Authors: Linda I. Shands
Â© 2001 by Linda I. Shands
Published by Revell
a division of Baker Publishing Group
P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287
Ebook edition created 2011
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Scripture is taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE Â®. Copyright Â© the Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 (used by permission).
Unless otherwise identified, Scripture quotations are from
the Holy Bible, New International Version Â®. NIV Â®. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.Â© Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
ARA FELT THE WHOOSH DEEP
in her stomach as the plane swooped down between the canyon walls. It wound dizzily along, just a few feet above the twisting river, until a red-rock formation seemed to spring up right in front of them, then the right wing dipped and the plane soared high into the clean, blue sky
In the blink of an eye, they were on the river in a wooden boat, rushing heedlessly toward a stretch of churning white water. The first dip made Kara's stomach leap again. She gripped the armrests on either side of her seat and hung on as the boat made a second, deeper plunge. Next to her, her seven-year-old brother, Ryan, squealed. Before she could turn her head to see if he was all right, the boat rose up and spun on a giant wave, then crashed once again into the raging water.
Kara realized she was holding her breath and let it out as the camera panned to calmer waters, then to a sandy beach.
She was fifteen, already a high school junior, and this had to be one of the most exciting films she'd ever seen.
The narrator's voice picked up the story of rock formations, wildlife, and daring explorations of the mighty Colorado River.
“Wakara?” She felt a tug on her sleeve and turned to catch Ryan's grin.
“What?” she whispered, hoping it would encourage him to do the same. It didn't.
“That was way cool!” His voice rose with excitement. “Will they show that part again?”
A few people around them chuckled, and Dad leaned across her with his finger to his lips.
“Not right now,” she whispered back to him, using the same gesture as Dad. “Just be still and watch.”
But Kara found it hard to concentrate on the rest of the film. She didn't know what was more excitingâthis last-minute trip to the Grand Canyon, or the fact that in just a few hours they would be at Aunt Peg's in Phoenix to visit her and Grandpa Sheridan. Kara still couldn't believe it
Grandpa had arrived from Ireland last November. He had visited with them in Lariat for a few weeks, then headed to Aunt Peg's in Phoenix, where he had been ever since. “I've had enough of the rain and cold,” he'd told Dad. “I need some sun to thaw my bones. If it's all the same to you, I'll bask in Arizona for a bit.”
Aunt Peg had called a few weeks ago and invited them all to come south for a few days. Dad had jumped at the idea. “We'll fly down next weekend,” he'd said. “The kids have Friday off. School's closed for teacher training.” Later he'd decided they could skip Thursday too and visit the Grand Canyon on the way.
Kara shook off her thoughts and turned her attention back to the seven-story movie screen. It was the first time
she'd been in one of the new IMAX theaters, and it was completely awesome. They had visited the Grand Canyon this morning and had taken the shuttle all along the west rim. The view had been sensational. But watching the video afterwards, she felt as if she were really soaring with the eagle, then gliding in an ultralight over the cliffs and the river below.
When the movie ended, she sat for a minute more, entranced, then followed Dad and Ryan to the gift shop, where they stood in line to buy a copy of the film. “It won't be the same on the TV screen,” Dad said, “but at least the others will get some idea of what we saw.”
Ryan ran ahead of them to the parking lot, then stopped and took Kara's hand. “That was so cool!” he beamed up at her. “Wait 'til Greg and Colin hear.” His grin faded, and he slipped his other hand in Dad's. “I wish they could've come.”
Dad's eyes clouded, but then he smiled and ruffled Ryan's hair. “Me too, Tiger. But your brother wasn't up to it, and Colin had to stay behind to take care of the stock.”
All the way to the car, Ryan chattered about going to Aunt Peg's and seeing Grandpa. Kara tuned him out. She missed Greg and Colin too. It still didn't seem right having the family split apart on a trip like this. Mom wouldn't have stood for it. But Mom wasn't here, and Greg was still suffering the effects of a skull fracture he'd sustained when his horse went over a cliff last October during an early blizzard
Kara sighed. Anne, their Nez Perce cook, would take care of him. And Colin was there to help with anything they needed. She felt a slight flush at the thought of Colin. He'd hired on as a ranch hand last June and was already part of the family. But she definitely did not think of him as a brother.
“Penny for your thoughts, Wakara.” She looked up to see Dad holding the door of the rental car for her, a teasing grin flashing across his face.
Kara felt the heat spread from her hair roots to her toenails. “Uh, I was just thinking about how much fun this is!” Her voice sounded panicky.
Way to go, Wako
. She ducked her head and eased into the backseat with Ryan. Dad let it go and climbed into the driver's seat.
At the miniscule airport, they returned the car and climbed back into Dad's Cessna. Ryan slept on the short hop from Page to the airport in Phoenix. By the time they got clearance to land, Kara was yawning as well. But then they were in the passenger lounge, greeting Aunt Peg and Grandpa Sheridan, and Kara's tiredness vanished.
“Well, now, Wakara darlin', let me look at you!” Grandpa Sheridan's accent was thick as Irish cream, but Kara knew it was phony. She grinned and returned his bear hug, then stepped back as he held her shoulders and studied her face. “Sure, and it's me own mother's face I'm seeing here.” His smile grew wistful. “You look just like her, Wakara, just like I remember her, and that's been a hundred years, or so it seems.”
He had said the same thing back in November, still, Kara felt a glow of pleasure at her grandfather's words. She was proud of her Native American heritage. From the drawing she had of her great-grandmother, Kara knew she had been a beautiful young woman. And even though she had died when Grandpa was only five, it made Kara feel good to know he still remembered his mother.
Aunt Peg lived in a retirement community just outside of Phoenix. Her small, adobe-style bungalow would have fit snugly into the downstairs part of their ranch house in Lariat. Kara carried her suitcase into the closet-sized bedroom she would share with Ryan. Dad would bunk in with Grandpa.
Kara was secretly glad they were staying only a few days. The walled community teamed with people and cars, and even included a busy shopping center. Around the outside walls the desert spread dry and barren in three directions, while on the other side a four-lane highway separated the compound from the bustling city of Phoenix
Between Ryan's tossing and turning and the roar of traffic, Kara was awake most of the first night. She drifted off to sleep around 2
and awoke to the delicious aromas of coffee, roasting turkey, and hot apple pie. Ryan's side of the bed was empty. She showered quickly, pulled on shorts and a T-shirt, and hurried downstairs.
“Whoa, that smells good, Aunt Peg. Need some help?”
Her father's sister beamed as she set the apple pie next to the pumpkin pies on the countertop to cool, then turned and held out her arms. “Oh, Wakara. Come give us a hug. I can't believe it's been over a year. Your mother would have our hides, God bless her.”