM FOR SQUIRRELS TOO
this?” said Peter, as they stood in line for registration. The three boys were
looking through the Fall Course Schedule, which they had just been handed as
they entered the lineup.
looked at where Peter was pointing. “The title of the course is
‘Recreational Studies.’ The description says it is required of all students,
that it will meet throughout the year; and, it says here, ‘it will provide a
pleasant diversion from the usual studies.’ ”
what that’s all about,” Peter commented. “Sounds sort of mysterious.”
looks as if it was meant to be—till we get in there,” said Larry
down to the bookstore, the three got their textbooks for the first semester. But
when they asked for the texts for the new class, they were told that, because it
was rather new, any required textbooks might be announced in class within a week
this is all about nature walks,” laughed Peter as they headed back to the
that is something I think we would all enjoy,” said Larry.
too,” chimed in Skip. “I think I’ll enjoy a little escape from the daily
afternoon, Larry stopped by the grocery to see what was available, either on the
shelves or by special order, and then went to the building Peter had pointed to
as being the carpenter’s shop.
may I come in?” asked Larry when the door was opened.
look who’s here!” said the older man who came to the door. “It’s the
young man with the Bible!”
recognized him immediately. It was the man who, the previous week, drove the bus
that brought him and several other new students from Boston’s Logan Airport to
good to see you again. I am Larry Grant. May I ask your name?”
name is Ned Oliver. I’m in charge of the heating plant, all maintenance on the
campus, and have keys to the buildings. I don’t do all the work; but, for some
reason, they thought I was smart enough to be put in charge of it. I guess I
fooled ’em,” Mr. Oliver said with a grin.
this, Larry laughed. He knew he had found a good friend.
have a strange request,” said Larry.
what is it?” said Mr. Oliver.
home, before coming here, I fed squirrels, chipmunks, and birds at a window in
my house. And I would like to do it here.”
that’s the best I’ve heard yet!” laughed Mr. Oliver. “Do you think
you’ll attract any?”
I do,” replied Larry. “I have a corner room on the first floor of the
boys’ dorm, and there is a large tree limb that comes rather close to one
window. The little creatures could either fly or jump onto the edge of the
window. The only problem is I’m not sure if chipmunks jump from limbs. I know
they can climb trees.”
again, the kindly man said, “I’ll have to tell my wife about this one! Well,
how can I help you?”
was wondering if I could get a piece of wood which could be used as something of
a landing platform for my little friends, where they can eat sunflower seeds.”
are you going to get the sunflower seeds?”
checked on this and the store has them.”
tell you what,” said Mr. Oliver, “Because you are a special friend, I am
going to make you a super-duper one. What are the dimensions?”
to my specs, it would be about 16 inches deep and 12 inches wide. I—I had
hoped to add something to it.”
I was hoping to be able to add a vertical T piece underneath, set back about 2
inches from the 16-inch length. It would hang down between the desk and the
window sill; so, when my desk is pressed against the wall, the platform would
hold steady when squirrels jumped from the limb onto it.”
do know what you want,” said Mr. Oliver.
done a little carpentry in the past, so I’m acquainted with the field.”
I’ll tell you what. You stop back tomorrow afternoon and I’ll have it ready
for you. Any other suggestions?”
said Larry, “I realize this will be a weak joint: a vertical board fastened,
on end, to a horizontal one. So it would be best to drill holes and use screws.
Then countersink and putty over them so the paws of the little creatures will
not be cut by the screw tops. And, to strengthen the joints, solid wood would be
better than even exterior-grade plyboard.”
was obvious to Mr. Oliver that this boy knew more than most young people his age
the way,” Mr. Oliver added, “What happened to the squirrels you left behind
when you came here?”
problem,” chuckled Larry. “They were all born wild, raised wild, and never
in a cage, so they know how to take care of themselves. As soon as I left, they
just went back to eating things in the woods.”
next day, the students headed to their first classes. “Everything seems to be
going well,” thought Larry. “I hope I can be a help to someone while I’m
here this year.”
afternoon, he stopped by the carpenter’s shop. “Well, here you are!” said
Mr. Oliver. “I’ve got it ready.”
oak! Thank you so much!” exclaimed Larry. “And it has a wooden lip around
the edges, to keep the seeds and shells from falling off! Great! What do I owe
owe me nothing. You are my friend.”
you Mr. Oliver,” as the two shook hands.
Larry set up his feeding station, both Peter and Skip were intrigued. They had
discovered a new side to their pal.
do you like little animals?” queried Skip.
God’s creatures too,” replied Larry. “It’s natural for Christians to
want to be kind to animals. God has done so much for us; we want to do what we
can to help others. Besides, these pets aren’t in cages. They always have
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