CREEEACK CRAAACCK! CREEEACK CRAAACCK!...... CREEEACK CRAAACCK! …there it is again, CREEEACK CRAAACCK!..... CREEEACK CRAAACCK! …that dreadful noise, CREEEACK CRAAACCK! and whatever can it be ponders The Maiden Fair as she bolts upright from her bed while in the other room opposite the door from her oh so private and oh so warm and comfortably cozy smallest of bedrooms she can hear suddenly too that The Lad has awakened from his bed made up upon the sofa in the livng room…. CREEEACK CRAAACCK! CREEEACK CRAAACCK! …and from outdoors in the little shed converted into the smallest of barns with plenty of warm hay can the Baaaas!!! suddenly be heard. Just on the other side of the wall of her room The Maiden Fair is given to hear The Captain Brave and True bellow out… It is only the ice cracking on the lakes…SpringTime has finally arrived… Now go back to sleep. What's the matter, what with all the commotion going on 'round here I am given to think you folks have never encountered a SpringTime before and its season of thawing……

To Be Continued…

With those comments The Maiden Fair was given to smile. This bit of a gruffness was so unlike the gentle manner she had come to know personally of The Captain Brave and True and she knew it was that so many were the thots on his mind. For with SpringTime coming and now with the waters apparently breaking up she knew he so desired to get all of the last of the Ship's overhaul of the motor done and to be readied for a new season of Shipping, making journey from Port to Port, maintaining business and once again simply to be upon The Waters Great. Only moments had passed and it seemed The Captain had drifted off into sweet slumber…but….as far as that those dreadful sounds out on the frozen waters, well, they continued and as they did the Baaaa!! Baaaaas!!! of the Woolies went on and on till at long last the Lad rustled himself together and soon the faint sound of the door quietly closing to the outdoors could be heard. Yes, trust the Lad to go and care for his prized Woolies thot The Maiden Fair.

The Maiden Fair made every attempt to get herself back to sleep but after a few more moments of lying uneasily she rather got up, placing her robe on and going out to the main room. The room seemed all the more so quiet what with the noises of the outdoors penetrating all through the little cabin not far from the seashore…. Though she could tell from the sounds of things that The Lad must have certainly given his Woolies to know that all was well for no longer their shrieking Baaas!! could be heard.

Hmmm thot Maiden, The Lad will be quite chilled through she imagined when he makes return and with that she going over and taking a couple of the smaller of the logs of the hearth, placing them upon the rack in the fireplace and lighting them aglow with all too soon the rich scents of the smoky woodiness filling the air, giving a rustic homey feel of comfort.

By the time The Lad had returned the fire was brilliantly aglow and the room so warm. The Maiden Fair sitting quietly at the kitchen table sipping on a cup of relaxing and so refreshing orange spiced tea with the heirloom quilt draped across her shoulders as with pen in hand and her journal resting atop the table she read of her notes from… could it be just a few short months earlier when this little team had all banded together and made quite the adventure… she simply had to smile…they had been through so much together…ahhh yes, together they had remained.

To Be Continued…

from her notes she read these words that previously she had penned so lovingly in her journal…. while taking first a few moments, pondering, giving thot, as The Lad was already snoozing and breathing deeply, already sleep coming upon his tender life once again… she in the far distance hearing first early morning chirps of birds as upon branches bare awaiting for the budding forth of new leaves and blossoms…Winter had seemed so long a time of passage and yet really was it just in months nine since she first came to know of the deep and abiding faithfulness of her dear friend, The Captain Brave and True…

How puzzling it seemed that how a Winter of months three could seems so long and yet they were contained within a time that it takes for birth a new to be brought forth…just nine months and life a new had transpired. The Maiden Fair realizing that change deep within had happened within her life as she had known it and in its entirety, reaching to the very depths of her being and of her soul… Rescued had she been at a time from a drowning sure and set upon shores so peaceful to her spirit….

To Be Continued…

Such a lovely time in this the Nowness of Time for it was SpringTime and it was being experienced as never quite before…those echoing sounds of the ice breaking. They were both somehow Breath Takingly as well as Life Sustainingly beautiful. Going to the stove, reaching for the tea kettle and pouring more of the heated water over the fragrant tea, taking journal in hand and finding these words of a previously time in passing penned….

The Maiden Fair pulling her scarf a little tighter, turning from the mountains yet in a distance, shrouded still by lingering night as morning was just beginning to awaken and heading back into the little church where already some of those in attendance in the service of the evening before were pouring into the yard with arms filled, bringing in foods that scent tickled all their noses, awakening even at long last the Twins. The Lad had taken his Woolies into the yard and placed them into the life boat. He too was now at a comfort level where he could spread the hay into the boat, give to them feed and looping a gentle rope from them to the near by tree and then he taking leave and going towards The Maiden Fair. "Oh Lady! Isn't this morning absolutely splendid?" he asked, with The Maiden tussling his hair and giving reply, "Splendid indeed I should say!" she said to him as into the side door they entered just as they had the evening before.

There was also a side door leading from the inside the church sanctuary where The Captain Brave and True, The Maiden Fair, Lad, Cook, Gregoras and Twins had spent the night leading to the dinning/kitchen area of the church, a fellowship hall they called it. Already the ladies of the church were setting the tables while a few of the men of the congregation along with The Minister Noe, The Deacon Stratton and his son-in-law Jake were talking of how best to go about in the Rescue of The Zephyr Splendour. The Captain entering with Deacon Stratton rising, walking towards him with hand outstretched and introducing him to his son-in-law Jake who owned the ice cutting boat.

