On a late sunny afternoon, a boy named Chris and his sister, Amanda, were listening in on their parents discussing their plans to go out for the evening. Bingo was the topic at hand, the parents were considering the possible babysitters they had in mind and they had a large list of rotating potentials.
The kids were familiar with all the babysitters and they had their favorites and not-so favorites. They listened intently as the parents settled on Charlene, a mild-mannered but absent-minded teenager.
The kids were happy with the choice because they knew Charlene would pay no mind to what they did and sometimes to where they were.
The kids were in the play room while the babysitter danced by herself in the living room. It seemed like the best time to plan an adventure, which usually meant a game of hide n’ seek outside.
Chris turned to his sister and said: “Don’t you think this is getting boring?”
“What do you mean?” said Amanda.
“We been doing this same ol’ adventure since we 5 and 7, but we are 7 and 9 now, so we should think of something else.”
“How about hopscotch, that’s a fun game.” Beamed Amanda.
“No, let’s pretend to be like our ancestors, the Woodland Cree, and explore the wilderness.”
“The Wilderness?” said Amanda, “But we’ll get lost”
“Oh no, just in the backyard, sister” explained Chris, “There’s trails to follow and we can always see the house.”
So off they went to the backyard, which on the reserve, meant there was plenty of trees. The bush had many old trails in it, they were probably made long before there were houses in that particular area.
Chris turned to Amanda and told her to start counting on the mītos (popular tree), and not to peek as he assured her that he wasn’t going to go very far.
When Amanda got to ten, she looked around and yelled: “You better not have gone too far!”
She began to creep up to some nīpisiya (red willows), where she thought her brother might be. She jumped to the side of the brush and said: “I got you!” but he wasn’t there.
In the distance, she heard a stick crack, she yelled out: “Is that you Chris? That better be you Chris!”
There was no response, but the noise didn’t continue so she thought maybe it was her brother. She quietly walked to the area she heard the noise. As she crept up, she started getting scared: “Chris?” she whispered.
Then out jumped Chris from behind a tree: “BOO!” he shouted “Now I’m gonna get to the ‘home free’ tree,” he said, “catch me if you can.”
Chris bolts to the area where he thinks the mītos is. Amanda screams at Chris: “ Hey no fair, I’m supposed to find you first.”
“You snooze, you lose!” snickered Chris, as he looked back at his sister.
Chris looked up ahead and didn’t recognize the trail. Did he make a wrong turn or is he not remembering right?
He stops and calls out to his sister: “Amanda,” exclaimed Chris, ”do you know where we are?”
“In the back yard,” assured Amanda, “Our home is nearby.” She said as she looked back, and front, and side by side, but everything was unfamiliar. “We’re lost!” stammered Amanda.
“Hold it now,” said Chris “we just need to find the mītos, and we’ll be home free.”
“I thought you said we’d be able to see the house.” said Amanda.
“We need to be at the mītos, and then we can see the house” explained Chris.
The pair walked through an unfamiliar trail as Amanda followed closely to her brother. There were no recognizable scenes on their trek nor was there any “home free” tree or even any tree similar to it.
Chris was getting very worried but he had to keep his cool for his sister, who was looking more frightened by the minute.
“What are we going to do Chris?” asked Amanda “how will we get home?”
“Stop whining like a puppy Amanda, we’ll find our way” said Chris, and as he said this, he realized something “Amanda, your whining gave me an idea.”
Chris started howling like a dog and startled his sister. “What are you doing?” asked Amanda, “Have you gone crazy?”
“Amanda!” shouted Chris “What nuisance is over-running the rez?” He asked.
“Dogs?” Amanda said.
“Exactly!” Said Chris, “So start howling and barking, when the dogs hear us, we’ll know where to go.”
“You’re a genius Chris” said Amanda.
So they howled and they barked in all directions. They went on for about 10 seconds and stopped to listen. After a moment or two, they could hear dogs in the distance.
“I never thought I’d be happy to hear those darn mutts barking” said Chris.
When they got to the steps of their home, Amanda turned to her brother: “What are we gonna tell our babysitter?”
“Just relax sister” said Chris “and lets just face the music, I’m a little spent from worrying so much.”
Amanda looked at Chris as if not to believe him. They walked in to the house and saw the babysitter sleeping on the couch. The siblings look at each with relief. A few minutes later, their parents car was pulling up in the driveway just as the babysitter was waking up.
“Hey kiddies, what’s up” Charlene asked.
“Oh nothing” Amanda said, “we were just about to get a snack for our selves.”
The parents walked in, “Hey kids, how was your evening?”
“Good” they all answered together.
“Anything exciting happen?” The father asked.
“No, not one thing.” said Chris as he winked at his sister