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Peter and Andrew's Big Adventure!

by Robert Douglas Brown  
1/07/2018 / Family


Peter and Andrew's Big Adventure!

 

It was a cool evening as the breeze blew gently across the Sea of Galilee. The waters danced their way to the shore in an endless wave after wave of blues and silvers gently rocking against the shoreline.  A group of young boys made their way near the shallow waters as they skipped stones across the shimmering surface to see whose rock would dance the longest before sinking to the bottom.

Peter and his little brother Andrew knew it was time to head home as the sun started slowly hiding behind the rock strewn mountainside. “I bet mom is just finishing the touches on dinner, so we better dig in our sandals before it gets cold.” Spoke Peter in his most convincing big-brother voice.

Like the wind that fills the sails of fishing boats moving them swiftly across the ancient Sea of Galilee, the boys sped along the rock strewn path that took them to their mud brick home nestled between the rows of huts along the edge of the village of Capernaum where most fishermen and their families lived.

“Almost home, almost home, just one more path and we will be home free big brother,” Was Andrews’ last words as he collapsed to the ground.  A crowd gathered quickly and circled the young Jewish boy as he gasped for air.

As if a jolt of lightning had crackled and hissed through the thick ever darkening clouds, Andrew bolted upright and started laughing until those who were just seconds before ready to take him home on their shoulders, began to laugh even louder than Andrew. They too were aware of the pranks and jokes that Andrew had entertained the small community with since he was old enough to laugh and keep all who knew him on their toes!

“Andrew, must you always be the clown of the community little bro.?  Wait, I know the answer, and the answer is yes, yes, yes, and always yes!” Peter was the master at asking Andrew a question and accurately answering it before his younger sibling could say a sentence or even a word.

 Andrew was such a free spirit and often got into trouble with his joking and silliness.  A quick look into the eyes of his big brother was a very familiar one that without any hesitation meant the brothers had better run faster before the sand ran out of the hour glass if they were going to make it home before the family gathered around the stone table for their evening meal.

Rebecca had started setting out the freshly baked flat bread and cooked fish on the smooth gray surface of the stone table and was thinking whether those 2 boys of hers were going to make it home in time before dinner was served. Zebedee, their father, had not yet made it home for dinner.

Like the arrival of a small sand storm blowing sand and dust throughout the small village, the two boys burst into the small doorway nearly knocking each other over trying to be the first to sit down for what they knew would be a mouth watering treat of their mother's best cooking.

“Boys, boys, boys, you need to clean up first to get all of the dirt and worse that you have on your hands and likely under your fingernails.” The boys breathed a sigh of relief in that their father was not there patting his foot on the floor with a stern look on his face waiting for those two rascals who always barely made it home on time for the evening meal.

A hush quickly fell over the family as Rebecca and the boys stood still respectfully as Zebedee made his way into the clean but simple home that his family had lived in for many generations. Zebedee looked his wife and two sons in the eye for a brief moment before bursting into robust laughter that could be heard for nearly all of the mud brick houses up and down the dusty road in their small neighborhood.

Today was a special day for Peter and Andrew in that except for the Jewish Sabbath, the boys rarely had a day off just to play and be boys. Although the Sabbath was for resting, no playing was allowed on this day. So having a day off to play and sometimes get in trouble, did not happen very often in their daily lives.

Zebedee relied on his sons very much in that they were very good fishermen and helped their father with the family fishing business. The fish they caught from the Sea of Galilee was the source of income for the family that took both boys and their father long hours every day except for the Sabbath.

“Well boys, we want to know every single thing the two of you did since leaving the house the minute the sun jumped over the mountains in all of its glory as it gave praise to God its maker.”  The boys looked at each other and before Peter could gather his thoughts, Andrew burst out with as much exuberance any 11 year old boy could deliver after experiencing one of the happiest days he had experienced in a long, long time.

Peter gave Andrew a look that only big brothers give letting him know he better tell it like it is or else.  “About 15 minutes after we left the house, we ran into Marcus and his brother Jessop just as we crossed the path that leads to the Jordan River.  Like the bullies they often are, they started throwing small stones on our direction.”

