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The Adventures of Princess Pearl, P.O.W.E.R.* Girl! - Chapter Fourteen
by Tonja Taylor
2/17/2020 / Short Stories
Chapter 14—Helping and Healing
“Okay, Rob, you did a pretty good job helping me, so thanks,” Pearl said. “Now go to your room and pull stuff out of your closet—you know, in the boxes? Take the stuff out and put it on your bed, and I’ll help you figure out where to put it so you can find it, okay?”
“Nah, I don’t wanna do that. I wanna play with my truck,” he said, and started to leave the kitchen.
I’m being nice to him and he’s being rude to me, Daddy God! Pearl thought.
“I know, but we have to,” Pearl said, trying to be patient. “I’ll help you. We have to fix your room so we can see the surprises!”
“No!” he said, and ran out the door and up the stairs.
“Ugh!” she said. “Brat!” and wiped her hands on the towel. “God, I’m not gonna help him, he can do it himself! I have my own room to clean up!”
Pearl heard footsteps, and heard her mother put the vacuum back in the hall closet, then she walked in. She had a slight frown on her face. “What was that, Pearl? Is Robert giving you a problem?”
“You mean, when is he not giving me a problem?” Pearl said.
“Hasn’t he done better lately?”
“I don’t know, maybe some," Pearl admitted. "He did pretty good in the kitchen, 'cause I tried to make it fun for him, like a game.”
“Well that was sweet," said her mother, and hugged her. "You’re a very smart girl.”
“But now he says he doesn’t need my help, which is great with me, actually,” Pearl said. “I’m going to clean my room, and he can just do his.”
Her mother touched her shoulder and whispered, “Pearl, I think Robert is still uncomfortable with this moving thing, and I think he’s afraid.”
“Of what? His toys?” Pearl noticed her words were sharp. “I apologize, Queen Mother, but I just—“
Her mom hugged her close. “Sweetheart, you are so mature, and I appreciate you! You have been very brave for Robert. Believe it or not, he really does look up to you, so ask the LORD to help you be gentle.”
“I have … sometimes,” Pearl said.
“Thank you,” said her mother softly. Then she talked business again. “Go to Rob’s room and if he won’t help you, then just let him play while you pull out the boxes and sacks and such and empty them. Arrange things in stacks, then call me, and we’ll get this done.”
“Okay, Queen Mother,” Pearl said, and sighed. “I can listen to Christian music, though, right? Maybe that will perk him up.”
“Sure, Precious, just don’t turn it up very loud.”
“Gotcha!” Pearl ran up to her room and got her mp3 player. She put it in her pocket, and her earbuds around her neck.
Robert was in the hall, playing with his remote control truck. He didn’t even look up. Pearl stepped over him and said, “Okay, Rob, time to clean your room!”
“Vroom! Vroom!” he said, making his truck move. He didn’t look at her.
I am not going to let him ignore me! She bent down and talked more loudly. “Robert, time to clean your room. Queen Mother said so!”
He looked up at her for a moment, but his stare was blank.
Pearl was confused. “What is wrong with you, Bub?” She touched him on his head. “Is your brain working?”
“Stop it, Pearl! I’m playing. You clean!”
She was just about to tell him what she thought of that when she saw her Uncle Burt coming up the stairs. He put his finger to his lips, as if to tell her to not let Robert know he was there.
She smiled at Uncle Burt but thought, Why do I have to do all the work? she thought. LORD, help me! Okay, Jesus, I guess a P.O.W.E.R. Princess works when no one else will, right? She sighed out loud.
Burt snuck up on Robert and grabbed him and lifted him up into the air, tickling Robert’s sides. “How’s my favorite nephew?” he said.
Robert squealed in pleasure and pounded on his uncle. “Put me down, Unc!” he said, “and play trucks with me!”
“All right,” Burt said, and folded up his tall, muscled frame to sit down on the carpet to play with his nephew. “Show me,” he said. He winked at Pearl.
“I’ll just be in here,” she said, walking toward Robert’s room and winking back at her uncle. Ah, it will actually be easier and faster with me doing this myself! she thought. And I can listen to the music.
She went into his room, turned on her mp3 player and turned up KLOVE, her favorite Christian radio station. The peppy, positive music energized her. “We can do this, Jesus, You and me. I’m so glad I don’t have to do this by myself!”
I Am with you always, she heard her sweet Father say in her heart.
"Amen, thank You my dearest Daddy God!" She looked up to Heaven and waved at Him.
She looked at the boxes and bags and groaned a bit. “Hmmm … Where should I start?”
She waited a bit, and had an idea to start dumping everything on his bed. I’m glad Queen Mother has helped me learn to listen to God, she thought. But I need to listen more. Anyway, Jesus, let’s do this, so we can go see the surprises!
She grabbed the boxes and bags and emptied them onto the bed—except for the plastic bag full of rocks and wood pieces. Those needed to go in the closet, or in the driveway, she thought. Guess I better ask Rob before I dump them in the gardens or something.
