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“Lost!” Friend, Jan. 1974, 14


“Don’t worry, Gordy,” Benny told his friend. “I’ll get us back to the cabin safely.”

The boys had left the cabin about an hour earlier to explore the area on snowshoes. Benny had been in the woods many times before, but this was the first time for Gordy and he was frightened. A snowstorm had come up so quickly even Benny had been taken by surprise. It was snowing and blowing so hard that the boys could hardly see each other, and there was nothing to mark the way they should go.

Benny was almost as worried as his friend, but aloud he said, “All we need to do, Gordy, is walk straight ahead, and we’ll come to the cabin.”

“Then let’s get going!” Gordy insisted. “I can’t see anything—and it’s scary. What if we get separated?”

“Here,” Benny said as he took a long scarf from around his neck. He tied one end to his own wrist and the other end securely to Gordy’s belt.

“Now we’ll be okay,” he declared, sounding more cheerful than he felt. “Let’s go.”

Benny started out slowly, sliding one foot after the other without lifting his snowshoes off the ground. He felt a slight tug on the scarf as Gordy followed behind.

Suddenly Benny stopped. Gordy nearly collided into him but stopped just in time. “What’s the matter?” he asked.

“I just remembered something,” Benny said. “Let me think a minute.”

Benny’s mind raced back to the day of Charlie Roger’s birthday party when they played Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Benny remembered how he had walked in what seemed to be a straight line toward the donkey, but when he pinned the tail on, it was far to the right. Most of the other boys and girls walked far to the right too.

That night Benny had asked his father, “Why do we turn to the right when we think we’re going straight?”

“When we can’t see,” his father told him, “we move to the right or left because our bodies are not perfectly balanced. Most right-handed people tend to turn to the right because the muscles on that side of their bodies are better developed and slightly heavier.

“When we can see, we compensate for this imbalance without thinking. But in a fog, for instance, people often walk in circles when they think they are going straight.”

What’s true of fog must be true of a snowstorm, thought Benny. I’ll have to concentrate on moving to the left and hope we’ll end up at the cabin.

“Come on,” he said to Gordy. “Let’s go on now.”

Benny started out again, moving slightly to his left. After traveling for a while, he felt a tug on the scarf. He realized that Gordy was signaling for him to stop.

“What’s the matter?” Benny called above the noise of the wind.

“You keep going too far to the left!” Gordy exclaimed. “We should have gone straight. Now we’re lost and we’ll never find the cabin.”

“We’ll find it, Gordy,” Benny promised him. “Just trust me, and we’ll be there soon.”

When they started out again, Benny felt Gordy following reluctantly. The snow continued to swirl around them in thick clouds, and all Benny could see was a heavy mist of white. Even when he turned back to encourage Gordy, he could barely see his friend through the whirling snowflakes.

Before long Benny felt a tug on the scarf and turned to hear Gordy call, “We’re lost. What will we do?”

“No, we’re not lost,” Benny answered. “We’re almost there.”

Benny’s voice was strong against the wind and sounded full of confidence, but inside he was beginning to wonder if he hadn’t made a mistake. Yet he knew they had to keep moving.

Benny quickly moved one snowshoe ahead of the other, giving a little tug on the scarf. Gordy followed silently.

Suddenly Benny stopped. “There’s the cabin!” he shouted. “I see a little light over to the right.”

He felt the tension on the scarf relax as Gordy called, “Oh, Benny, I see it too!”

The boys hurried in the direction of the light, stumbling a little from fatigue and cold.

“We were right on top of it!” Benny said as the boys circled around to the front porch.

Benny could hear his father’s voice calling through the storm.

“We’re here on the porch, Dad!” Benny answered.

Swinging a lantern, Benny’s father came around from the back of the cabin.

“I’m certainly glad to see both of you,” he said, holding up the light to see the boys. “I’ve been calling and calling for you ever since the storm started. I didn’t dare move out of sight of the cabin, for I knew it wouldn’t help if I got lost too.”

“Well, I thought we were lost,” said Gordy, “but Benny knew just where to go.”

“You can tell me all about it when you’ve changed your clothes and had some hot chocolate,” Benny’s father said. “The important thing is that you’re here.”

As the boys hurried into the warm cabin, they looked at each other and smiled. “You’re right, Dad,” Benny said. “The important thing is that we’re here.”

Illustrated by Larry Winborg