Valley Of Hope -- Chapter Eight

2008-7-25 05:11:00

Valley Of Hope

by Ted Dewey

Chapter Eight

Henry awoke at the crack of dawn. For a few minutes he lay there letting his eyes adjust themselves to the dim light. His mind wondered back to when he was a young man. Sleeping in was a real luxury in those days. He had looked forward to the time that he would retire and really enjoy this phase of life.

But as the years rolled by something inside him had changed. No longer did he enjoy lying in bed until late in the morning. Some inner voice kept telling him, "Arise, and get going!"

He glanced at his watch -- six o'clock. He closed his eyes, and rolled over. He had a slight headache and a dry throat. Too much beer last night, he thought. Should have brought that last one home with him. Right now, it would taste mighty fine. On the other hand, a couple of cups of black coffee would do just as well.

He had an appointment with Thomas at ten. There was plenty of time -- no hurry. He closed his eyes again and slowly drifted off into dreamland. Farther and farther his mind wondered back. Then suddenly, once again, he was back on that lifeboat, drifting around in the South Pacific.

A torpedo from a Japanese sub had blown a gaping hole in the side of the cruiser. They had lowered the lifeboats and jumped in. All night long they had drifted. When daylight came they were all alone on that vast body of water. The sun was doing it's best to shine through some dark clouds.

There were twelve of them in the boat with no food, and only enough water to last a couple days. They felt mighty helpless as the big waves tossed them around.

On board the lifeboat was a man from Seattle, a real sailor. His name was McGinty. He took charge and began giving orders.

They had taken off their shirts, and made a sail. They had ripped off the rails, and formed a mast. It wasn't a fancy thing to look at, but it served its purpose. When the wind was blowing away from enemy territory they would hoist their sail.

The first day they made some progress. The second day was one to remember. A vicious storm came their way, and how that wind did blow! The mighty ocean was transformed from a sea of tranquility to a mass of raging, angry water; and, several times they almost lost the boat.

Then on the third day the wind subsided to a gentle breeze. Once more, the ocean was calm and everyone on board was once more keeping a sharp eye on the sky.

Late that afternoon a U.S. plane had spotted them. A couple of hours later, they were picked up by a Canadian freighter.

Henry had never forgotten those three days and nights in that lifeboat; and, for sure, he would always remember that awesome power of that wild wind. No man-made energy, including all atomic devices in this world, could turn that vast body of water into a raging mass like it was on that second day.

Yes, just a few feet off the bottom of this giant that was a mile high, and a hundred miles wide, was indeed a powerful thing. If man could just figure out a way to harness a small fraction of this enormous energy, it would solve a lot of problems, in this old world, Henry told himself. Maybe he could find a way.

Suddenly, he was wide-awake. He sat up and glanced at his watch. It was almost seven o'clock. He had dozed off for about an hour. He slid off the bed and headed for the bathroom. He would shave and shower, then cook himself a good breakfast and go meet his new friend and working partner -- Mister Oran Thomas.


-- End Of Chapter Eight --