She sorted and folded, humming to the music, and put things into the dresser and chest of drawers. It seemed easy, as she enjoyed the praise and worship songs.
She looked out the door into the hall, and saw Burt was sitting on the carpet, leaning against the wall, with Robert lying in his lap. They both seemed to be asleep. She started to ask her uncle something, but heard Robert snore.
Jesus, please help him stop missing Daddy so his heart won’t hurt any more. And me too, please. Her uncle nodded and smiled at her and continued to hold Robert in his big strong arms.
Let Robert feel like You are holding him, Daddy God, she thought, 'cause really, You are holding all of us!
She turned around, picked up the bag of rocks, and opened the closet. This is not too bad, she thought, noticing there wasn’t much in there but a few toys, a bagful of clothes, and something in the corner. I’ll be done fast! Then we can see the surprises!
She put the clothes by the door, thinking they needed to go to the laundry room to be washed. Next she straightened the toys, then reached in the corner and pulled out a metal box.
Her heart jumped. Dad’s old tackle box!
Tears came into her eyes and she was almost afraid to open it. I wonder if Queen Mother knows he has this, Pearl thought. Maybe I should just throw it away! Maybe I should put it in my room! What would a P.O.W.E.R Princess do?
It was rusted, and she struggled with the fastener.
“Sweet Pearl,” she heard her mother say softly as she felt her mother's gentle touch on her shoulders, “what have you got there?”
Pearl pulled the earbuds out. “Sorry, I didn’t hear you come in,” she said, wiping the tears off her face. “It’s Daddy’s tackle box.”
Her mother bit her lip and said, “He must have given it to Robert.”
“Can I take it to my room?”
“I just thought that it might make Rob more sad if he saw it,” Pearl said. “He probably forgot about it.”
“I suppose the moving men grabbed it,” said her mother, stepping back to look in the hall. “They are still asleep. Believe it or not, Robert usually knows what he has,. He’ll probably notice it is missing, but pray he will forget—for now,” her mom said quietly.
Pearl finally opened the tackle box and they sat on the bed and pulled out things. “These were Daddy’s favorite lures, huh?” Pearl said, holding up some wild-looking feathery, shiny things without the hooks.
“Yes, I suppose,” said her mother and smiled a bit. “I see he was faithful to Robert-proof them.”
Pearl laughed. “Yeah, so he didn’t hook us!”
Her mother pulled out more items. “Looks like a seahorse skeleton and a dead lizard—“
“Ewww!” Pearl said, looking around for the trashcan.
“He didn’t catch a seahorse, did he? Aren't they just in the ocean?” She brought it over and held it out.
Her mother dropped them in. “No, he had a saltwater aquarium long ago and the seahorse died. I have no idea why he kept the skeleton….I suppose it’s the same reason some people keep cow skulls.”
She pulled out some coins and a duck call. “We are hiding this for sure!” her mother said, and grinned, “because I didn’t have a duck—I had a boy!”
Pearl stifled a laugh and nodded. She reached in again and pulled out a golf ball and some corks.
“He must have rescued those, cause he certainly didn’t know how to play golf,” Pearl’s mother said, and laughed. “I think the most fun he had on the golf course was riding the cart through the sprinkler! Pearl giggled.
“I can see him trying to pop a wheelie with the golf cart—that he put a souped-up engine on!” she said. A P.O.W.E.R. Princess has joy! she thought. God, help
me have joy all the time!
Pearl’s mother was laughing silently, with happy tears rolling down her cheeks. “Yes, and he probably rescued his corks from the water too!”
Pearl laughed again. “He didn’t catch many fish, did he Queen Mother?” she whispered.
This time, Pearl pulled out a plastic bag. It was a pocket sized New Testament.
“Not many to eat. But he sure did catch a lot of spiritual fish—people!” her mother said, and nodded her head. She smiled as she saw the Bible. She opened the bag and took it out, lovingly touching the pages.
“Yes, Jimmy was one of God’s best fishermen! The edges are ragged—see? I bet he showed a lot of verses to the people around him!”
“That’s great, huh? Daddy lived what he talked about.”
“Yes, Pearl, he did. That’s a rare man! God said in Proverbs that he who wins souls is wise." She nodded. "Really, that’s why we’re here on earth—to tell all the people about Jesus and how good He is, so they will want to go Home to Heaven with us!”
She hugged her daughter and smiled up at Heaven. “Come to think of it, I seem to remember he carried a boxful of Bibles and other Christian magazines and teaching CDs around with him, to give to people at the lake, or service stations, or drive-throughs, or such.”
Her eyes were shiny with tears, but she laughed. “The last few months, he’d ordered Bibles with large print, 'cause he said many of the people fishing were older or said they couldn’t read the regular print. So the larger print gave them no excuse!”
“Right!.” said Pearl. She reached into the bottom and felt something medal. It was a keyring, with a key!
Her mother saw it and caught her breath. “That’s to his motorcycle—but it must be a spare, because the other—“ She took it and held it up. A golden eagle dangled on the other side from the key.
“Can I have it?” said Pearl.