Peter cracked a slight smile to let his parents know that Andrew was telling the tale the way it started out. “We took off like a donkey chasing after the best piece of hay falling off a haystack before any other one could get to it first.”  The family looked at Andrew then Peter before bursting into a round of robust laughter.

 Andrew was less serious in nature, and could out joke, prank, or tell tall tales and do so running circles around his big brother. Peter took this in stride in that he knew Andrew pretty much worshiped the ground that Peter walked on.

Before Andrew could say another word, Peter spoke up and told his parents that they started to return the stones thrown in their direction, but decided not the ruin their hard earned day of fun over a few stones that never came close to hitting either of the boys as they dropped their stones to the ground and walked away saying to themselves, another day you two, another day.

Peter and Andrew had their share of rock throwing battles with the two in the past and had won more than they lost.

Andrew and Peter knew that Marcus and Jessop had really bad aim with throwing anything in their direction and ran to a spot on the side of the mountain where they laughed themselves silly. They knew that by the time the rock throwing brothers ever reached them, they would be long gone and off on another adventure that the day ahead of them had in store.

The last time the boys met turned into a full-fledged tussle with Peter wrestling both Marcus and Jessop to the ground with very little effort. The short lived skirmish was over which boy could make a stone skip the most times across the waters of the Galilee.  Not only did Peter get the best of both boys, he somehow managed to give Jessop a bloody nose and Marcus a shiner that was still fresh on his pudgy face even after 2 weeks.  

Peter was renowned for skipping a rock across the water a resounding 11 times of which no boy or man in the village could match.  Both Marcus and Jessop were larger than Peter, but was no match for his strength and often temper that got Peter into trouble far more than he could often bargain for.

 “You need to talk to Amos again about Marcus and Jessop’s nasty business of rock throwing. I know they are a handful, but Amos needs to get them in line before someone actually gets hurt.” Zebedee knew as he quietly chuckled as to not to let Rebecca hear him, that Peter would likely be the one doing any hurting instead of the other way around.  After making her request to Zebedee, Rebecca then focused her attention on her sons. “What else did you two rascals get into today?

“We met a very sweet and kind lady and her son who live near Judah and were traveling to the Sea of Galilee to meet with family for a visit.  She was a very old lady named Elizabeth and her son is called John. I would say she is older than Grandmother Elzi” spoke Peter in a tone of somewhat puzzlement. 

The boys had a long talk about the encounter with John who would later be called John the Baptist, and his mother Elizabeth and how they sensed that one day their paths would cross again for something far grand than anything they could ever imagine in their lives. The boys agreed with each other that they would keep this a secret that would not be revealed until the date and time that the Lord had set forth down the road for each boy.

Somehow Peter and Andrew knew that they were in the presence of someone special sent from God.  “Do you think Grandmother Elzi could have a little boy like John as old as she is quizzed Andrew to his mother?”

Rebecca knew that her boys liked to joke and have fun with the family, but she knew when they were asking a serious question or seeking the truth.  “We know that Grandmother Elzi is too old to have children and has been many years since she had me boys,” was Rebecca’s answer as she thoughtfully answered the question.

She had a feeling that only a devoted Jewish mother had that yes, somehow, someway, a Jewish woman could have a child in her older years if it was the will of God.  She smiled at the boys and gave another quick look at their hands for any signs of dirt they may have missed while washing.

The boys knew a great deal about the history of the Jewish people and were taught the laws of Moses and did their best to honor these as two rough and tumble Jewish boys of the day were able to do.  Dishonesty was not tolerated in the least in the family and the boys knew to do so would result in something very, very, unpleasant that kept them on the straight and narrow as their father often spoke of.  Time out was not the rule of the day way back then to keep two young Jewish boys inline.

Rebecca and Zebedee asked the boys to tell them everything about their encounter with Elizabeth and John. “Ms. Elizabeth was such a kind lady whose hair was the same sparking silver color as Grandmother Elzi’s, and told us that God made a promise to her that she would have a son in her old age and he would have something very special to do with the coming messiah that the entire Jewish nation eagerly awaited.

