Tre’s been asking me if he can help out more.
“Sure! You can take out the trash!”
“Uh. That’s not what I mean,” he replied. “I’m thinking, you know, counselor work.”
“Well, you can help Waikiki write her puppet show.”
“Uh. Not exactly.”
I rattled off a dozen things: teaching the kids water slide tricks, working on the tree house, cleaning camp, planting a garden, and more. Still no takers.
“You could do the shopping for us in town?” I said at last, trying to think of everything.
“Bingo!” said Tre.
“Great! Why don’t you take some of the kids with you, so they can see the sights?”
Waikiki, Hahon, and Cadence were all busy working on the puppet show.
That left Blake and Gerald.
I handed Tre the shopping list, and the most important thing on the list I wrote on the bottom with a big purple marking pen: Have fun!
When Tre and the boys got home, I asked Tre how it had gone.
“Cool,” he said. “They make great coffee in the city.”
I asked Blake and Gerald what they most enjoyed about the outing.
“The cat videos,” said Blake. Gerald nodded.
“They got good Wi-Fi,” said Blake.
Camp is nearly over. I thought back to the first day, when the kids were just arriving.
Gerald’s mom had seemed so worried when she dropped him off.
“You sure you’ve done this before?” she asked.
She had put on a brave smile for her son. But that first day, Gerald seemed so nervous.
“It’s only six weeks,” she told him. “That’s nothing, right, son?”
I tried to busy myself trimming the flowers during their goodbye.
“You’ll have a great time. And… you can always call, if you need to,” she said.
At last, she gave him a hug goodbye.
“Want some ice cream?” I asked Gerald. But he wouldn’t say a word to me. He just ran straight inside.
I chatted with his mom for a few minutes, assuring her that her son would be fine. After she left, I went to find Gerald to make sure he had settled in.
I found him talking with Hahon.
“Camp’s the greatest,” Hahon was saying. “We’re gonna find waterfalls and play chess and play pirates. You’ll see! It’ll be super!”
But Gerald didn’t look like he was expecting a fun summer.
And now, six weeks later, Gerald has seven new friends and loads of confidence.
On our last day, we took a trip to the island.
Blake asked if it were true that pirates really had settled here, burying treasure and living out at the Bluffs, and did the sea monster really protect the loot that lay buried in the Spanish Armada off the coast?
Joel hadn’t heard that.
“It’s what Gerald says,” said Blake.
We traipsed down to the beach. If there were one place where we could find buried treasure, that was the place!
Before we started digging, Gerald spoke up.
“I–uh–I sort of made that up,” he said. “About the treasure? I read it in a book, but not a book that happened here, so I. I just invented it.”
“Well, Gerald,” I said, “That’s one of the greatest inventions of a story I’ve heard! And so realistic that you had us all going! Have you ever considered a career as an author?”
“You think?” said Gerald. “Would people really read books I wrote?”
“I would,” said Hahon.
Waikiki wasn’t so impressed.
“It’s a long way to come for a wild goose chase,” she said.
“I mean, I gave up puppet show rehearsal to come all the way out here. And now you’re telling me there’s not even any treasure?”
“There could be treasure,” said Tre, pulling out his phone.
He and Joel searched the web to see what reports they could find of ancient ship wrecks off the coast of Windenburg.
“You guys come up with anything?” I asked.
“Oh, I think so!” said Joel.
“You finding what I’m finding?” asked Tre.
“Yeah! Says here there’s a great little restaurant on the island. Serves the best fish and chips anywhere! Now if that isn’t treasure, I don’t know what is!”