Stories for Children
(Based on the Bible)
By Kathleen Donavan
Chapter Nine - Freddie is Missing!
Linda noticed her grandmother and Mom walking together in the park where she and her friends were busy looking for Freddie, her Tabby cat who had followed Linda to the park earlier in the morning. She ran and called out to her Mimi to wait up. Mimi was a name that got started a long time ago with some of her older cousins and all her grandchildren called their grandmother that name for some reason unknown to Linda, but she didn't have time to ponder the question right now, she was almost frantic that Freddie wondered off and she couldn't find him!
“Mimi, have you seen Freddie anywhere?” She asked, as she approached her grandmother, who could see that Linda was very upset.
“Yes, I saw him near the sandbox about an hour ago when I went outside to get the mail”, she said.
“Well, I've been calling him about that long and he doesn't come, this is just not like Freddie. I told Andy to be sure and close the patio door each time he goes out because Freddie is suppose to be inside for a few days.”
Andy was her five year old cousin that came with Mimi from Columbus earlier in the week and he was a nuisance to Linda, which is the most complimentary thing she thought she could possibly bring herself to think about him. If he had let Freddie out she was going to ask Mimi to never bring him with her again, Linda thought.
“Let's walk around together and see if we can spot him anywhere,” Mimi suggested. So Linda fell into step with her and they continued walking and searching for Freddie all around the park. After some time had passed, they began to realize the chances of finding him were less and less because it was beginning to grow dark outside. Mimi urged Linda to go home for the night and ask the rest of the family what could be done to find him.
When they got to the patio door it was closed and Linda began to think that maybe Freddie had come back home and someone had let him inside. She went inside and began calling him as she walked through the house, opening doors and looking behind furniture. After they searched the house thoroughly, Linda turned the outside lights all on and set on the front door steps waiting for Freddie to come home. Mimi went back into the kitchen to answer the phone.
After the family had eaten dinner that night, and listened to the story about Freddie being lost. Everyone was sad, especially Linda.
“I am thinking of making posters to put up over the community offering a reward for the safe return of Freddie,” Tim stated.
Everyone thought Tim's idea was a very good one and begin to make plans for the posters. They thought of making the posters from computer paper so many could be printed out at once, but Mimi thought the better choice would be painting on pieces of hard cardboard and covering each painting with clear plastic wrap to protect the posters from bad weather.
They all agreed that was the better way and each one gathered materials to paint the signs.
Tim brought in copies of Freddie's photograph that he made on the computer and each sign had a beautiful colored picture of Freddie.
There was some discussion about the amount of the reward to offer but it was decided to leave the amount out of the poster and to reward depending on the difficulty involved in returning Freddie. Linda's Dad said he would give the reward for Freddie.
After all the posters were finished and laid in a stack, they all went to bed ready to get up early the next morning and attach the posters to key places in the community.
After breakfast Linda was anxious to get out and about with her posters. Since it was Memorial Day, nobody had to go to work, so the whole family was to go, which included, Tim, Linda, Mom, Dad, Mimi, and Andy, the peach headed cousin. Andy was still sitting there looking at his cereal after everybody else was ready to go.
“Why can't he just eat when we get back”?, Linda asked in an exasperated tone.
“Linda with all the help you have, we can let the little guy eat, can't we? Tim retorted.
“Well, it's probably his fault that Freddie got out anyway, he never closes the patio door well!”
Dad looked at Linda with his face all disappointed and said in a very quiet voice,
“Linda, lets don't get carried away now, Andy is a welcomed quest in our home and we are mighty glad that he is here. We don't know how Freddie got out but it sure is good that we have Andy to help us look for him.”
Linda thought to herself, but didn't say it out loud, that Dad would be polite to anybody, no matter how much trouble they caused. She sat on the window seat and wondered how far Freddie could go while they all stood around begging the kid to eat!
Finally, Linda was relieved to see Andy getting his little pink cheeks washed by Mimi, while Mom washed the last cereal bowl off and started the dishwasher. She watched as Andy little arm was pulled through the sleeve of his Disney World sweater, and Tim opened the door for all to leave.
