Summary – Ben has a special day planned for Adam.
Rating – K, Word Count – 1087
A Special Day
“Adam? Wake up.”
Ben gently shook his son in the wee hours of the morning. Even the sun hadn’t fully risen.
“Come on sleepy head. We’ve got a lot to do today.”
Adam’s eyes fluttered open to see his Pa smiling at him. He stretched under the warm quilt before pushing it back and freeing his small feet.
Ben brushed some dark locks of hair away from his son’s eyes. “Looks like you need your hair trimmed again. I can’t see your eyes very well.”
Adam wrinkled his nose at the idea of a haircut but said nothing. Once Ben saw that his young son was fully awake, he climbed out of the wagon to let him get dressed.
Ben smiled as the sky brightened, chasing the stars away. It had been a long and difficult five years, and he knew he had been forgetful many times of his young son’s needs, but not today. No sir. Today would be all about Adam, but the boy wouldn’t know that, at least not right away. Ben’s smile widened as he pondered how long it would take Adam to realize the specialness of the day.
Hearing Adam shift around in the wagon, Ben quickly set about fixing breakfast. They had a long way to travel that day if they were going to make the next town before his supplies got too low, but Ben had planned a few surprises for his son along the way.
As Ben set biscuits and bacon on their plates, Adam finally appeared. He took one look at the food and grinned. “Pa. Biscuits and bacon? I didn’t think we had any left.”
“This is it, so enjoy it son.”
“Oh I will Pa!” And Adam took care to eat and taste every morsel until there were no crumbs left.
After cleaning up, father and son continued their journey. As the sun rose to its zenith, Ben found a shady spot by a creek so they could rest the horses and have some lunch.
“Pa, our stores are getting low. What are we gonna eat for lunch? All I could find was some of yesterday’s bread.”
“Well, son, go get us some water from that creek and while you’re there see if you see anything in the water.”
Adam frowned at the odd instructions but he did as his pa told him. Dipping the canteen into the running water he looked all around but saw nothing. Suddenly he felt something brush his hand making him drop the canteen. He quickly retrieved it, then sat to stare at the water. That’s when he saw them and ran back to Ben who was starting a fire.
“Pa, Pa, I saw them. Fish, and lots of them.”
“Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go catch some.”
Ben found a couple of good sticks and using his boot laces, fashioned a couple of fishing poles. An hour later, father and son had a veritable feast of fish and day-old bread.
“Pa, that fish was so good. Can we catch some more again tonight?”
“I wish we could but fish like to hide at night. We can eat the last ones we have, and maybe find something else to go with them. Now let’s get on our way. We’ve a long way to go before the sun sets.”
During the afternoon ride, Ben made an offer to Adam he couldn’t refuse. “Son, would you like to drive the horses?”
Adam grinned from ear to ear. “Boy would I. Thanks Pa.”
Ben shifted on the seat to show Adam how to hold the thick leather reins, then once Adam got the hang of it he let go of the boy’s arms.
“I’m doin’ it Pa, just like you. I’m driving the wagon!”
“You sure are, son.”
After a short ways, Adam was forced to relinquish his new skill, as his small arms became very tired. He took Ben’s suggestion to climb into the back and rest until they stopped for the night.
When Adam awoke, he smelled something very different in the air. Following the scent, he climbed out of the now still wagon and found his father bent over the cooking fire. He watched for a moment longer as he saw something on a stick that was balanced between two other sticks stuck in the ground.
“Pa, whatcha doin’? What smells so good?”
Ben turned to greet his son. “I see you finally woke up. Come, it’s time to eat.”
Ben slid the big object off the stick and pulled it apart to give some to Adam. “It’s rabbit, son. Enjoy. After dinner I have another surprise for you.”
The smell from the cooked rabbit had helped Adam realize how hungry he was. By the time dinner was over nothing but bones were left of their meal.
“Now, close your eyes and don’t open them until I say so.”
Adam closed his eyes and listened to all the sounds his father was making but he was unable to figure out what was going on.
After a few minutes Ben finally spoke. “Okay, son. Take a look.”
When Adam opened his eyes he blinked several times at the odd thing before him. It was a very large biscuit with a stick stuck in the middle of it. And even more odd was that the other end of the stick was burning. Adam looked up to his father, his expression a big question mark.
Ben chuckled. “This is the best I could do for a cake with a candle. Happy fifth birthday, son.”
Adam’s face was frozen somewhere between shock and sheer pleasure. A couple of tears escaped down his cheek as he threw his arms around his pa’s neck. “Thank you Pa. It’s the best birthday cake ever.”
Trying to prevent his own tears, Ben extricated himself from Adam’s hug and told him about making a wish before blowing out the candle. The air was quite still so Adam took in a breath, made his wish, but before he could blow out the flame, a light breeze tickled his cheek and made the flame dance. Still holding his breath he glanced at Ben who only nodded, so Adam turned back to the flame and blew it out.
Father and son shared the biscuit as they rested on the ground looking up at the millions of diamonds in the sky.
“Thank you for my birthday. I love you.”
“I love you too, son.”
Happy Birthday, Pernell!
Tags: Adam Cartwright, Ben Cartwright, Birthday
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