Cook somehow felt his duty as towards the kitchen he went. "Ahhh Ladies," he said, "So good indeed to be in a kitchen once again!" With the ladies giving him to know he was to sit down and feel right at home… "Well, if you REALLY want me to feel at home then allow for me to help in the breakfast preparation and seems most the work already done so hmmm don't mind if the company of all you ladies I am given to enjoy," he said with a bit of good natured teasing in his voice so filled with cheer. His daughter Sandy about that time arriving and rushing up to him, giving him another long welcoming embrace. "Given how I couldn't talk you into coming home with me last night," Sandy began to say and Cook saying, "No, my place was yet with our Crew and besides now I can say I've camped in a church… hmmm, all the camping I've done in Ports the world over and here on coming home to you I found rest in a sanctuary. Thanks sweetie for understanding I needed yet another night with the ones for so long I have journeyed with."

Meanwhile Gregoras was heading out the main door towards the tree whereby the Woolies were munching contently their morning meal to light up his pipe with the smoke soon filling the morning air as warming sun rays of new morning were just peering out.

In a distance The Twins were just now making the circle from down the road where they had gone off together in a morning jog. Gregoras silently took it all in. He couldn't help but to marvel at the behavior of The Twins and thinking, "Man! What a lot we all are," as he chuckled to himself. About that time The Twins entered the church yard and together the three fellows went into the dining area where fresh hot cups of coffee awaited their arrival as plates were being heaped with the warming goodness prepared by loving hands.

To Be Continued…

It was decided that Cook would not make the journey from shore with the ice cutting boat crew as well as The Captain Brave and True, rather he would set about to settling in with his daughter for over the winter time break. It would be Springtime when he and The Captain would meet up to set sail once again. Besides there was no food left except for the close to 950 pounds of unpopped popcorn kernels that yet remained in the galley for him to make meals on The Zephyr Splendour so in reality his services for this trip were not needed. The Lad and Woolies would also remain on shore as well as The Maiden Fair, but as for the others they would be making the trip to bring in The Zephyr Splendour. Cook handed the boxes of camping cups n- plates to The Twins as well as the popcorn popper, camp coffee pot and the like saying, "Make sure these are placed in the kitchen. Just leave them on the counter area and I will attend to them later on before the new shipping season takes place. Fellows, I sure did enjoy our days we spent and more so those last few weeks of the most pleasant evenings, discovered something in those weeks not known all summer and that being you fellows are really taken to song. Perhaps you might you set sail again with us. Don't know how we would have made it in to safety without your brawn. You fellows really came through for us." The Twins were so taken with the show of appreciation that together they grabbed onto Cook saying, "Ahh, but it was our lives saved on that ship, saved from the restless carelessness that we had been existing in…. and who knows perhaps we shall all be given to set sail once again. You know we are going to be staying in that same town just around the bend from here where The Captain has his small cabin," they made reply. "Though you know I wouldn't mind staying here," made reply of one of the Twins. "Say?" said the other Twin. "Well, this church I've already taking a liking to. Good music is not always easy to come by." With the other replying, "Tis true and hmmm Cook, maybe we shall meet sooner than expected." with The first Twin going on to say, "You know here too in this Harbour Port Town we are considered heroes of sorts and I could get real used to being treated like a hero," with brother replying, "Yeah, 'tis true brother for in that other Town the folks there know us rather as drunken wasted worthless has beens."

Sandy was just coming from the side door of the church with a few baskets filled with sandwiches and hot thermoses of soup for the members of the ice breaking crew to take along with them. They considered and thot that if all were to go in their favor then by late night or perhaps by noon the next day they would all be coming back into the Harbour Port shore line and docking at the main docks.

There was a gentleman of the church, A mister Jacobs who was more so the custodian of the church and had agreed to keep the side door unlocked so as The Lady and Lad could come and go as they pleased, using the kitchen at their leisure while in between taking in a bit of the local Harbour Port Town. The Woolies safe and secure, making the life boat their temporary shelter. Cook had decided to remain in Town for the day, keeping The Maiden Fair and Lad company as Sandy had a job in town working as manager of some local rental units. It would be on her way back home tucked away in the side of the Mountain that her Dad, The Cook, would be joining her but for now as the ice breaking up crew along with The Captain Brave and True, Gregoras and The Twins were setting out these words echoed resounding through the Harbour Port Town and filling the mountainous region. "Zephyr Splendour here we come!" as the words were shouted by The Captain Brave and True and "Ahhh can't hardly wait. Jake, take us away!"

