BY HUSSIT AND HUBBY

                                   donna and robert

They were all packed.  The camping gear was all placed neatly in the bed of the truck.  Cordell Walker and his sons were ready for their outing, a whole weekend for just the men.  The fact they finished so soon was a miracle with 7-year-old triplets helping.

James Trivette, Walker’s partner, had planned to go with them but he had to stay in Dallas to testify at a bail hearing for a drug dealer that he and Ranger Gage had arrested.  So, not wanting to disappoint the boys, Walker decided to go anyway.

Cord, Chuck and A.J. were excited they were going to live off the land and catch their own food.

“Okay, boys, we have everything ready.  Go say goodbye to Mommy, Jesse and Sam.”  Samantha Robin was their new baby sister who had been born four months ago.

“Okay” they said and hurried to the porch.  After all boys kissed and hugged Alex and the girls, Walker picked up his infant daughter in his arms and kissed her then placed her back in the playpen.  She was his Indian princess; her hair was jet black with eyes to match.  Her skin was bronze reflecting his Native American heritage. She was every bit as beautiful as her mother and sister. He then picked up Jesse, his 5-year-old daughter and said,  “Be a good girl for mommy.”

Jesse asked, “ Why can’t I go too?”

“Because you’re too little and besides you’re a girl.”  Chuck told her.

                  “That’s enough” the father told his son, eying him sternly.

“You need to stay and help Mommy with Sam,  because you’re the big sister.”

“OK, Daddy I will, cause you asked.”  Then she gave Chuck a mean look.

 He turned to his wife and took her in his arms and said, jokingly, “Well honey, you think you’ll be able to get along without us men this weekend?” 

“Jimmy will be here. I think we’ll survive.”  She said, dryly.

“Good” he said, grinning. They laughed and he kissed her.  “Try not to miss me too much,” he said teasingly, then he kissed her passionately.

“ No fair” she said. He laughed.

                  Before the guys left Alex  inquired, “You have your cell phone, right?”

                  “Yes,” Walker replied

                  “Call when you get there,” she gently  reminded him.

                  “Yes, MOM!” Walker teased her.  “Oh get going,” Alex said in mock exasperation, after giving Walker a playful swat on the butt.

                  Once they left Alex  turned to Jesse and said “Well, girls, let’s get ready to go.”  She took Jesse and Sam to the H.O.P.E. center and went to work.

                  The drive to the parking area where they were going camping was a long one.  The boys watched wildlife and A. J. talked all the whole way.  Walker was glad when they reached the park.  He hoped that A.J. would run out of breath but he never did. 

                  Alex prepared for her day in court.

                  The hike to the campsite was long and tiring.  Walker pointed out several kinds of plants to the boys, that would be edible if they were in the woods and had no food.  “Never eat a mushroom in the wild” he instructed, pointing to a mound of them.  “It’s much too difficult to tell the poisonous ones from a non poisonous ones.”

                  Finally they got to the perfect site to set up camp. As they began to put up the tents Chuck decided to be funny.  Walker tied the tent ropes to the stake and went to the next stake.  Chuck snuck behind his Dad and untied the ropes which his dad had just tied. After Walker tied the same rope twice he realize that he was being tricked, and he knew exactly who was guilty.  “CHUCK” he said in a firm voice.

                  “What?”  Chuck said innocently, then he giggled. “No more, son, understood?”  Chuck understood that tone of voice all too well and knew it would be in his own best interests to obey.  “Yes, sir, understood.”

                  A. J. had not stopped talking since they arrived, which was normal for him.  Walker wondered why his youngest son had to take after Trivette.

                  Finally they had camp set up. “OK guys, let’s go catch lunch” Walker said.  They all got their fishing poles and walked around to the other side of the creek.

                  After three fish had been caught, they decided to catch a couple more and go back to camp.  They all cast their lines once more.

                  Chuck yelled, “Dad, HELP! The tree took my fishing line.”

                  Walker turned to see that his middle son had cast too close to the tree and his line was tangled.  “Okay, son I’ll be right there. He put his pole down and asked, “Cord, watch my line please.”  His oldest son nodded and Walker went to help out son #2.

                  He climbed  out onto the  boulders to get the line out of the tree.  “Chuck, how did you get this in this mess?”  Walker asked as he stretched out to undo the line.  His shoes were wet from fishing and as he extended his body out to reach the tree his feet slipped out from under him and he fell off the boulders landing hard.  At the same time, his cell phone fell into the creek.

                  “DADDY” Chuck screamed as he saw his father fall.  Walker lay very still and the boys all ran to him in a panic. He came around slowly and as he moved a shearing pain stabbed through his body.  He grabbed his leg, and involuntarily let out an anguished cry of pain.  His leg was broken and the bone stuck through the skin.

