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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


April 5, 2003 - Issue 84


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Thunderhawk - The Great Cross-Country Adventure - Part 7

by Geoff Hampton

MoonEarly in the morning just before first light Papa O'Malley and Pat Pilgrim woke Sean Jr. and Ian up to begin their mission to find Moose Lee and Two Eagles to see if they knew anything about Paddy and Paden. That night had been a long and sleepless one for all the little mice at the homeground. They all had been thinking many different things about whether or not Paden and Paddy were okay and whether or not the mice would actually be able to locate Moose Lee or Two Eagles on this mission.

As the four mice got to the edge of the homeground it was still dark and cold. Penny and Virginia surprised them and were there to see the mice off. It was an emotional but quiet scene. The mice didn't want to alert any predators lurking nearby as to their location. Penny gave Pat a huge passionate hug and asked him to be very careful. He smiled and nodded his head up and down to agree and gently wiped a tear from her eye. Then he softly told her that he hadn't slept very well and was nervous about this trip. Penny told him that she felt the same way.

MicePapa O'Malley and Virginia were having a similar moment together. As the four adult mice kissed each other passionately and said their goodbye, Ian and Sean Jr. looked away. Ian said, "That is so gross." Sean Jr. agreed and added, "That is not the way I want to start my morning. A bunch of yucky hugging and kissing. Yuck!"

Papa O'Malley quietly led the procession out into the large field that borders their homeground. The open field was dangerous when leaving the homeground because it was wide open and predators could see the little mice moving across the ground. The big field offered safety for the mice while they were in the homeground because they could look out and see any predators who may be trying to approach, but leaving was very dangerous. Especially with snow covering the ground.

The two adults were on full alert and listened intently to all sounds. Occasionally they stood up and sniffed the air for any scent of predators and they constantly scanned all sides for any signs of danger. They also kept a keen awareness as to where the nearest safety point would be at any time if there were an imminent danger while crossing open the field. Of course to the younger mice it was just a fun adventure early in the morning.

MeteorSuddenly Ian yelled out, "Look!" as he pointed up toward the beautiful clear night sky. As they all looked up there was a brilliant streak of light from a comet crossing the sky. Sean Jr. said, "Hey! It's a sign from the Great Creator! He's letting us know that everything is going to be alright!" Papa O'Malley and Pat just stared at the sky where the beautiful object had been streaking across just a moment before. They spoke not a word but smiled ever so slightly and nodded their heads up and down slightly in agreement. Then the group moved on toward the woods at the far edge of the field.

As they approached the woods they heard sounds all through the woods. Ian and Sean Jr. exclaimed at the same time, "What's that?" Pat said, "Shhhhh! Don't be too loud. There are hungry critters around. That sound is the sound of ice and snow melting. That breeze we're feeling is out of the south and I'd say that we are seeing the first signs of spring. That can be dangerous since there is so much snow and ice here in the mountains this year and that will mean flooding. Flooding will be a problem if we're not careful. The thaw will also be the signal for predators to become active again and start eating to make up for weight lost over the severe winter we just experienced here. Some critters mate in the spring and they'll be even hungrier."

Sean Jr. said, "What's mating mean anyway?" Pat looked at Papa O'Malley and said, "Okay Papa. You're an elder so you get to answer that question!" Papa O'Malley said with an aire of authority, "Well Sean Jr., mating is the act of nature that ensures that critters will continue to reproduce and go on living on the great Mother Earth. Ian said, "Huh? What is that supposed to mean? I have no idea what you're talking about." Then Sean Jr. said, "Yeah! Me neither!" Papa O'Malley looked at Pat who shrugged his shoulders and smiled saying, "Hey. Don't look at me. You're the elder! Tell the children what mating is!"

GopherPapa O'Malley looked flustered and his cheeks turned noticeably red with obvious embarrassment. He stumbled around trying to find the words saying, "Well…ummm…you see…it's's like…well…you saw when Pat and I were saying goodbye to Penny and Virginia right?" The little ones, who were listening and looking intently at Papa O'Malley shook their heads up and down in agreement with what he had said. Then he said, "You know what guys, I just remembered. Mating is something that the women elders are supposed to explain to the young ones." Papa O'Malley looked very pleased with himself as he went on to say, "Yeah! That's right! The women are supposed to explain that to you! When you get back you can go ask Virginia! Right Pat?" As he looked at Pat for approval, Pat was shaking his head back and forth disapprovingly with his lips curled to the left side in semi disgust. Pap O'Malley said, "No! Really! That's the way it's supposed to be."

Ian and Sean Jr. quickly looked at Pat who immediately stopped shaking his head, but it was too late. They had already seen it. Ian said, "Papa O'Malley. That's not nice! You're fibbing!" Pat said sternly, "Ian! That's disrespectful. You need to apologize to Papa O'Malley right now!" Ian meekly said, "I'm sorry Papa O'Malley, please forgive me." Papa O'Malley softly said he did forgive him and in return asked the little mice to forgive him as well. He said, "Boys. I am sorry. What I said was true in the old country and I was just using it as an excuse not to have to explain what mating is to you. Will you please forgive me?" They both shook their heads "yes". Then Sean Jr. said, "So. What is mating anyway?"