So it was on a wintery cold new dawn of a Monday morning, the day after Christmas, as a cold steady wind was blowing in off the frozen ice of the Waters Great that the ice breaking boat set out in the slowest of fashion and working up only slightly in speed as the ice gave way in front of them, chopping and breaking the ice making for the pathway in which they were to follow. It would be a slow ride out but spirits were high and Sandy had double checked with Jake before they left making sure their radios were all in working order. She knew just as she had been concerned about her Dad, the Cook of The Zephyr Splendour, that so too was he yet deeply concerned as was The Maiden Fair who so did not treasure theses moments as The Captain was parting. Although the ice breaking boat was only a few feet from shore yet still The Maiden felt an empty ache for the Captain in the very depth of her and longed for his return. She had not realized till now how dependant she had become on him and relied on his being there in her life. It wasn't that they visited so much while on board… it was just rather in his presence, in her knowing he was simply there. He had made a difference in her life…. "Oh hurry please return to me," she silently breathed and then it was that The Laughing Seagull, his mate and winglets three were noted, soaring high on outstretched wings in flight gracing the air and a sweet peacefulness providing…

To Be Continued…

The Maiden staying on shore till at long last as the ice breaking boat slipped from view and way out on the frozen waters had met with the horizon when Cook said, "Let's take a stroll through Harbour Port Town what do ya say Missy?" and Maiden replying, "Why certainly!" The Main Street of Town went on for a couple of blocks and several were the little shops of interest. They came upon a little store that was somewhat Country in feel. Antiques lined the walls and the folks running the place were friendly enough. All of a sudden The Maiden Fair stopped in her tracks when noting various brands of popcorn and giving a tug on Cook's sleeve saying, "I'm going to purchase a bag of popcorn kernels for The Captain as a Welcome to shore gift," she said giggling all over. "Missy! You are not really gonna do that are you… why I do believe you are," Cook said with a twinkle, "and look over there, one of them new fangled air popcorn poppers. Think I will get one of those for The Captain." He said with a grin. "Can't have too many pop corn poppers you understand Missy." "Well, you know that is definitely right," replied The Maiden Fair. So together Cook and Maiden bought and put together a surprise package for the soon to return Captain. Soon it was that The Lad had found them and when discovering what they were up to said, "That Maple syrup we had when butter was scarce sure was mighty fine, lets get some for The Captain and you know how a health fanatic he is and well, food stuffs that grow on trees like apples and cherries and oranges are good for you so you just know that this syrup stuff is REALLY good for you 'cause it grows inside the very heart of the tree trunks." So it was that Maple syrup became apart of the "We Care About You Package."

It was after just a bit more shopping when Cook, The Lad and Maiden Fair ventured on back to the church with The Lad going over and attending his Woolies, spreading more hay for them in the shelter of the life boat while Cook and The Maiden Fair went on into the side of the church and sat down to rest a bit at one of the dinning tables. Mr. Jacobs on hearing them enter came over to where they were seated and gave them to know that he had some fresh homemade vegetable soup on simmering. "Just help yourselves and there is some fresh home made bread made up by one of the ladies, it just there on the counter. Take what you want and here I will go now and set the tea kettle on. You just don't know how pleased we all are that you folks made it safely in!"

The soup was just being ladled up as The Lad breezed in with cheeks reddened from being wind blown. He was smiling all over. "Those Woolies!" he exclaimed, "I can't get over how fine they are all dressed up in their little jackets and matching scarves to boot." Upon hearing The Lad speak of his Woolies Mr. Jacobs went into the kitchen and returning with some bowls of the soup, "Here Lad, feed thy Sheep!" so as soon as he finished his meal the Lad was off to feed his sheep. Baaa! Baaa!

"Missy if you don't mind I thot I might go over to the rental units to the office where my daughter works. You could come along with me if you want," said of Cook with The Maiden replying, "You go along and don't mind if I stay here. Think I might just go sit in the sanctuary if it is alright Mr. Jacobs and just kinda relax and wait for the Captain to return." Mr. Jacobs speaking up as he was sipping on some of the warm tea, "That is quite fine Missy. You can rest in the sanctuary all you like. I have some finishing up work to do in one of the classrooms so if you need anything just give a holler. Make yourself feel right at home." Cook then turning to Missy and saying, "I will take the Lad along with me. It will give you time to really relax without having the concerns of The Lad on your mind." The Maiden at that comment simply smiling.

Entering into the sanctuary through the side door from the fellowship hall and breathing in the silence. The Maiden Fair had not been in the sanctuary during daylight hours for their entry the night before was well after sunset with candles in scones on the walls giving light and she had left the sanctuary before even light of that morning's new dawn to take a walk… Now it was in mid afternoon so quiet with no other sounds of anyone. Her breathing seemed almost loud for the sanctuary was so silent… the pews of last night, filled to capacity, now emptied….

To Be Continued…

Meanwhile out on the frozen Waters Great the ice breaking boat was steadily making headway. Hour after hour they ploughed on and on… Came to be about the noon hour and the baskets with food stuffs were delved into. Ahh so good indeed and filling the piled high deli type sandwiches. The soup was hot and to their surprise home made pies were there to be found and devoured. The Captain taking note of the special melody that only The Maiden Fair's seagull could make tossed a bit of the food stuffs out…The Laughing Seagull dived and swooped and flew, tipping his wings and merrily laughing while beckoning his mate and winglets three to come and dine. Before too long a time a radio call came in. It was Cook. "Captain! It is absolutely the greatest thing to just listen to that sea weathered voice of yours. How goes…anywhere near The Zephyr Splendour yet?" with The Captain making reply, "Well, we've gone well past The Isle of The Whispering Oaks and gone by a few of the places too where remains of some of our fires we started to keep ourselves warmed while enroute to The Harbour Port Town remains even yet, well more so as soot patches on the snow, yet still our markings of those campfires are leading us onward… should reach The Zephyr within the hour. As long as this clear weather holds we should make it back by tonight. Tell Maiden Fair her pet seagulls are here with me and I've just finished feeding them for her." With Cook making reply, "You know I will tell her and not to give anything away but she has a bit of a surprise here waiting for you. I know she misses you terribly but her and Lad here are all doing fine and Oh here Lad wants to speak to you." With that the radio speaker handed to Lad. "Captain! Oy! I miss you and so do the Woolies. They look so sheepish when you are not around. Also just so you know, what you are getting is… is .. er ummm… is real healthy!" at that the Captain simply saying, "Hmmmmm," questionly.