                  “Dad, are you OK?” A. J. asked.

                  “My leg, it’s broken,” he said.

                  “What do we do?” the youngest son asked.

                  “Get some branches, we can use them as a splint.”  Walker said.

                  Cord and Chuck started collecting what looked like strong enough branches to help their Dad. A. J. stayed with Walker.

                  After a few minutes the boys return with the stakes.  Walker had been drifting in and out of consciousness due to the pain, Cord said, “I remember something from Junior Rangers.  Take off your belts guys”

                  “What?”  The other two triplets asked.

                  “Just do it” the oldest ordered.  They removed their belts and handed them to their brother.

                   Before putting on the splint; Cord took a deep breath, managed to swallow his desire to get sick and pushed the bone to straighten the leg and wrapped his shirt around it to try and  stop the bleeding. He told the other two to hold the stakes around Walker’s leg while he put the belts around them.  One by one he tightened them as tight as he could, making sure his Dad’s leg was immobile.

                  Walker opened his eyes and saw his sons around him, “Boys take the sticks and” then he realized they had already done it.  “How did you know how to do this,” he said in barely a whisper.

                  Cord smiled and said “I learned it in Junior Rangers.”  Junior Rangers was a program, which the Rangers started for kids between the ages of 8 and 15.  Walker’s boys were only seven years old.  Walker, Trivette and Gage were leaders of one troop. Cord would listen and watch at the meetings.  Walker had remembered they had given the kids a first aid course a few weeks ago.  His pride in his oldest son was overcome by excruciating pain, as he tried to stand.

                  “Stay still, Dad!  We’ll get help,” Cord said. “Chuck, where’s the cell phone?”

                  “I think it fell in the creek.”

                  “Go see if you can find it” Cord said “but be careful.”

                  “Okay” Chuck said and ran with shore.  After some searching he found it, he took the phone back to the others.  It was broken and full of water.

                  “Well, this won’t work” A.J. said.

                  “Okay,” Cord said” “Look, you guys keep Dad still and warm.  I’m going to see if I can find help”.  Cord used the thing he had learned from White Eagle to find his way through the woods.  At first, he thought he would find his way to the truck and call for help. Then he thought about how it had taken them several hours to hike to the camp so it would be dark before he got there. Besides the truck was locked and he didn’t have the keys.  He decided to find help from a closer source. He remembered they had passed a cabin a little farther back in the woods. Maybe someone would be there and  they could help.  He looked toward the sky and it looked like rain. At the least, maybe they could get Dad that far and get him out of the weather.

                  After work Alex picked up the girls and went home.  Jimmy, Josie and the twins were going to join her there.  The women planned to spend the weekend together.  With Alex’s men on the camping trip and Jimmy having paperwork to do from the bail hearing, they figured it would be a perfect time for girl talk.

                  Alex had dinner ready but she started worrying that Walker had not called.  Once the Trivette family arrived she served dinner and Alex mentioned her concerns to Jimmy.

                  “Alex, you know Walker.  He gets busy and forgets about his phone.”

                  “I guess you’re right, Jimmy” she said, unconvinced.

                  Cord walked for what seemed like hours.  He finally spotted the cabin.  He began to run, in the hope that he could find help.  He ran up to the cabin door and knocked, but there was no answer. He tried the doorknob- it was unlocked.  Cautiously, he opened the door and looked inside.  No one was there. He went on in, and after looking around realized the cabin was stocked with food and firewood “At least it will keep the rain off Dad and we can make something to eat.” he thought.

                  He returned to the others  and found that his Dad had begun to run a temperature.  “ Cord, Dad is really hot.  What do we do?” Chuck asked his brother.

                  “I found a cabin a little ways from here.  There’s no one there but there is food and it will keep us dry.” Cord said. 

                  “Cool, let’s go” A. J. said.

                  “How are we going to get Dad there?” Cord asked. “ We can’t carry him.”

                  “Wait a minute,” Chuck said “ I got an idea.”

                  He ran back to the camp and in a few minutes he returned with some rope and a blanket. “ Now all we need is two long sticks” he ran off again.  The others stood wondering what the heck he was up to.  He returned dragging two very big branches behind him.  As he began to built his idea he said “ I saw this on a movie we were watching the other day.  Dad explained what it was to me.” He tied the rope around the sticks to support the blanket; which he then tied on all the corners of the sticks.  He didn’t know the name, but he was making a travois to drag Walker to the cabin.

                  Walker regained consciousness sometime after Chuck had finished and managed to help the boys get him on the travois.

                  With extreme difficulty, they dragged their father through the woods..  As they reached the cabin the rain began to fall. Even though he was in debilitating pain, Walker managed once again to help the boys as they tried to move him.  But the second he hit the bed in the cabin he passed out again.