“Ms. Elizabeth offered us some of the sweetest dates we have ever eaten. She was bringing a large basket full of them for the visit with her family and had plenty to share with the boys.  She told us that she has a secret recipe of curing them that brings out the hidden sweetness that most folks do not know they have,” chimed in Peter as his parents listened with huge smiles on each of their face. Peter had the family’s sweet tooth and never missed a chance to help himself to any goodies that were offered him.

“Peter, do not forget the sweet flat bread she served them on that was even better than Grandmother Elzi’s fig cakes, informed Andrew as to not to be left out of the mix.  “Now don’t you two go and tell Grandmother Elzi that you ate something better than her fig cakes boys, this would break her dear old heart!” Rebecca winked at the boys as to tell them she was having a bit of fun with them, but the duo knew better than to tell the grandmother this in that it would cause her sadness.  She lived two houses down the rocky road from the boys’ home with their Aunt Sadi who was Rebecca’s older sister.

Since the boys were old enough to talk and interact with their family and friends, their father would ask each member of the family what was the most valuable lesson they learned each day.  As the head of the family, Zebedee proceeded carefully weighing each word, telling his family all about what he felt was the most important lesson he learned that day.

Peter and Andrew gave each other a quick smile and Peter being the oldest, respectfully told their father that keeping their tempers under control and not getting into another fight with Jessop and Marcus was a valuable lesson learned. Andrew shook his head in agreement with Peter.

Zebedee and Rebecca nodded in agreement with the boys that this was indeed a valuable lesson learned.  Peter asked his father how the crew did today with fishing.  Zebedee stretched his arms and paused a brief moment before telling the family all about the day’s catch.

“After casting the main net for the 12th time today, my crew grew weary in that we had only caught 8 fish to that point.  As you know boys, by this time we would have been well over half way catching the days’ quota.  Samuel the Samaritan threw his hands high in the air in anguish in that he had developed serious blisters on both hands from casting the net harder and further than his previous casts with very little to show for it.”

“The crew was ready to pull in the nets for the final time and go home with the hope of maybe better luck tomorrow.  I knew the crew was really tired and just really feeling sorry for each other. ‘’

“Guess what happened next boys?  We did what crusty old fishermen did and cast the nets for the 13th time and pulled in close to 50 nice sized fish and made our catch for the day.  If you boys had been with the crew today, we would have pulled in twice that many!”

The boys had a grin as wide as the Sea of Galilee knowing that they were valued as bonafide fisherman capable of hanging in there with some of the most seasoned fishermen in the entire village. 

Elizabeth gave the boys some extra dates and sweet flat bread to take with them in case they became hungry before returning home.  The boys made their way home and knew they had time to spare to stop and throw some stones across the waters of the Galilee.

Peter spotted an old friend who was once one of the best fishermen in the entire village, but now was a very old man who did not have a family except a daughter. She was very poor and did odd jobs such as fixing broken tools and cleaning out animal shed for families in the community.  Everyone loved Bartamus the fisherman as he was called including Peter and Andrew.

Peter and Andrew stopped in their tracks and strolled towards Bartamus with a look of joy on each of their faces. They knew that Bartamus had a story to tell and that they must take the time to listen to each and every gem of wisdom and humor he had to share with the boys.

Before Bartamus wound up and started his tall tell that was mixed with truth and a touch of fiction, Peter opened the small leather pouch where he had carefully placed the dates and sweet flatbread that Elizabeth had given the boys a few short hours ago.  He knew that Bartamus was likely hungry and would devour the treats that were about to be offered to him.

“Wow, wow, and wow these are the best dates and sweet flatbread this old geezer of the ages has ever placed in his earth-worn mouth boys!” “I guess you like them then do you Mister Bartamus?” asked Andrew as he poked Peter in the side just a little too hard.  “Watch it little prattle slug was Peter’s response to the poking Andrew had brazenly administered to his big brother’s left rib cage.