Inside the sanctuary The Maiden Fair was quietly walking over to the pew that the night before she had sat in during the service. The church was fairly old with the pews made of richly carved woods of oaken strength and durability and yet somewhat modernized by having the long pews fabric cushioned covered. The Minister Noe was correct in that they had found rest overnite as they camped in the church. What with the hour being so late last night it became an ideal place to simply remain… As The Maiden strode to where she comfort rest had found in the night, there too she found the heirloom quilt and her cherished basket just as she had left them before her early morning walk into the great outdoors.

Thots of the Maiden turned to The Captain Brave and True and silently she breathed a prayer that they all were safe… glancing about she noticed beside the hymnals there was too Bibles placed in the book racks in back of each pew. Goodness she thot, how long had it been since she had a Bible in her hands as lovingly she picked the one in front of her up. The pages were rice thin and made kind of a crinkling sound when turned. The gold on the edges worn thin from years and years of handling with pages loosened from all the use. She thot of the verse that always came to mind, "…whatsoever is lovely…Think on these things," and turning to the concordance of the Bible, searching for the word, "Think," and finding, Yes I remember now she thot as she noted the cherished verse was in Philippians chapter 4 and verse 8, as she hunted for it and finding it she read, " Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Then with time on her hands she returned to the concordance now searching for words like "breeze" and there were none. Hmmm she then thot of the word, "wind" and finding this verse, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit" located in John 3:8 and with these passages she pondered and gave considerable thot as she tenderly placed the Bible back into the rack in which she had found it. Unfolding the quilt she wrapped it about her as she allowed her shoes to slip quietly from her feet and drawing them up and tucking them under her while leaning on the end like arm rest of the pew while breathing in the stillness as she listened to the wind and hearing the sound thereof it she drifted off into restful slumber.

To Be Continued…

Meanwhile out on the frozen waters great the ice breaking boat was just coming upon The Zephyr Splendour. Sunset was still some hours away as they boarded the ship so grand. The Captain Brave and True lovingly caressing the rails of the ship. "Oh how I've missed you!" he exclaimed. The Twins doing as Cook had bidded, placing the boxes of cooking items on the counter of the kitchen then heading back to the main deck.

To Be Continued...

The warmed tea, well, what was left of it, had now grown cold….

hmmmm must have been that somewhere in the reading of the journal The Maiden Fair must have drifted off to sleep…

The door to The Captain's room had been left just a jar, the way he always left it when he was not to be found in the comfort of the little cabin. The sofa bed was all tidied up and no longer in bed form for The Lad had it rearranged back into sofa fashion with a throw pillow at ither end, the way he always left it when his morning chores accomplished.

To Be Continued…

Finding the cabin emptied and discovering a new day had dawned and dawning must have been a couple of hours before for the sounds of the Port Town were giving signal that all must be going on in the usual manner. The Maiden Fair went to the sink, washing her tea cup as well as the few dishes left by the Lad and Captain… with The Maiden Fair first lifting the latch on the window above the sink area, lifting up the storm window that had kept out all of the storming days of Winter's blast and now allowing for the warming SpringTime breeze to filter through the screen…oh such refreshment she thot. The morning work was soon completed and with that the Maiden Fair ventured outdoors, crossing the road and there walking for awhile by the water's edge that still in a frozen state remained only with large gouging cracks separating the ice and making for small seeping of water to flow forth. She hadn't been long by the shore when all of a sudden…SWOOP!...Ahh! Laughing Seagull, your mate and winglets three, she rejoiced in welcoming greeting while taking from a small bag some crumbs of bread as well as a few popped kernels from the last evening's treat of popped corn that she along with The Captain Brave and True as well as The Lad had feast treated upon… Her treasured seagull once again tipped his outstretched wings as a way of giving Thanks for the bounty for himself and family, then with one more SWOOP the seagulls soaring into the heavenlies and in the dazzling light breaking forth from clouds was soon silhouetted and once again taking flight to distant horizon.

