Rainforest Friends And Family
Sally stared at Jasper, listening to his every word.
He described the strange creatures he and his brother had seen at the edge of the jungle.
“Charlie called them ‘humans,’” Jasper said, noticing the fact that she wasn’t happy.
She frowned heavily at him.
“They’re not like us at all,” he continued. “They don’t have a long tail like Charlie. Plus, they don’t have the long arms he has, so I don’t think they can swing from tree to tree. I’m not even sure if they eat bananas like he does.”
Sally sighed and looked at Willie. “Do you have anything to say for yourself?”
“Jasper should know better, Mama,” he quickly replied, saying the first thing that came to his mind.
Willie was afraid to look at his brother, who was now in big trouble. Being the oldest, it was Jasper’s responsibility to take care of him.
Sally shook her head. “Don’t you start! Anything could have happened to the two of you!”
Earlier that day, her children had made their way to the outskirts of the jungle with their friend, Charlie, a spider monkey.
Jasper had ventured close to the humans, while Willie stood waiting near a tree for safety.
The two of them had fully planned on telling her about their exploration upon getting home. To their surprise, she’d stood at the door, waiting, when they’d appeared and entered their tree. Upon seeing them, she’d asked, “Did you two have a good time with Charlie?”
The boys had known immediately that she knew. How much, they weren’t sure. They hadn’t mentioned they’d planned to spend the afternoon with Charlie.
One of Sally’s friends had witnessed the whole scene, however, and had flown straight to Sally to tell her about what she’d seen.
Willie stared at his feet, studying them carefully. He left it up to Jasper to continue with the story.
“We were safe, Mama. I even had Willie stand by a tree. He never went near the humans,” Jasper explained.
“And what about you?” Sally asked.
Jasper looked away and didn’t say a word. Anything he might have said would make it worse.
Willie remained quiet.
Jasper wasn’t making her feel any better. With her wings crossed and the frown still on her face, she looked quite mad.
“Well? I’m waiting.”
“Yes, ma’am,” the boys answered automatically.
“Do you know how dangerous this adventure was?”
“But Charlie was with us!” Willie cried.
“I know Charlie is your friend, but you are my children and I worry about you.”
“Yes, Mama,” they said in unison.
Sally shook her head. These were her babies, no matter how old they’d grow up to be.
“Jasper, do you think Charlie’s mother would mind a visit from me?”
“If she is as swell as Charlie, I don’t think so.”
She chuckled. Charlie’s mother had just been given the highest compliment ever.
“Next time you see Charlie, ask him when it would be a good time for me to come over.”
“You’re not going to get Charlie in trouble, are you, Mama?” Jasper asked.
“No, no. Nothing like that. I just want to learn more about these humans. I’ve seen them a few times while flying around, but I’ve never gone near them. If you’re going to hang around Charlie, I would feel better if I knew more about them, that’s all.”
Willie, who’d spent most of the time listening to the conversation between her and Jasper, suddenly spoke up. “Sooo, can we go play now?”
“Not yet. Come give me a hug.”
The boys noted the look of relief spreading across her face. They moved forward to hug her tightly.
“I love you both, but you know this.”
“Yes, Mama,” the boys replied once more.
“We didn’t mean to worry you,” Jasper said.
“Oh, boys. I think the two of you will always worry me, even when you don’t realize it. I know you didn’t mean to. It’s part of being a mom, though. Okay, I’m done lecturing. Why don’t you run along and go play? It’s too nice a day to stay inside.”
“Yippee!” Willie shouted.
“Woohoo!” Jasper loudly echoed his brother’s sentiment.
Turning to face the door, the two boys raced to the opening of the tree. In their rush, both reached it at the same time. Each tried to be the first one to squeeze out of their home.
Sally laughed. “Boys, boys! One at a time.”
“I got here first!” Jasper said.
“Uh-uh. No, you didn’t. I did!”
“Nuh-uh. I did!”
“No, I was first. Right, Mama?” Willie asked, turning around to face her.
“Oh, no, you don’t. I’m not getting in the middle of this,” she said with a smile. “Come back inside. Just move slowly. You can both do it.”
They did as they were told.
“Okay. I will pick a number from one to ten and whoever gets the closest to it will be the first one to leave. Does that sound fair?”
Neither of the boys agreed, but knew they couldn’t say so.
“Boys, pick a number and tell me what it is at the same time.” She could almost see the wheels turning inside their heads. “Ready?”
“Okay. Now, tell me your numbers.”
“I pick three,” Jasper said.
“I pick seven,” Willie replied at the same time.
“My number was eight, so it looks like Willie will be going out first.”
“Awesome!” Willie said.
Jasper didn’t complain. Not one bit. It had been done fair and square. Plus, he knew Willie had reached the hole first, though he would never tell.
As they left the nest, she said, “Be careful. If you see Charlie, don’t forget to ask.”