                  The boys got some cold water and soaked a cloth in it, which they put on Walkers head.  Cord said, “ White Eagle, showed me how to make a tea for a fever.  I’ll go see if I can find some of that herb” Just then a clap of thunder rang out and a flash of lightening lit up the room.  “After the storm is over, that is,” he said.  As brave as he was, Cord was still only seven years old.

                  Walker woke several times during the storm, but within a few minutes he was out again.

                  Finally the storm stopped and Cord went out to see if he could get some of the herb his Dad had told him about.  A. J. decided to make something to eat.  He had been watching Alex and Grandpa C.D. cook for some time and felt like he could do it.

                  Upon his return, Cord found that A. J. had a pot of soup started on the stove.  It was just a combination of things he found in the cabin.  But it smelled awfully good to the boys.  Cord congratulated A.J. on getting the fire going in the stove, and then boiled up some of the herbs. Next time Walker woke they got him to drink some of the herbal tea. (Walker checked the herbal concoction out first and couldn’t believe his seven year old had been able to remember the right one to cut).

                  Alex was getting more and more worried about Walker not calling her.  Jimmy said that he would check it out. “ I’m sure he just got busy and forgot but if it will make you feel better” he told Alex.

                  “Thank you, Jimmy” she said, appreciatively.

                  “Not problem, I have to go to headquarters. Once I hand in this report I’ll stop at C.D.’s and see if Big Dog wants to go with me and check on them.”  He looked at Josie and asked,  “ Do you mind?”

                  Josie laughed and said “You’re going to go one way or another aren’t you?”  He gave her a lopsided grin.  “ Go ahead, have fun” she said.  He kissed her and the kids and left.

                  The boys kept the fireplace and stove lit all night, trying to keep their Dad warm. While Cord had been out to get the herbs for Walker’s fever, he also picked some healing herbs for the wound on his father’s leg.  By morning Walker’s fever had broken but the pain was still horrible.

                  After dropping his report at headquarters, Jimmy talked to C. D. and they both decided to drive to the park and see if they could catch up with the campers.

                  Walker was still not much help to the boys as he was in a lot of pain and also weak from the fever. 

                  Jimmy and C. D. found the truck and began hiking to find them.  They walked for several hours and finally found the camp but were surprised and upset to find it empty.  “ It looks like no one has been here all night, Jimmy” the older ranger  remarked, worry clearly coming through in his voice.

                  “Maybe they just went fishing.”  Jimmy said.

                  “I don’t know Jimmy, this looks weird to me.”

                  “Well, there was a cabin a little ways back, let’s go there and see if they saw anything” Jimmy said.

                  “Good idea,” C. D. told his young friend.

                  At the cabin, Walker was fully awake.  “Cord, have I been out all night?” he asked.

                  “Yes, Dad, you’re really sick.”

                  “Who did this?”  he asked pointing to the bandage on his leg.

                  “We did!” the boys exclaimed proudly.

                  Walker smiled.

                  “Here Dad, drink some more of  this” Cord said. “ It will make you feel better.”

                  “What is it?” the father asked.

                  “Some soup A.J. made last night” Chuck said.

                  Walker took a drink, “ Not bad, A. J. I didn’t know you could cook.”  “ Who’s been teaching you?”

                  “Mommy and Grandpa C.D.” the little one said.

                  Cord snapped his head around, and said, “ I hear something!”

                  Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.  The boys looked out the window and saw their Uncle Jimmy and Grandpa standing there.  They were so glad to see them that they ran out the door and nearly knocked both men flat!

                  “Whoa!!!!” C.D. said.

                  All the boys tried to talk at the same time.

                  “Hold on boys!” Jimmy said, “ Where’s your Dad?” he asked.

                  “Inside,” Cord said.

                  “Chuck got his fishing line caught in a tree and dad broked his leg getting it.”  A. J. said.

                  “What?  Broked his leg” Jimmy said “ Oh my gosh, Walker man, are you all right?” he asked as soon as he figured out what broked meant.  He ran into the cabin and found his partner lying on the bed with a splint on his leg.

                  “Yeah I’m OK except for this leg.” Walker answered. “Thanks to my boys.” He’d always known he had very special sons but now everyone else would too.

                  Medivac was called and Walker was taken to the hospital.  Alex met them there.  The boys were excited to get to ride in the helicopter with their Dad.  C.D. and Jimmy brought the vehicles back.

Walker had to spend a few days in the hospital and then spent several weeks recuperating at home.  Once he was back on his feet there was a special meeting of the Junior Rangers.  All the boys were made official  members. Then they were doubly surprised when Jimmy and Gage presented them with their patches for wilderness survival, first aid, and cooking.  But the biggest thrill for the boys and Walker was when White Eagle showed up to present the boys each with an eagle feather for their bravery and courage.


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