Heading back to the little cabin and entering in The Maiden Fair was at first a bit startled by the perfumed scent that was a stir in the air…strange she thot for she was expecting the smokiness yet of the midnight logs aglow on the hearth to still linger in the air giving woodzie welcome….. hmmm she thot, no one had entered while she was at the shore and she had not poured forth any perfumes and yet that…that….that most wonderous scent! What could it possibly be she wondered… Let me think, the only thing different from other mornings was the opening of the window…I wonder…she thot and going back outdoors and around the cabin to the back side she discovered of all things most lovely…why...if there are not the most delicate of floral blooms she thot and so fragrant….Mmmmmmmmmmmm absolutely the best scent and scooping herself to the florals she breathing in deeply and becoming almost faint for being so filled to overflowing with the most intoxicating of perfumed blooms that were of a color lavender, filling as it were a stalk with multiple small flowers all stacked together about three or four inches in height and peering about her she noticing that all along the cabin's foundation were dozens and dozens of these delightful stalks of blooms. The Maiden Fair plucking just a couple of the stalks, bringing them into the cabin and setting them into a vase of water…. Mmmmmmmmm such the treat as over and again she breathed in deeply… The Maiden Fair hardly containing herself for she so desired to speak with The Captain Brave and True on his arrival home from the shipping yard. She just had to discover what these blooms were named and how The Captain had come to have of this delightful treasure that was hiding in his yard.

To Be Continued…

"Ah Lady what is that you are cooking" exclaimed The Lad upon entering the cabin just ahead of The Captain Brave and true after a long hard day's work on The Zephyr Splendour in making the all out effort to set sail before the close of two weeks for quickly the ice was melting and The Captain was so desiring to set sail and the open waters were always giving call to his spirit. This being settled in one place for too lengthy a time was simply not to his pleasure.

"Oh so I take note Maiden Fair that you've been out gathering of the bounty of a SpringTime's harvest," and Lad, 'tis food for the inner beauty that is filled by those florals don't cha know?"

"All I know is this cabin smells so good I could eat it up!" exclaimed The Lad.

With The Maiden Fair giving reply, "I hope you don't mind my taking of the florals of your yard but these are of such lavish the scent…how did you ever happen upon them and what might their name be called?" She questioned of him.

"Well, Lady it is like this, Back several years ago there was this special someone who happened in my life for awhile and she knew she was going on as an illness held her locked and she desired that always I keep a part of my heart in remembrance of the love we shared. So it was in what was later to become known as our last Autumn together though we knew it not at the time..though so ill we knew she was…yet hope there was that a cure would come… well, in those days of Autumn's Harvest we thot of it rather as a SpringTime for this was a time rather of planting of the bulbs of hyacinths...of hoping for some better days come SpringTime the year following… that was now almost a dozen years ago. Each SpringTime as the waters sound forth their splintering cracklings with the water flowing once again and scent of the hyacinths linger pleasantly in the air I am so reminded of her beauty, realizing that soon another shipping season is nearing. Oh how she treasured the waters great."

"Oh Captain, I am sorry," replied The Maiden and going on to say, "Perhaps I ought to have asked first before taking of the florals…I did not realize such the sentimental value these were to you," with her voice trailing off.

The Captain Brave and True making reply, "No, it is well for I know she would be pleased to know that her memory lives and the hyacinths she loved so dearly are being cherished by us now…that her living was not in vain with all being lost and to think, she was so very young a woman, just in her prime."

To Be Continued…

One by one the days went on, continually warming while evenings brought showers of thunderous rainfalls and nights so cool that even though SpringTime had arrived a fire on the hearth was still most welcomed. Then it was one evening by the fire as The Captain Brave and True and Lady Fair were given to pleasant conversation that The Captain spoke how Sandy, The Cook's daughter, had phoned in that day to the shipping yard leaving him a message telling how her Dad was to arrive on the morrow to spend some time in their Harbour Community, stopping by the shipping yard and hoped that he could share in an early dinner at their cabin so as to make it in time back over the bridge that connects their two Harbour Port Towns so as to be able to pick up his daughter from work, given that her had borrowed her car for the day.

"Oh!" squealed Lady Fair in delight "I have so missed my dear Friend Cook. Hmmm now let me think, what to fix up," and at once all of a sudden the little cabin became a place of busy activity as she went to the kitchen cupboards and thinking, thinking, thinking, what to make. "Oh I want for mealtime to be so special. You know Captain, it is Cook who taught me most of what I know about cooking and baking and I want so…"

"Lady, if I didn't know better I would say you have more than a fond place in your heart for my ol'e Friend and Cook," The Captain broke in to say smiling…

"Well, true enough I am very taken with Cook," replied The Maiden Fair and adding, " I remember when I first met him, The Lad was with me and we were scurrying about trying to locate some nourishment to feed his new found woolies and I must admit on first greeting I was so leery of him. He seemed so sullen and not really mean but really on the grumpy order. It took most of the summer in passing and with Autumn coming on and with it the cooler weather to where I became acquainted with Cook on a level of friendliness that grew so deep over just a few weeks in passing what with the preparations for the Holidays and all. Oh and now it has been all Winter and not a word so Yes! I am so excited that we are all to meet up again. Captain, Cook will be sailing with us this season…won't he… and what about the others…?"

Yes, Lady as far as I know unless Cook makes other plans he knows I have a place for him on board ship The Zephyr Splendour and with the others time here within a couple of weeks will tell the story though I have received word that there are a few fellows interested in joining in as crew and their location is yet one Port stop over on the other side, a good couple days of travel. I am still considering and will need to get back word as soon as I know if The Twins will be joining us again. As far as Gregorus, he like Cook knows he is welcomed and we have an unspoken agreement between us that he simply joins in on board ship and his place is firm with me."

The Lad hearing all the talk piped in saying, "Oh I can hardly wait to meet with Gregorus again and show him how far advanced I have come over the Winter in learning to play my flute and besides Captain you realize I am older and stronger…you will consider me one of your regular crew members and not just helper…."