Her mother hugged her, and Pearl thought she might be trying to hide a tear.
“Sweetie, I need this for now,” she said. “Understand?”
“Yes ma’am.” Pearl said, and picked up the tackle box.
“Should we just throw this away? It’s pretty rusty.”
“Yes, put it in the trash outside. Thank you so much for cleaning his room. You know, I believe the LORD must have caused Rob to fall asleep, because it would have been hard on him to see this tackle box. It’s better that we got it out of the way.”
She stood up. “I’m going to let you choose a CD you want, for helping him—and me. You did a great job.”
“Great! Tonight? Can I order it online?”
“This Saturday. Christian, of course.”
“Yes ma’am, the only kind I listen to!” said Pearl. She remembered many times hearing her daddy say, “A true P.O.W.E.R. Princess guards her mind by putting God stuff in, so there’s no room for the bad!”
“That’s my girl!” said her mother. “I wish I’d grown up doing that. The LORD had to wean me off all kinds of bad music. And it was hard. But He did, and I’m so glad! It’s just easier to live right!”
She left and Pearl sat on the bed, looking at the stuff from her dad’s box. She remembered good times with him, fishing and hiking, and just talking.
A noise made her realize she’d been daydreaming. I’d better put this in a bottom drawer or something before Robert sees them.
Burt came in, carrying a still-snoring Robert. He motioned to Pearl to pull back the covers, then put his nephew in the bed and pulled the covers over him.
He saw the stuff in her hand, then bent down to whisper, “Why don’t we finish by decorating his room? I have some special decorations he’ll like.”
She nodded. He reached in his jacket and pulled out several sheets of puffy stickers—stars and planets and comets and such.
“Wow, that’s cool!” said Pearl, whispering still. “They need to go on the ceiling, right?”
“Yes,” said her Uncle, “and no standing in chairs! You can pull them off and hand them to me. First, though, take them to the bathroom and hold them close to the light, to charge ‘em up a few minutes. Then we’ll stick them on the ceiling and walls, and we’ll leave the light on a few minutes while he takes his bath, so they’ll show up really well!”
“You’re such a great uncle!” she said, whispering. “I’m so glad we’re here with you.”
“Same here, Pearl. I love you all! Now, Rob’s zonked out. Put the stuff down in the corner, and let’s get busy.”
They decorated quickly. “I only know the big and little dippers,” joked her uncle, but I bet he’ll like them all anyway! He was telling me how you and your dad liked to stare at the stars a lot. By the way, there are some great places to stargaze here,” he said.
When they finished, she woke Robert.
He burrowed further under the covers at first. Pearl couldn’t get him up, so her uncle tried. “Bub, don’t you want to see the surprise?”
Robert threw back the covers and sat up.
He looks so cute with his hair all messed up, thought Pearl.
“Surprise? Where?” said Robert. He rubbed his eyes.
“The light is too bright! Turn it off!”
Pearl flipped the switch, forgetting the stars. Robert saw them. “Heyyyyy! Look!” he said, and pointed! “I have stars in my room!”
“Ah!” said her uncle. “You’re right! Sissy and I just put them up while you were asleep. You snored right through it!” He laughed.
“Pretty!” said Robert, and he looked very happy. “They glow!”
Pearl’s heart felt warm. I’m so glad he likes it!
“That’s right, Bub. And that’s what we believers in Jesus do. We soak up His light, so we’ll glow too!“
Robert ran over and hugged his uncle’s knees. He laughed and said, “You need to thank your sissy too. She not only cleaned up and organized your room really well for you, but she helped me put up these stars!”
Robert ran to her and hugged her tighely. “Thanks!”
“Oomph!” said Pearl, but hugged him back. “I love you, Rob-Rob,” she said. A P.O.W.E.R. Princess loves!
She felt him relax. “I love you too, Sissy!” he said. “Thank you for cleanin’ it. Now I don’t have to!”
I like him much better like this, Jesus! thought Pearl. Thanks! Maybe I
won’t ship him off after all! She giggled.
“What’s funny, Pearl?” asked Robert, looking up at his stars again.
“Nothin’ Bub. I love you,” she said. “It’s just that you glow with Jesus love right now,” she said. “Like a star.”
“Good job on being thankful, Rob,” said Burt. “How about, if it’s warm enough this weekend, we have a cookout and sleep under the stars in the field!” he said. “We could invite Risa and the kids.”
“Yeah!” Robert said. “I love living in the country!”
“Yes, and you’ll love living in the country for many reasons,” said his uncle. “Some of those reasons will arrive this afternoon!”
“Hey, the surprises, right?” said Pearl.
“You got it!” said Burt. “We’ll go out and see some of them in a minute.”
“But you said they are coming. Are they here already?”
“Well,” said Burt, with a mysterious tone, “You’ll see. There are some for now and some for later.”
“Wow!” said Robert. “Let’s go!” and he bolted for the stairs.
“All right,” said Burt. “You’re gonna have to hide your eyes in a minute. But wait till you get outside!”
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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