“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Prov. 17:22)
It was Marvin’s idea that we start a club.
Ever since the night of the terrible storm and the barn ﬁre, he had been a changed possum.
He used to spend all day inside his home under the pile of branches in the grassy ﬁeld.
He was afraid that if he came out in the daytime, bigger animals might see and hurt him, so he would only come out if I was close by or when it was dark at night.
But after helping me rescue Spots the calf from the ﬁre, he had a new found courage.
Marvin was the one who ﬁrst braved the storm to tap on my window and tell me that the barn was on ﬁre. He was the one who tied the loop in the rope so that I could use it to pull Spots out of the barn.
And now Marvin felt that he and I could do anything together.
On many mornings, as soon as Mom and Dad would let me outside, Marvin would scurry up the tree and over the fence to ﬁnd me.
“Hey, Jake” he would say, “What are we going to do today? Let’s chase rabbits, or maybe dig a hole and look for treasure. Let’s see what Spots wants to do. Maybe we could have an adventure together.”
Marvin was excited all right. And Spots had changed, too.
Before the ﬁre, he had seemed afraid of Marvin and me. He would often stand at the fence and watch us, but if we would look at him or say anything, he would turn and run away.
But now, if Spots saw Marvin with me in the yard together, he would call and we would run to the fence to meet him.
Sometimes Spots and I would have races up and down the fence line while Marvin would say, “Ready, set, go!” And sometimes we would just lie under the cool shade of the big oak tree next to the old chicken coop.
We would imagine going on adventures together and how brave and fearless we would be. Yes, we had become three best friends since the terrible night of the barn ﬁre.
It was on just such a day that Marvin brought up the idea of a club.
Marvin would often ﬁnd things during his wanderings through the night, and he would bring them out to the shade tree for Spots and I to see.
He had found a big round glass thing with a handle on it. The handle was broke, but when Marvin held it up in front of his face, it made him look gigantic.
His little black eyes became huge black balls, and his little pink nose looked like a big pink watermelon.
I laughed so hard that I rolled on the ground. Spots started laughing and jumping up and down with his hooves kicking up dust. We had never seen anything so funny in our life.
When we ﬁnally ﬁnished laughing and settled down, Marvin said “You know, I could use this to look at small things and make them look bigger. That way we could see everything real close up and ﬁgure them out.”
“Oh,” I said. “You mean like clues in a mystery.”
“What’s that?” Spots asked.
“Well” I said, “Sometimes when my Daddy is watching TV, I’ll lie beside him and we’ll watch a mystery program. It’s always about something that someone has done but nobody knows who did it.”
“The people look for ‘clues‘ to ﬁnd out who it was. I always get confused and fall asleep.”
“The only mystery we ever had was that hole in the fence you told me about,” Spots said.
“That’s right,” I laughed. “And that turned out to be just Marvin.”
Marvin squinched up his face and said “just Marvin” in an extra squeaky voice. We laughed so hard our sides hurt.
I said, “Spots is right. We never have any mysteries around here. And if we did, we wouldn’t know where to begin. We don’t know anything about solving mysteries.”
“No,” Marvin said. “But there is something that we do all know about.”
Jake, you were rescued from starving under the cedar tree by your Mama and Daddy and then you were rescued again from the heart worms.”
“That’s right,” I said, “And you were rescued by Mom, Dad, and Brother when that big tree limb fell and crushed your house during the snowfall.”
I was starting to get excited.
“And you both rescued me from the burning barn.” Spots said. “We know a lot about being in danger and getting rescued.”
I thought for a moment and said, “Maybe the Creator made sure that we were rescued, so that we could rescue others.”
“That’s it!” shouted Marvin. His little squeaky voice was getting higher as he was getting excited.
“We’ll start a club. We’ll call it The Rescue Club, and the three of us will be the members. We can rescue anyone that is in danger.”
“Hooray!” shouted Spots as he jumped in the air and kicked his hooves. “We’re starting a club. The Rescue Club.”
“Shhh. Not so loud,” said Marvin. “We need to keep this a secret, just like Jake and I did when we rescued you from the ﬁre.”
We all lowered our voices and came close together by the fence.
“Our meeting place can be right here under the shade tree, by the old chicken coop,” I said.
“And if our club is going to be secret, then there has to be something special about us that makes us different from everyone else.”
Marvin grinned his big toothy grin. “We already have that. We talk to each other in pig while everyone else just hears oinks and grunts.”
Marvin looked at Spots. “Except for your Dad, Spots, he taught you how to speak it. We’ll just be sure he’s not around. Pig will be our secret language.”
“And we need to have a secret signal to call each other in case of danger, and if someone needs to be rescued.” Marvin looked at me. “No more tapping on the window in the middle of the night.”
“I remember an old movie that Dad watched one time about three men that lived a long time ago. They fought with swords and rescued people,” I said. “They would always say all for one and one for all.”
“That will make a great secret signal,” Marvin said. “If we see anyone in danger, we will say all for one, and the others in the club will answer back and say one for all, and then we can meet here at the tree.”
“I vote for Jake to be the leader because he’s so brave and special,” Spots said.
“The Lord made us all special,” I replied. “Spots, you’re the biggest and the strongest. And Marvin, you can do things with your hands that Spots and I can’t do with our paws and hooves. We are all special in The Rescue Club.”
“The Rescue Club” Spots shouted as he jumped in the air. We all put our noses together at the fence. “All for one,” I said. “And one for all!” we all said together.
As it turned out, we had started The Rescue Club just in time.
(TO BE CONTINUED)