"You mean not just me considering myself a stow-away-keeper," grinned The Captain.

To Be Continued…

So it was that the next day from early morning sun up found The Maiden Fair hustling all about. Though one not to market on a daily basis, rather going more so weekly she didn't wait for her regularly scheduled day of shopping to go into town. There was this new little market that was opening, well, it wasn't so new, rather just now opening for the season. It was located just in front of a green house, and No! not a green house as in color, rather green house, you know one of them houses made of glass where all manner of plants and produce are grown, well anyhow… that green house seemingly went on for miles and oh the newest of produce was in lavish display. There were fresh new potatoes and green beans as well. Yes, that would go lovely with the salmon, a favorite of them all that she would bake…. Then before leaving while nearing the check out she came upon of all delights…some of the most delightful red and sweetened by the sun strawberries. Picking up a couple of pounds of them and then heading back to the dairy case for some whipped cream. All goodness she thot, strawberry shortcake, wouldn't that be such the treat for them all.

It was during the course of the meal when after the time of the shortcake had been served with the coffee being poured for the second time around that The Lad asked to be excused so as to go and check on his Woolies……when all of a sudden he came slamming back into the cabin in such a tear that all was wondering, What ever could be the matter?

"Lad what is?" questioned The Captain in a way most concerned.

"Captain you just ain't gonna believe this one and Lady I am glad you are sitting down for when you hear this…well… I just don't know how you will take all this news…" gave reply of The Lad.

The Cook broke in saying, "Lad, a good many disappointments in life I have known. Come here and tell me what ever has gotten you all in this excited fuss. Why this is so unlike your gentle manner…tell me please Lad, What ever is troubling you…"

"Oh Cook! you better come with me for I don't believe you would trust that what I was saying to be truth for so odd this situation is to me, why never in my life have I came upon such a thing and to think…my Woolies…of all things," with the Lad's voice breaking in two.

To Be Continued…

Well, this was just too much now for the Captain Brave and True and up he rushed with The Lad in tow. The Maiden Fair was just rising to her feet with the most worried look on her brow. It was only after The Lad and The Captain ran out the door that Cook caught Maiden Fair by the arm and in so kind a way saying, "Missy, fear not…for it is only I…well…I hope you don't mind but I was playing a bit of a joke on The Lad…and REALLY everything is o.k. with the Lad's Woolies…this I assure you on my word of honor," and with a mischievous grin he said, "Come on Missy, we don't want to miss all this surprise now do we?"

To Be Continued…

When Cook and Maiden Fair arrived at the little barn they could hear such loud the commotion that was going on just inside of it. The poor dear Lad was heaving in tears. His heart seemed to be broken in two and upon The Maiden Fair's entrance he running to her and grabbing hold as if it seemed to her for dear life he was hanging on. The Maiden taken a brief look at The Captain who was giving a bit of a shrug to his shoulders, not quite knowing what all to make of the situation before them. For it seems that The Lad's most prized and valued Woolies, the ones he had raised from little lambies all these many long months, well, something was happening to them for it seemed they were turning into Bunny Rabbits!! "No!!!!" shrieked The Lad, "This simply can not be happening," he said in so dreadful a voice. "Lady just come over here and notice that sweet Woolies of mine have rabbit skin covering their fleecy backs and fuzzy tails growing and…and...sob…sob...and sob…sniff…sob… of all things the one Woolie already has rabbit ears and I am so afraid but I think already the other little Woolie has started growing rabbit ears to. How absolutely…" and off again into heaving bitter tears the Lad was given to shed. He going on to say in-between tear drops, "These were to be the finest sheep shown at the 4-H Fair and now…. I am afraid no showing them off. Oh dear Woolies I love you," and he running to them and hugging them close. When all of a sudden the rabbit fur came flying off!!!! "What!??!?! Is this," cried the Lad and with that Cook strolling over to The Lad saying, "Well, well, well if the Easter Bunny hasn't already paid you a visit this year. I have heard that in shipping communities that good ol'e Long Ears comes early to Lads and Lassies who have been good, giving sweet surprises." With Lad chiming in, "You call THIS a Sweet Surprise!!" Cook going on to say, "Hmmmmm Lad you do have a point there but over there in the corner, what is in that basket…." The Lad running towards it and of all things, "Treats!" "Yeah! for good ol'e Long Ears," beamed The Captain Brave and True with Maiden Fair trying her best to stifle back from giggling uncontrobably. This was just too much fun! Baaaaaas!!!!! for miles around could be heard in amongst the laughter of that day.

To Be Continued…

It was on early Wednesday morning rising, just before The Captain left for the shipping yard that he turning to The Maiden Fair saying, "Lady, remember now, I am taking off work early this day, at noon, so as we can make the hike over to the other Port Harbour for I do believe it shall be a treat the way Cook has given description of the unveiling of the carved words in stone at the base of The Mountain, you know the Mountain I speak of. It is that one, if I am thinking correctly, about that one you told me about on that early morning, the day after Christmas in the early morning hours when you made a brief hike to just the base of it as dawn was being herald in…. and to think, The Twins received this as a commissioned job," he said wonderingly.

