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The Adventures of Princess Pearl, P.O.W.E.R.* Girl! - Chapter Eleven
by Tonja Taylor
2/16/2020 / Short Stories
Chapter Eleven — Riding High
At breakfast, Pearl had an idea. “Uncle Burt, what if Rob and I help you with your chores, and then you can teach us to ride even before Robin and Lucas get here?
Then we’ll already have some practice time in, and can help them.”
“Well now,” said her uncle, as he flipped over a thick pancake, “that sounds like a great idea. I could use some help, and that will give your mother a chance to do what she needs to do—like take a nap or something.”
So the kids helped Burt, then he took them to the barn after lunch. “Good job wearing your running shoes. Never get on a horse barefoot!”
He put the blankets on the horses and secured the saddles, then put the bridles on. “I’m in a hurry today, but I know you could do this, Pearl,” he said.
He helped them mount. “I’ll let each of you ride a horse and I will lead you.”
“Awww, I was hoping I could guide Aurora myself,” said Pearl. “Please?”
“Sweetie, be patient,” he said. “Robert will want to ride by himself if I let you do it, and you know he is way too little for that.”
“Okay….thanks for giving us this extra time,” she said.
“That’s my girl.”
Once outside, Burt helped them get the horses ready and mount. “I’m going to take you guys on a walk to the back of the property,” he said. “Since we’re on a mountain, there’s a great view of the river, and you’ll love it, okay? Just be sure not to kick the horses or jump off or anything like that. Got it, Rob?”
“Yes, let’s go!” he said.
“That’s a lot of walking for you, Uncle Burt!” said Pearl.
“It’s okay—this will give your mom some time. Plus, I need to walk the property. Haven’t done that in a few weeks.” He reached down and looked in his boot.
“What are you doing, Unc?” said Robert.
“Just making sure that I’ve got my little silver gun. It’s very small, but very effective against snakes and such.”
Pearl shivered. LORD, thank You that we are going to have only good things on this ride!
“When we get back,” he said, and rose up, “we’ll have homemade peach ice cream.”
“Yum! I want a big bowl!” Pearl said.
“You got it, and now let’s go, kids!” Burt started walking across the field, leading the horses.
Robert was looking around, wiggling with excitement. “I’m so high! I’m so high!” he said.
Splash whinnied and tossed her head, as if she agreed.
Burt laughed. “Yes, Bub. You’re excited, and Splash doesn’t mind. Just don’t fall off, okay?”
They walked through the peach orchards first. “No more peaches for this year, but we had a good crop.” he said. “The apples should be ready early next week, I think. If you two want to earn some extra money, I’ll let you help me and the other pickers.”
“Sure,” Pearl said. “I’ll help.” She saw lots of apples on trees that went as far as she could see.
“Wow, Uncle Burt, you have lots of them!” Pearl said.
"Yes, the LORD has been so good to grow and multiply my orchard. These are not non-GMO, but they are organic."
"What does 'organic' mean again?" said Pearl.
"'Organic' means God created it and that it does not have any harmful chemicals sprayed on the fruit nor the trees. My workers use sprays with natural bases--from stuff the LORD created, so it will harm the pests but not us people."
"Okay, so organic is better, right?" asked Pearl. "I know Queen Mother buys some organic stuff for us.
"You got it," said Burt. "And non-GMO organic is the very best."
They walked through the orchard, squirrels scampered before them. The branches were close and Rob reached out and grabbed some fruit.
Burt stopped the horses. “Rob,” he said, “please leave them on the tree so they can finish getting ready. But you can feed that one to Splash when we stop, okay?”
“Okay, I’ll hold it.”
“Tell you what,” Burt said, “You need both hands for riding—hold on and stretch so Splash can reach around and eat the apple you got her.”
He gently pulled Splash’s head around so she could see Rob giving her the fruit. She ate it in one bite.
“Wow, that was quick!” Robert said.
“Yes. Pearl, pick one for Aurora, too.”
She gave one to Aurora, and it disappeared just like Splash’s did.
“These are red delicious,” Burt said. “The horses love ‘em, and I bet you guys do too, right?”
“In apple pie,” Pearl said. “With lots of cinnamon!”
“Me too,” her uncle replied. “Mrs. Risa bakes a yummy pie, so we’ll be sure to give her a couple baskets full.”
They walked for a few more minutes and came to a clearing on the other side. There was a little brook there, and they saw a flash of brown and white.
“A deer!” Pearl said.
“And look, there’s the baby!” said Rob. “It’s so cute!”
“Not as cute as you, Bub!” Burt said, as he led the horses to the brook for a drink. “Want to wade, kids?”
“No, let’s see the rest,” said Pearl.
“I want a deer,” said Robert. “Can I have the baby?”
“Rob, the baby has to stay with its mama, so she can take care of it.”
Rob nodded, “Yeah, okay. But deer are neat.”
“Deer are nice—as long as they leave my gardens alone. They really like to eat peas; I think sometimes they think I’ve planted them just for them! And some of them get on their hind legs and eat the apples off the lower branches of the trees. But I have plenty so that’s all right. If I shoot one this fall, it’ll be even better, cause it’ll be apple-flavored!”
“Aw, Uncle Burt!” Pearl protested. “Don’t shoot those pretty deer!”