They all got in the Blazer and road to the square that was close to the park, and each one took posters into different businesses and asked permission to put one up. Minyards grocery store had a bulletin board for public notices, but Mr. Meadow at the drug store let them tape Freddie's poster in the window. They were able to leave one at the beauty shop, the hardware store, and in Dr. Lazenby's window. Linda thought that Freddie might not even be uptown. He could have been taken by someone coming through who didn't really care if Freddie wanted to leave with them or not. She was feeling worse and worse about losing her beautiful Tabby cat.
Tim suggested they go back through the park and see if anyone there had seen Freddie. They asked everybody they saw but nobody had seen any cat except one back and white cat who was there just a minute ago.
As they crossed the rock bridge over the creek, Andy stopped very still and Mimi stopped with him to see what was holding him up.
“I think I hear a kitten,” Andy said, “and, I think he is under the bridge”, he called out as he ran beneath the bridge pulling his grandmother hand to bring her along behind him.
“I hear him, too,” Linda said, as she followed. Soon the whole family was beneath the bridge and Tim was looking inside a small culvert, and Linda was asking, “Is it Freddie? Can you get him out? Is he all right?”
“I can't see too well, it's dark in there.”
“Keep your hand back, we don't know what is in there, just wait until I get the flash light out of the car,” Dad said, as he ran up the creek bank.
“Freddie, is that you, we're going to get you out soon, don't worry boy,” Linda said as she tried to comfort the kitten she just knew had to be Freddie.
Dad was back with the light and the first aid kit , and Tim took the light and shinned it inside the black space.
“His foot is caught in something, I think it is a wire that must have washed in there and got caught in some sticks.”
Dad said, “You hold the light Tim, and let me see if I can reach him”
First Dad tried to reach Freddie, and then Tim, and Linda tried too, but nobody could get their arm in far enough. They were all stumped about how they were going to rescue their Tabby cat.
Finally, Andy started crawling into the culvert and every one was warning him of the danger of the drain pipe.
“You don't know what might have been washed through there, come on out, Andy” Mom was saying. but it was too late. Andy had already reached Freddie and was unwrapping the wire from his foot. Andy was talking softly to Freddie and rubbing his head for just a second before he crawled out of the black hole with Linda's Tabby cat.
Linda took Freddie very gently from Andy's little hands and tears were running down her face.
“Oh, Andy, thank you, thank you.!” She exclaimed.
Andy took his new Disney World sweater off and gave it to Linda to wrap around Freddie to keep him warm until they could get him home and examine him to see if he needed a vet.
On the way home they wondered why they did not hear Freddie when they crossed the bridge yesterday. They had called him but didn't hear one little meow out of him.
“I remember the ice cream wagon was near the bridge with the music playing when we crossed the bridge,” Linda's grandmother, Mimi said. “We couldn't hear him above the music!”
After Linda bathed Freddie and Mimi bathed Andy, they all took a break beneath the Oak tree in the warm May sun.
Linda sat on the grass beside Andy and hugged him up close to her.
“I'm so sorry for being impatient with you Andy, because you are a very kind and loving peach headed cousin. It took a brave person to crawl into that dirty wet pipe to rescue my cat, especially for somebody like me because I have been very grumpy and self serving.”
“I didn't mind a bit,” Andy said, “He's about the prettiest cat I've ever seen.”
“We agree on that, Andy, look how his fur shines in the sunlight”
“Yeah, it sure does”
Mimi told them the story about a shepherd having one hundred sheep. He left the ninty-nine that were in a safe place and went to look for the lost sheep. He didn't rest until he found his precious lost sheep because he loved it very much. She said that Freddie was a precious family pet and loved by everybody in the family and Linda was like his shepherd because she has taken care of him since he was just a baby. Linda couldn't rest until she found her “sheep” who was lost. Mimi said that the shepherd in her story is referring to Jesus Christ and the sheep are all of His followers. He keeps them all safe but if one wanders off somewhere and can't find it's way back into the sheep fold, then Jesus, who is the Good Shepherd, always searches for that person it until He brings her/him back and tends the wounds. That's the way love works,” she said.
“Where did you read that story, Mimi? “ Andy asked.
“ It's in the New Testament of the Bible. You can find it the New Adventure Children's Bible in the book of Matthew chapter 18 verses 10-13. Jesus said that He is happier about getting his lost sheep back, than He is about the ninety-nine who did not wander off.
“Why is that so, wouldn't he care about all the others sheep, too?”
“Of course, He cares for them but they did not wander away and stand in danger of never returning to Him. The ones that stayed with Him were safe all the while.”
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