"Yes, it shall be good to get out and meet up with the old crew and the dear Friends that they became to us and this comes totally as a surprise for they never mentioned to me this ability they had to make carvings in stone," replied Maiden Fair.

"Well from what Cook told me, they didn't know they had this talent ither. Seems they were at the Community Center when the Liberian came over to them and noticing their bulky strength, she inquiring if they would be willing to take this job upon themselves as she had received various monies from many of the local businesses as well as from each of the local churches in the area when she told them of her plan. Seems she came across this writing that had on a table of the Library been left at one time in passing a few years ago at the close of a shipping season… and to her it was so fitting a piece to be chiseled into the rocks of the Mountain and given that the Townsfolks had already been in agreement that they desired to make a restful Park setting with benches to sit upon and even in time to place in a fountain with water that cascades…well, they came to agreement that this particular writing that she came across would somehow make a perfect fit. I heard Cook tell it that the way she got all of the churches it seems to comply with this particular writing is in the fact that it speaks to a person, never minding their particular faith…but to each and every person who has taken so much as one step in the search for the Divine, for that of a Higher Power, for that of faith…that it is considered inspirational without giving offence and this is what was so desired what with the Harbour Town having so many guests that frequent the place during the busy tourist season when people from all walks of life and all walks of faith visit. A place where each may be given that to contemplate upon and if so desiring make the hike up the Mountain as well," spoke The Captain.

"Well, know this Captain, that I shall be readied and waiting when you arrive at noon. Am I to pack a picnic lunch?" The Maiden asked.

"No need to pack a lunch for from what I hear the Harbour Town is throwing a Community BBQ and The Twins at a special ceremony will be receiving a plaque for all their best efforts provided," said The Captain.

To Be Continued…

So it was at noon when they along with The Lad took off on foot for the festivities. It really was not all that of a great hike what within less than an hour reaching the bridge connecting the two Harbour Port Towns and then a quick jog over the bridge and once on the other side already the festivities could be heard what with the local High School bands playing merrily away. The Lad jumping up and down in delight when noticing that a ferris wheel had been brought in for the day. Clapping his hands and exclaiming, "This is gonna be so much fun!"

Upon making the walk in The Twins caught sight of them right away and came over to them beaming with the biggest smiles ever! "Oh dear Captain and Lady…you too Lad, so Good of you to come," they exclaimed in unison. Together the small group of them walked over to the shelter to where the picnic tables were located and filling their plates, sat down to enjoy each others company and to hear more of this Mountain carving endeavor. It was soon realized that much to their dismay that The Twins would not be joining in with the Crew come start of the new shipping season as already their work was in demand. Several were commissioned works lined up…they were leaving pro wrestling behind in this new found quest. Besides, to hear them talk, they so enjoyed being thought of as, "The Heroes of The Winter of 2005." "Yes, fellows, don't know how we would have all survived it without your strength of brawn," replied The Captain Brave and True. "We will miss you and realize at the same time that you have gone on to new adventures," made comment of The Maiden Fair.

To Be Continued…

It was not long before the Mayor called all the Townsfolks together along with visiting Friends of the Community to the base of the Mountain for the unveiling as it were with the Liberian giving comment. Seems all this attention and The Twins as much as they gloried in the attention they had been receiving, yet still were taken a bit back as from deep within a quietness came over them. Somehow they recognized in these moments that it was not so much the great labour that they had bestowed as much as it was the significance of the words they had so laboriously carved into place…this was really a solemn moment in passing…and without further a due, these are the words they all gathered came to read upon….

The road is long
Absence of shade
Irreverent captive from choices made
The road is long
The journey more
A thousand leagues till sights of shore
Walk I would this road I am on
And forge ahead till life is gone
Tread I would upon this path I have made
Ever hopeful, searching for that restful shade
The mountain is high
The peak too far
To reach it I must embrace the stars
The mountain is high
The quest never lost
But I will continue to climb
I am heeding the costs
The road is long without respite in sight
Cold and desolate without camp between the lights
The road is long
A thousand miles ahead
Till I see any signs of a restful day
The road is long
The mountain is high
To reach both ends I must embrace the sky
Until then I keep this quest
Till my Saviour comes to guide me to my place of rest.
By: The Ship's Captain K. Xiong

It was after the reading of these words when The Twins came forward and telling of how they desired to share a bit of The Mountain with each one present. Seems they had saved all the chiseled pieces that fell as they worked and for each as a way of remembering this day were to be given a piece of the Mountain…. Everyone was so taken with the thought of this and soon the bands were merrily playing as these pieces of roughened jagged rocks were being distributed.

The Maiden Fair realizing that The Captain Brave and True knew of many of the captains that traveled these local waterways asked did he recognize the name of the one who authored this writing inscribed, this Captain K. Xiong…. With The Captain Brave and True saying, Seems it is that captains are good for more than steering ships," and with that he giving a gentle nudge to Maiden Fair saying, "Lady I don't mean to rush us but I know The Lad here desires so to take in a ride on the ferris wheel, maybe even two…what do you think of that Lad… and then we really do need to start back towards the cabin as morning comes so early and much there is that I desire to finish up for by this weekend I plan on us setting sail once again."