He chuckled. “Pearl, I wouldn’t do that, unless they really did become a problem. Even good things have to be stopped if they are causing damage. But there are bobcats and such around—“
“Oooh, big cats!” said Robert.
“Yes, Pearl, and bobcats and mountain lions eat deer,” Burt said, talking over his shoulder to them. “We’re in the mountains, remember? So if you guys are in the woods hiking or on a trail ride or anywhere you ever feel weird or smell urine really strong, then you need to first plead the Blood of Jesus over yourself and remember that God’s angels are around you protecting you." His voice was serious as he continued, "You also need to take your cell phone wherever you go, and call me if you think there is danger.”
“I don’t have one yet,” said Pearl.
“Oh, okay. Well, I can see how you haven’t needed one till now, Pearl, but I believe that is about to change. Just remember it is a tool, not a toy. Okay?”
“Great!” Pearl shouted. Thank You, Jesus!
“I want a cell phone too!” said Robert.
He stopped the horses and turned to look at them. “Rob, you have a few years to do, but we can get you an electronic game or something.”
Robert nodded his head, happy at the idea.
“Kids, listen,” Burt said, “God is faithful and He knows everything about your life before you do it, so you can be sure He is working to keep you safe—even if you don’t get something that you want till years later. Trust me.”
He nodded. “Also, there may be times you plan something and then, you get this feeling that you really should not go. He often doesn’t tell us why—but He always knows best. Jesus is the Good Shepherd; He is the Prince of Peace. Ask Him to help you understand how, when your peace leaves and stays gone, that it is almost always Him changing your plans because He loves you and has something better.”
Burt dropped the reins and stroked the horses’ noses. “He’s always got your back, and wants to protect you, so you can’t have a bad attitude if He changes your plans. Got it? I’m sure your mother has talked to you about this!”
“Yes Sir, we know,” Pearl said. “But can I still go on trail rides?”
“You can work up to that, Pearl,” said her uncle, “but you must stay on the trails I mark out for you, and you must take your cell phone. Understand?”
“Yes, Sir!” Yippee! I must be getting a cell phone this week! Pearl thought.
Burt picked the reins back up and started leading the horses again. “Now, let’s cross this little brook, and we’ll be in my pecan orchard,” he said.
He sounds more like his happy self now, thought Pearl.
“I have 100 trees,” he said, and pointed. “The papershells are the big nuts that crack really easy.”
The orchard looked huge. Pearl saw several squirrels. “I bet the squirrels like this orchard best" she said. "Do they eat your pecans?”
“Maybe some,” he said. “But not enough to notice." He laughed. “They probably consider this to be God’s nut buffet. I read somewhere that their little brains are so tiny that often, when they hide nuts to eat later, they forget them and then nut trees spring up. Perhaps God guides them to stash nuts where He wants trees planted, knowing they'll forget to come back and eat them."
“That’s funny,” Pearl said. “Hey, what are those little bitty ones that are hard to crack but taste so good?” she said. "Queen Mother says those taste better than the big ones."
“Those are native pecans,” he said. “They do make the best-tasting pie.”
“Hmm. Does Ms. Rita make pecan pies too?”
Burt smiled. “She is good at everything she does. But why don’t you learn to make one for homeschool—science class or something?”
“Maybe. I can talk to Queen Mother.”
“Darlin’, why do you call her that? I don’t think she likes it much.”
Pearl’s heart hurt. “Well, Uncle Burt, that’s what royalty calls their mother the queen when their father the king has died,” she said, as calmly as she could.
“Sweetie….Father God is the King—but never mind,” Burt said. He turned to look at her. “Don’t worry about it. Let’s see the river!”
They got through the pecan orchard and then came to another clearing. The land went uphill.
“I can hear water!” Pearl said. I love the sound of running water! It’s so peaceful.
“Yes, it’s the Buffalo River,” he said. “God has blessed me with this land and I have a long stretch along the water. Your grandparents’ parents had the great vision to invest in this land and plant all of these trees, so we could enjoy it too,” he said. “When you guys decide where you want your house to be, we’ll have the plans drawn up.”
“I want to live right by the river!” Pearl said.
“I understand, Pearl. That may be possible. It is really up to your mother, you know. But till then, we could bring a tent and camp out here or something.”
“Yeah!” Pearl said. “Can we before it gets cold?”
“We’ll see,” he said, as he led the horses to the crest of the hill. “Look!”
“Wow!” Pearl said. The river was wide, and flowing swiftly through the tall bluffs of stone on either side. There was a lovely waterfall coming out of the other side of the rock, and birds flew back and forth. The evergreens made a nice backdrop for the many colors of leaves on the trees and bushes.
“Pretty!” said Robert. “Let’s swim!”
“No, Rob, this is not a place for swimming,” said Burt. “It’s much too deep and swift here. We’ll have to go to further downstream to swim. I thought about digging a small lake on the place—“
“Yeah! With a slide!” Robert said.
“And a waterfall!” Pearl said.
“I’ll let you know,” said Burt. “Let’s go back. Who wants peach ice cream?”
“Me!” said Pearl and Robert together. It just gets better with You, Jesus! she thought.
Tonja K. Taylor is the author of many works, including THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCESS PEARL, P.O.W.E.R.* Girl! series. She and her husband Clayton minister the Word through teaching, preaching, and the arts, on River Rain Creative Arts (You Tube, God Tube), AnchorFM, their church, the region, and beyond
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