With that question, Papa O'Malley's shoulders drooped as did his head. He said, "Boys. Will you do me a favor?" They said at the same time, "What Papa O'Malley?" Papa O'Malley said, "Boys. If you don't mind, would you hold that question until we return to the homeground and ask Virginia instead?" The boys looked annoyed and didn't say anything at first. Then Pat said, "You know what guys? I agree with Papa O'Malley. We've got some important things to get done on this mission and they are far more important than the answer to that question right now, right?" He was shaking his head up and down as he asked that question.

The boys looked at Pat, then each other and then they started shaking their heads up and down like Pat was. Papa O'Malley was noticeably pleased. He said, "Good! Then it's settled! When we get back you can ask Virginia. Right?" The two younger mice looked disappointed, but shook their heads up and down and said in unison, "Yes Papa O'Malley." Then Papa O'Malley said, "Now, let's be on the lookout as we get into the woods. All that melting snow and ice is making a lot of noise and we need to know about any dangers before they know about us!" Then he moved forward and the others followed.

SunAs they came to the top of the first big hill they could clearly see the sun beginning to rise behind Mt. LeConte. It was a spectacular sunrise and the sky looked to be ablaze with a deep red color. Ian said, "Wow! That is incredibly beautiful!" They all agreed and watched silently for the next few minutes as the sun slowly began to show itself and the morning sky became brightly illuminated by it. The birds had also begun chirping and many sang beautiful songs that made the little mice feel a sense of comfort. Pat said, "Mother Nature is really amazing. There are so many beautiful things that we get to enjoy thanks to her." They all shook their heads up and down in complete agreement. As he finished his sentence the morning was shattered by a tremendous gobbling from a male turkey who was roosting in a tall cedar tree nearby. Pat smiled and looked at Papa O'Malley and said, "This is where we could bring up that mating thing again." Papa O'Malley was not amused and ignored the comment. Ian and Sean Jr. just looked at each other and said, "Huh?" Pat said, "Oh, nothing." Then little mice moved on.

IciclesAs they began to go down the other side of the hill the wind really started picking up intensity and the trees swayed back and forth and creaked and groaned as the branches were being strained. Suddenly there was a tremendous sound right next to Ian and he jumped in the air and screamed, "Ahhhhhhh!" Sean Jr. screamed too. As they looked where Ian had been standing there was a huge icicle stuck in the ice and snow. Papa O'Malley said, "Wow. That could have killed you Ian. If that thing had hit you it would have definitely killed you. We are in danger from more than just predators with this strong wind and the meltdown going on. Sorry guys but we need to find some shelter for awhile." They ran a short distance and found a tree that had a safe looking opening under one of its large roots and in they went to hide for awhile.

Back at the Tennessee River, Andrew the Apache also felt the breeze out of the south and knew that the big meltdown was getting underway. The ice on the river was plenty thick from the bitter cold temperatures, but they needed to get moving. Flooding could be a problem for them as well. He awakened Paddy and Paden and asked them if they wanted to continue or go back home. Paden looked at Paddy, who was still not back to his normal state of health and asked him what he wanted to do. Paddy surprised him by looking at him like he was crazy and saying, "Are you out of your mind? The whole time I was sick and couldn't wake up I kept dreaming about Thunder Jack and what he would do. He would never give up and run back home. He was far too brave for that. Nothing could ever defeat Thunder Jack and nothing can ever defeat me either unless I let it happen and it's not going to happen now! No way! I am Thunder Jack! I will not go back! I will go on this journey with Andrew the Apache, the dogs and you and I will conquer any and everything that tries to defeat me! Let's fly this chicken coop!" Paden and Andrew the Apache looked at each other and smiled. Then the warrior began breaking camp and preparing to leave.

Mountain SceneUp in a nearby tree where Thunderhawk and Blaze had intently watched all the goings on down on the ground, they both expressed relief that everything was looking good and that Paddy had now awakened. They also smiled upon hearing Paddy's little speech. They fluffed their feathers and took off to find some food and just enjoy flying for a little while. The stiffening breeze out of the south offered a great opportunity to soar high in the air and do different acrobatic maneuvers to impress each other. They were having a wonderful time. Andrew the Apache looked up and saw the two hawks soaring up above and smiled. He was ready to get moving too.

Andrew the Apache fixed Paden and Paddy's saddles and put them back on the dogs backs. Thunder looked pleased as he licked Paden across his face. Paden said, "Yuk! Thunder! You are soooooooooo gross!" Then he looked over at Paddy who was mounted on another large dog named "Buck" and smiled. Paddy was still weak but he was anxious to continue the great cross-country adventure and he smiled back at his friend and waved. He said, "Let's roll!"

The End - Part 7
© 2003 Geoff Hampton

Geoff Hampton is an internationally known author, speaker, motivator and business consultant. He is the Marketing Director for Indian Voices newspaper which serves Southern California and Nevada. Hampton is also a regular columnist for the wellness/fitness Website and Canku Ota and can be reached by E-mail at His national anti-obesity/diabetes campaign can be reviewed at

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