To Be Continued…

It was just last early evening when The Captain Brave and True along with The Lad took of the last bulky items to be aboard ship as scheduled was The Zephyr Splendour to set sail once again within less than 24 hours. They also had placed the finishing touches on the newly build stable to house the Woolies. It was in the same location, only this time with a bit more roofing to keep out the glare of the Summer's sun as well as if this year was in any way to be as last and also keep out the howling blasting snow of an early Winter as it seemed set in though really Winter was not so early, it was just the shipping season has ended so late in the season this last Winter in passing.

It was already early morning, in the hours just before dawn when The Maiden Fair arising from sweet slumber to pack the last of her few remaining items that she would be carrying with her as she boarded ship. There was of course the cherished basket where she lovingly put in place the piece of rock that had been chipped from the base of the mountain as The Twins had faithfully chiseled and carved of the rock formation and then too the folding of the heirloom blanket and placing it with the basket. There was no early morning breakfast to prepare and all chores had been for the main accomplished the night before. It had been agreed that Cook was to make up the breakfast, once sailing commenced, their first meal shared all together aboard ship since that last breakfast they had partook of together in the couple of hours before they had set out on foot across the frozen expanse of the waters great in the days just before Christmas.

So it was in the early morning, still before dawn when the little Harbour Town was still so very quiet, not yet have awoken with stars twinkling in a sky just beginning to turn a dusty peach as sun was about to rise from hiding in back of the mountain in the distance of that Harbour Town just on the other side of the bridge when the Captain closed the door of his little cabin and he along with The Maiden Fair set out for the short walk to where The Zephyr was docked. The Lad following with his Woolies giving out continual Baaaaas! Somehow they considered it way to early to be starting out. Baaaa! Baaaa! Baaaa!!!!!

Soon they all were aboard and promptly the Woolies to their shelter, soon settled into place, were fast asleep and nuzzling contentedly… It wasn't long till the familiar rustling of the breezes were blowing, with the waves of the shoreline suddenly causing waves to lap in whitecaps to the shore what with the ship taking leave of the dock as out into the water depths she plunged.

The Maiden Fair returning after long winter months to her private cabin…and…oh it seemed even lovelier this time around. It was as though returning home. Placing the quilt once again on the back of the rocking chair, sitting the basket by the roll top desk and mercy if The Maiden Fair didn't first go at once to her most prized and treasured stone…the one so smooth. The one she had left on purpose with high hopes of returning. Of finding that not all had been lost but rather…Yes…here they were again and setting sail. Oh it felt so right being back on board The Zephyr Splendour! With that the Maiden Fair going to her basket and placing the chip of a rock from off the massive boulder rocks that The Twins had given her…she thot of The Twins and how so much they had been the "characters' on board and though they would be missed yet she knew they were finding fulfillment for their lives…so now placing the rough chip of a rock beside the stone so polished and realizing it really takes a lot of living for a life to loose the rough and toughened edges…sometimes never attaining this and realizing in the rough areas so too is beauty to be found.

To Be Continued…

While The Maiden Fair was just finishing up getting the last of her personal items in place The Lad gave a slight knock at the door saying, "Lady, Cook says that less than one-half hour till breakfast. I am going now to get my flute as Gregorus must be in the dinning area for I can hear his harmonica playing… Oh I can hardly wait to show him how far I have progressed." With that The Lad was gone and The Maiden Fair went out to the main deck to wait for the call of the breakfast bell. Going to the rail of the ship and feeling the pulsating rhythm of the ship upon the waves, it wasn't long till The Captain Brave and True joined her by her side and placing his arms gently about her in one of the most sweetest and dearest of hugs, whispering in her ear, "I'm glad you are here Lady."

For a few moments they stood there breathing in the peacefulness when all of a sudden they could hear the notes of music floating up from the dinning room downstairs…The Lad had left the door open…and goodness what music there was playing. With the harmonica leading and bit by bit a note or two added by The Lad with his flute, he learning so quickly and following the lead of Gregorus….Why could it be that they were playing a melody that brought so fond the memories to The Maiden Fair… listening she heard the old familiar music of days long, long ago and far, far away and she began to quietly hum along as these words rolled across the memories of time…

Beulah Land
By: Edgar Page and Jno.R. Sweney

O Beulah Land, sweet Beulah Land,
As on thy highest mount I stand,
I look away across the sea,
Where mansions are prepared for me,
And view the shinning glorious shore,
My heav'n, my home for evermore!

v.1: I've reached the land of corn and wine, And all its
riches freely mine; Here shines undimmed one blissful day,
For all my night has passed away.

v.2: My Savior comes and walks with me. And sweet
communion here have we; He gently leads me by the
hand, For this is heaven's border land.

v.3: A sweet perfume upon the breeze Is borne from
eververnal trees, And flow'rs, that never fading grow,
Where streams of life forever flow.

v.4: The zephyrs seem to float to me, Sweet sounds of
heaven's melody, As angels with the white robed throng
Join in the sweet Redemption song.

To Be Continued…

It wasn't too long afterward that Cook's bell was tolling and yet still Gregorus played on with The Lad and his flute now joining in full measure, "The Zephyrs seem to float to me. Sweet sounds of heaven's melody…." Continued to play till at last The Captain Brave and True gently saying, "Come Lady and let us join the others, Come and let us dine…" while in the distance the treasured laughing Seagull, his mate and winglets three soared to the high heavens giving out their own song of gleeful cheer. A new shipping season aboard The Zephyr Splendour had begun.