Prattle Slug was Peter’s cue to Andrew to back off before he found Peter’s knuckles harshly crackled across the rear of his noggin. Bartamus devoured the scrumptious treats and paid no attention to the boys in that this was likely the only food he had eaten so far that day.

“Why don’t you come home and have dinner with us chimed Andrew as Bartamus licked each of his fingers to make sure none of the rare treat found its way to the ground and not into his stomach. “Boys, this sounds like an invitation to what I know will be a most excellent meal your mother Rebecca is Capernaum famous for.  I must pass my buds in that my nephew Amos and his family have invited me over for dinner this fine evening.”

The boys knew Bartamus was telling the truth in that one thing that Bartamus was known for was for telling it like it is and never hiding the truth from friend or foe.  The boys knew a story was coming their way even if it meant pushing the limits of getting home in time for dinner.

Bartamus took 3 very deep breathes before he broke into a story that he knew would grab the boys attention and one they could learn from as well. As customary, Bartamus always taught a lesson with each story he told to any of the boys in the village that would take the time to listen to the treasures of Bartamus as they were called.  These friends will be another story all of its own soon full of more adventure any of the likes you have ever heard or read.

The story went like this. “When I was 8 years old, I decided I wanted to sail the seas and fish for the big fish in the blue Mediterranean Sea. Very early one morning when the sun popped over the mountains and made the waters of the Mediterranean sparkle bluer than the sky, as quiet as tiny field mouse, I sneaked out from my hut and made my way down to the sea.”

“I carefully crept aboard the ship Tiberius and hid in one of the large baskets where fresh catches of fish were stored until the ship docked and unloaded. Boy did it stink! However, I did not care because I was going to go fishing on the high seas of the Mediterranean.”

“I stayed hidden in the basket until I started getting very hungry. I carefully removed the lid from the basket not to be seen by anyone. I guess I was not careful enough and before I knew it, a grumpy old fisherman yanked me out of the basket by the hair on my head! I yelled out like a cat being pulled by the tail and soon a host of some of the nastiest and meanest sailors and fishermen were standing over me pounding their fists on their hands.”

“Let’s throw the little dwebble overboard grunted one of the sailors who had long black hair and a gray beard down to his fat round tummy. Nah, let’s make him cook and clean the deck till his grubby little fingers turn red full of blisters and sores so that he will learn his lesson to never sneak aboard our might Tiberius ruler of the sea.”

“I was hurried off to the captain’s cabin.” The captain named Amos was one scary ugly, mean, nasty, and just downright, well just plain old mean.  I mean, mean, mean, boys, nasty, nasty, mean.”  “Aren’t you Bartamus the son of Samuel the fisherman boy?” spoke the old fishing boat skipper as he cracked a slight smile.

“I took a deep breath and gave the captain the answer that I thought he was looking for.” Bartamus knew he could be in trouble if he did not give the right answer.  He took a deep breath and told the old boat skipper that yes; he was the son of Samuel.

Like a donkey changing directions when it just felt like it regardless of the swift swat on its rear to get it back on course, old Bartamus threw up his hands and stopped on a dime with his tall tell for the boys.

“Boys, please do not be mad at old Bartamus, but if I do not stop at this very second, I will be late for my dinner with my nephew Amos.  The dinner is going to be lamb and fish with a dessert that will make your tongue roll all the way down to the sea ready to lap up every single bite boys!”

“The lesson I want to tell you is to never lie regardless of what will happen to you. When you tell the truth, good things and not bad usually will happen to you.”

The boys knew that soon in a day or two, Bartamus would finish this very interesting story, but knew the hour glass was about to run out of sand before they made it home in time for dinner.”

“We understand Mr. Bartamus and if we do not make these sandals fly like the wind filling the sails on a ship so it can race across the waters, we will be late for dinner.” Dinner was ready, and the boys made it just in the nick of time to the delight of Rebecca!

 

I am a retired educator and technology director from a school district in Louisiana. I now reside in Cedar Mountain North Carolina and write to keep busy and just to have fun. I ama young 61 year old man and grandfather of 2 darling little girls!

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