18, No Time to Waste

Chapter Twelve

   "GUESS WHAT?" KATHI ANNOUNCED. "I asked for two weeks off at work and I can have it. I'm going to Lake Shasta with you and then the following week to Missions Camp."

   We had made reservations at beautiful Lake Shasta in Northern California for our vacation. Our friends, Roy and Betty Ramsey, ran Holiday Harbor there, and we were going to spend the last week of August at the lake.

   "There's only one thing," Kathi was thoughtful. "I have to be back Thursday night. It's the big East-West game and my last night to cheer."

   "But, Kathi, we weren't planning on coming back until Sunday. Lake Shasta is twelve hours away."

   "Then I'll take a bus back on Wednesday night. I want to go with you and dad. I want to sit under a tree and just study God's Word."

   I called the bus station and found it would take quite a bit of maneuvering to get her back home, but Kathi was sure. She was going to the lake with us, and she was going to cheer at the game. John Wallis and all her friends from Cleveland High School would be there. It was going to be a big night!

   Friday evening when I began to run a temperature, I knew our vacation would have to be rescheduled for the following week. I was disappointed, as I had looked forward to sharing the week with Kathi.

   "I'm so sorry I got sick, honey," I told her. She sat down on the couch with me and bit her lower lip.

   "What shall I do with a whole week off," she asked. Suddenly her face brightened. "I know. I'll take the boys camping on the beach."

   "Are you sure?" The thought of such an adventure for myself, at any age, would have been unthinkable. But not Kathi!

   "Why not?" she bounced up. "We'll leave right after church tomorrow and be back Thursday."

   I was apprehensive, but Kathi was sure. She could do it.

   "Well, all right then, but I'll keep Danny home. You and Rich and Dave and go, if you promise to call each day at four."

   "I will. I will," Kathi promised.

   All that Saturday Vern searched frantically for a car for Kathi to drive to camp the following week. Finally he found a red Mustang and made an offer.

   "He'll call me if he accepts," Vern told an anxious Kathi when he got home.

   He packed our Impala with all the tenting equipment, while Kathi and the boys ran excitedly up and down stairs carrying things — ice chest, boxes of food, suitcases, and flashlights.

   Sunday off they went to rough it — my do-anything, dare-anything daughter with her two younger brothers. That afternoon at four the phone rang.

   "We're all set up, mom," Kathi said, "Don't worry. There're millions of people here and we're having a blast."

   They swam all day, cooked outdoors — with nothing coming out right — and at night by the lantern light, Kathi would read to them from Living Letters.

   "Now do you guys get that? Do you understand? You're getting older, and you should know what it means to be a Christian."

   The boys would nod. Kathi had always been their pal when they were little, and now she was a little girl again — playing Monopoly with them, giggling when they woke up all huddled together, running on the beach with them . . . . Those were days they would never forget.

   When the phone rang on Monday night and the owner of the red Mustang told Vern he would accept his offer, we were as excited as we knew Kathi would be. Vern spent the next day buying new tires, getting insurance, and financing it for her. I could hardly wait for four o'clock to roll around on Tuesday.

   "Guess what's in the driveway?"

   "Not the Mustang?" I was unprepared for the scream in my ear.

   "Yes, all yours."

   Needless to say, they didn't stay another day.

   That night as Vern, Danny, and I sat down to dinner, in walked three dirty, tired, sun-soaked kids.

   "I can't wait to turn that corner," Kathi had told her brothers, "and see that red car. Man, the folks are really cool."

   A heavy compliment from a teen-ager!

   Kathi ate her chicken, sitting on the edge of her chair. She just had to be off to show her friends her new car, pulling them out of their houses to "see what I got." Playing the stereo tapes as loud as they would go, she found Sharon and Felicia and off they went.

   We didn't see her again until Thursday when she dashed home to get her cheerleading gear, scrambling through her closet for her sweater. She pulled on her short red and white cheerleading skirt, grabbed her pompons, and started for the door.

   "Just a minute," I called, reaching for my Instamatic. "Stand right there and give me a good cheer. This is your last night as a cheerleader, and I want a good picture of you."

   She kicked her leg high into the air, lifted her pompon, gave me a broad smile — I had a picture I shall always cherish!

Table of Contents || Chapter Thirteen