Ollie-Dare Helps an Old Friend
The Great Forest now was in full bloom. Trees green and fresh, flowers of rainbow colors danced in the sunshine, and the forest creatures were busy enjoying the weather and the beauty. Ollie-Dare was on his way to the river's edge when he heard a voice calling in the distance. As he looked in the direction of the voice, a smile came upon his face. For there in the distance was a vision he had not seen for quite some time. Max the River Boat Pilot was sailing in under the evening winds.
Ollie-Dare called to his friend "Max, welcome, my friend. It is so nice to see you again."
Answering Max said "My friend, you are a sight for these old eyes! How have you been?"
The Boat eased its way onto the shore line, and Ollie-Dare ran to give Max a hand to tie up the tow ropes. After getting his boat secure Max joined Ollie-Dare at the water's edge carrying a huge bundle.
"What have you there, my friend?" asked Ollie-Dare.
"I have brought supplies for all my friends here at The Great Forest. I have books, pretty clothes, and even some imported tea for a bear I know," answered Max laughingly.
Ollie-Dare, smiling, said "Then let us go make some of that tea, and you can tell me of your adventures since I last saw you!" So off the two went to Ollie Dare's cave for tea. As they walked through the forest, Max was greeted by many of his friends....Nibbles called to him from a tree, Shantey the Ground Hog waved from the hill side, and Blossom came running with welcomes. Jimmy the Rabbit could be seen running through the meadows, and Ace and Banjo would no doubt be following shortly.
As they sat and drank Tea...Max began telling Ollie-Dare of his travels, places he had been, and things he had seen. Jimmy, Ace, and Banjo had joined them shortly after they had arrived at the cave, and they listened to the funny, and sometimes scary, adventure that Max had while traveling the river. Max loved the river almost as much as Ollie Dare loved the forest, and Ollie-Dare thought of how different their lives were, yet so much alike. For Max with his boat and the river were like Ollie-Dare with his trees and forest friends.
As the cool evening winds blew across the forest meadows, Max and Ollie-Dare talked into the night. Before retiring, they made plans for a full day on the sun rise.
As the sun began to rise Ollie-Dare and Max were already sitting on the porch drinking tea, and admiring the beauty before them. Golden rays peeking through the forest trees had painted the sky with colors of orange lending the sky a freshness and beauty of a artist brush. Long minutes went by before once again Max spoke. Max's voice, heavy with sadness, caused Ollie-Dare to turn his eyes from the sky to Max.
"Ollie-Dare, my friend, my heart is heavy and I must be honest with you. I did not by chance land upon your river's banks...I chose to. For I have come to speak, of things that lay heavy on my heart," said Max.
Ollie-Dare answered "My friend, speak of what you need to say, I will gladly listen."
"Ollie-Dare, our country is under attack from men far away," said Max "I find my heart heavy with this knowledge."
"I have read of these things Max, and Jimmy brings news back on his travels. I also find this weighing heavy on my heart. I do not understand these things," Ollie-Dare continued, "and I have often thought on them. I hear now that the word "God" is offensive to some here in this land, and this too, I do not understand. We, here in the Great Forest, do not question what has been given to us so freely, we know that there is a higher power for us. Here in the forest you see that we are all family and friends, yet we know that beyond these walls nature has set up a different order. But this order is not a bad one, for animals do what has been given to them to do, they live by the animal instinct . The balance is that all the forest lives and we understand this balance. Man it seems can not get beyond their personal feelings; they use anger and this anger makes them act unnatural I think."
Ollie-Dare spoke on as though his thoughts had been gathering for sometime, "Man should take natures instinct and use it to make better that which is so freely given. However I have read the history books, and I have seen that man is not always wise in their deeds."
Max stood, and walking to the edge of the porch said, "Ollie-Dare I see in my country so much good, so much love. For as Americans we stand tall for our ideas, and our belief that all men should be equal. These ideas founded this nation, and through our God we have become in a short time the Greatest Nation on earth. Our Powers are great, our armies many , yet we have enemies that can not be seen, can not be fought on the battle fields or in rooms filled with powerful men. For now I think our battles are within us, to find the answer within our hearts."
"My friend I find your words to be wise" answered Ollie-Dare," and there are many in this country that feel the same. For the enemy can only take what you give, they can not take from your heart what you have known. For if in your heart there is goodness, understanding, compassion for your fellow man, even if that man is the enemy..then, my friend, what has been will always be. Founded on these principles, with the knowledge of God as the leader through it , shall not that same Nation be held together? Shall not your freedom reign, will not a country such as this become still stronger?"
Max turned to Ollie-Dare and answered "Yes, my wise friend, I know your words are true. Thank you for reminding me that my nation is a Nation of strength. Ollie-Dare we shall celebrate my holiday this year here in the great forest, if that would be ok with you?" asked Max.
"What a wonderful idea" smiled Ollie-Dare, "we shall have a celebration and you, Max, shall show us how!'
Late into the evening of the day Ollie-Dare and Max could be seen sometimes sitting with paper and pen, and sometimes walking even sometimes laughter could be heard throughout the forest and many creatures would smile at its sound. Word had gotten round that Ollie Dare and Max were planning a celebration and all the forest creatures were eager to hear about it. Jimmy the Rabbit had gathered Nibbles the Squirrell, Ace the Coon, Banjo the Fox, and Bloossom the Possum together in the new Great Lodge waiting for Ollie-Dare and Max to enter, then plans were made for the forest celebration.
July 4th came and Max smiled at the sight before him. The Great Lodge was decorated in red, white, and blue ribbons. and Nibbles had sewn a white table cloths for all the tables that lined the wall. Blossom had gathered flowers from her garden and standing at the front was a home made flag that she and Nibbles had managed to make from a picture. Standing looking at the sight before him, Max's heart filled with pride, and thoughts of how great his nation was. One by one the creatures of the forest entered all carrying food, some fresh spring water. In the background Beaver Joe and his sons played their sweet music on homemade instruments, and children ran and laughed as the adults prepared.
Silence came over the great lodge and Max looked to see Ollie-Dare enter with a large book, and walk to the front of the lodge. And as he began to speak, tears filled Max' old eyes, for the words that Ollie-Dare spoke from the book lifted into the air clearly,
"I, Ollie-Dare, Pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God indivisible with liberty and Justice for all."
Then one at a time the creatures came to stand, and with Ollie-Dare's help, they each in return repeated the words that Ollie-Dare had spoken.
Max, so filled with pride of his friends, was the last to go and stand before his friend, turned to look at the flag that had been created for him by his friends, placed his hand over his heart, and with emotions filling the words said...............
"I, Max, pledge Allegiance to the Flag of my United States of America, and to that Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible with Liberty and Justice for all."
Max stood there for several minutes after his words had stopped, and through the quietness of the moment these words sounded over the forest walls..
- "Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name....................................."
Later, Ollie-Dare would put his thoughts on paper as he usually did at times such as these, and his words spoke of a Nation strong, and a people stronger. He spoke of keeping eyes to the heavens, and of Faith in a God that had built a great nation; of standing before enemies with God still in their hearts, and fighting battles with him in their minds; Of reaching for other hands along the way, and walking together United as one; and of keeping within you the pride and the power that has been so freely given as freedom.
©2002 Rebecca Morris