Treasure Hunt

The children, varying in age from about third grade to middle school, were waiting impatiently in the dining hall, board games and various decks of cards spread on one of the tables.

“Looks like game day,” Catherine said as several children came to give her a hug.

“You got it,” Kipper declared. “You get to pick. Then you decide who picks the next one and so on.”

“Well,” she said, looking at the table speculatively after returning the hugs. There are eight of you here. Hmmmmm. I haven’t played Chinese Checkers in years…or Parcheesi. Why don’t I play Chinese Checkers with five of you, and Vincent can play Parcheesi with the other three? Then we can trade games or find new ones.

That seemed to make the children happy, so they chose games and started setting them up. While the games went on, there was some general conversation…catching up after having been apart for a while. There was the standard bickering about wrong moves, the occasional accusation of cheating and the accompanying squabbles to be refereed; but by the end of the game, everybody was on good terms and seemed to have enjoyed it. Eric won at Parcheesi and did a little victory dance while he switched to Catherine’s game. Geoffrey won Chinese Checkers and high fived Eric as they passed on the way to the other game. Vincent had three new opponents and three who had already played Catherine’s game grabbed a deck of cards and played a rousing game of War.

The couple played games with the children for about an hour before going to the nursery to see the younger ones and read them some stories. Elden was shy when Vincent first introduced Catherine, but he had warmed to her a little more by the time they left, giving her a quick glimpse of his smile.

“I think you’ll have another fan before long,” Vincent said when she mentioned the little boy.

“I hope so. And you’re right. That was a great smile. He’s sweet. What’s next?” she asked.

“It’s getting late. I thought we could have dinner with everyone and then take a book and have some time to ourselves at the Falls. We just have to get past the Treasure Hunters. Some of the teenagers are split up among them making sure no one gets lost.”

“When we’ve seen them, it does look like they’re having fun. Have you ever done something like that for the children?”

“Now and then. They enjoyed it.”

After visiting with others at dinner, they went back to Vincent’s chamber, where he picked up a book and a blanket from the foot of his bed, took Catherine’s hand, and said, “Shall we?”