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continued from page and flashlights, ….

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and flashlights, paused at the entrance waiting for one of us adults to enter first.

Baby- step- by- babystep, we inched our way into the cave. We moved inward about ten or fifteen feet from the entrance and stopped. The kids were getting noticeably antsy, and I could hear their little hearts pounding. They were three nervous children who were all pretending to be brave and courageous explorers.

“Hello!” Lydda shouted. “One-eyed Jack, are you in here?”

There was no response.

“Hello?” the others yelled into the dark abyss. They took another step forward and turned their light beams toward an open area in the cave.

“What’s that?” one of them asked.

“I’m not sure, but I think it’s an old Christmas tree,” Tommy said.

And then for no apparent reason, all the kids screamed and retreated to the safety of the open air outside the cave’s entrance.

“What happened in there? Why did you guys get scared when you saw that Christmas tree?” I asked.

“I don’t know. It was just scary,” Lydda answered.

Sadly, we never found One-eyed Jack, and so we couldn’t ask him all the questions we had for him.

Years from now, I hope the three little Laniers will remember that day. I hope they remember the conversations and the cave and the Christmas tree. I hope they remember the mystery and the laughter. Most of all, I hope they remember that Thanksgiving is for being thankful for family members, and that everyone in our family is so very thankful for them. They remind us what it feels like to be little kids again.

As for me, I guess I’ll never find out how Oneeyed Jack lost his eye. Do any of you know?

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