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Chapter Fifty
They Went Thataway (Part One)

"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
~ Psalms 119:105 ~

Having grown up around Chuck, who perpetually craved the freedom of a long hike and the openness of the great outdoors, Charlie was more receptive to the idea of traveling to Alaska than Adam had expected. Shirley however, was more apprehensive. When she stopped by the next day, she expressed her concern to Adam.

"Don't worry," he consoled her, after Shirley had taken him aside. "She isn't a stranger to the outdoors. Remember how she rescued that little girl a few months ago? Chad will be in good hands."

"I'd forgotten that," admitted Shirley. "I'm not trying to put her down, Adam. Heaven knows, I'm not."

"Maybe you should talk to her," offered Adam, motioning Charlie to come over to where they were discussing in whispers.

"What is it?" asked the young woman, as Adam folded his arms and smiled at his little sister who was quickly becoming embarrassed.

"Shirley wants to ask you something," he answered, raising his eyebrows mysteriously.

"Adam is blowing this a little out of proportion," sighed the mother, as she met Charlie's questioning face. "I just wanted to make sure you wouldn't take him anywhere dangerous..."

"Who, Adam?" interrupted Charlie in surprise.

"No, Chad," explained Shirley, uneasily. "Keep an eye on him and don't let him get into trouble. I know I'm sounding overprotective, but he's just an eleven year old boy."

"I understand," replied Charlie, now comprehending what the concerned mother was trying to tell her. "Adam and Kevin are both coming, so there will be plenty of adult supervision."

At this, the musician burst into laughter.

"I'm glad you think this is funny," Shirley scolded Adam.

"Sorry, Sis!" he grinned. "I couldn't help it!"

"We'll take good care of Chad," assured Charlie. "Adam will be bringing his satellite phone, so you can call us anytime you want. I've been making plans all morning of the places we're going to stop along the Alaska Highway. Here's a list-- that is, if you approve."

Shirley looked the schedule over.

"How did you manage to put this together in so short a time?" she wondered.

"Bill put me in contact with a travel agent familiar with the area," replied the young woman. "We should have Chad back in plenty of time to begin school in September. I was thinking we could do a little camping, some fishing, take a few nature hikes, and in general try to keep his spirits up."

"Given everything that's going on right now," put in Adam, "we should take our time and not rush the trip. What do you think?"

"It looks as if you have everything under control," admitted Shirley. "I wasn't trying to question your judgment, Charlie."

"I understand," smiled the teenager. "He's your little boy."

The youth in question scowled as he walked over to his mom, having heard the last remark.

continued on next page...
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