Written by Trina Mioner
Maranda was eleven years old, and her family was preparing to go on their annual family campout. All the Brown children looked forward to this campout at the end of the school year and the start their summer vacation. Dad took out the camping equipment and laid it across the back yard. He took the hose and sprayed the melted marshmallow off the tent while my sister and I ran through the water.
Friday afternoon we loaded up and began the road trip to Hueston Woods State park. The trip seemed like forever to us kids. “Ouch,” Bailey cried out as Mama shouted, “Bailey if you ask if we are there yet one more time, I’m gonna.” She never finished her threat. After a few hours, that seemed more like days we arrived before sunset. Mom unpacked the car while Dad started to put up the tent. The first thing that came out of the overpacked trunk was our bikes.
Mom yelled, “Don’t go no farther that I can see you.” My sister and I slowed up and looked around. Mom was no longer in sight. Maranda said, “Bailey do you see the car?” Baily put her hand to her brow and looked in all directions. No car no Mom no dad. They began to panic; nothing looked familiar. There was a little shack that sold soda and chips that she remembered passing when they were looking for their camp site. Other kids were riding their bikes and other tents were going up. The sun was starting to go down.
“You ask,” the older sister told her younger sister. They laid their bikes down and approached the shack holding hands. Bailey said, “Mister, have you seen our Mom and Dad?” Marana corrected her as she was looking down at the ground, “Mr. and Mrs. Brown.” The man chuckled, “Are you girls lost?” They both said no at the same time. “We just can’t see them anymore,” said Bailey. Like magic the Park rangers just showed up. The Ranger said don’t worry we will find them. He opened the back of his wagon and began loading their bikes. Bailey whispered, “We are not supposed to get in the car with strangers.”
The Ranger said, “I’m not a stranger and pointed to the badge on his chest. We will ride around and see if we see them.” Over the radio, the girls heard a lady say two little girls were missing from Campsite A-16.
In just a few minutes they could see Mom and Dad standing in front of the tent. Mom ran to them and embraced them with tears in her eyes. The Ranger said they were only a quarter’s throw away at the candy shack. They could see the top of it from where they were standing. Maranda and Bailey thanked the Ranger for returning them to their Mom.
The girls no longer wanted to ride their bikes for the rest of the weekend. They were happy with roasting marshmallows.