OY, oh boy! I never felt better in my 밤알바 life than I did when I was galloping through that woods to meet the gang. First I was in the sunlight and then in the shade as I raced along in that winding, little, brown path—swishing past different kinds of trees, such as maple and beech and ash and oak and also dodging around chokecherry shrubs and wild rosebushes with roses scattered all around among the thorns, also past dogwood trees and all kinds of wild flowers that grew on either side of the path.

Even though I had had to be delayed unnecessarily on account of the dishes, I got to the spring about the same time Little Jim and Poetry did. Circus was already there in the favorite place where he usually waits for us when he gets there first, which was in the top branches of a little elm sapling that grows at the top of the steep bank. As you know, at the bottom of that steep bank was the spring itself, but we always met in a little, shaded, open space at the top. Circus was swinging and swaying and looked really like a chimpanzee, hanging by his hands and feet and everything except his tail—which he didn’t have anyway.

As quick as Big Jim, with his almost mustache, and Little Tom Till, with his freckled face and red hair, got there and also Dragonfly, with his goggle-eyed face and spindling legs, that was all of us.

Poetry, Dragonfly and I told everybody everything that had happened last night, but I didn’t tell them about Pop having had yellowish-brown dirt on his shoes; and with my eyes I kept Poetry and Dragonfly from telling them about the two baby pigs Pop had buried somewhere, because I felt sure Pop wouldn’t26 bury two baby pigs in a cemetery, which had been reserved for human beings only.

A little later, after a loafing ramble along the bayou and a climb to the top of Strawberry Hill, we scrambled over the rail fence and in a couple of jiffies reached the place where the woman had been digging last night, which was not more than ten feet from Sarah Paddler’s tall tombstone. Well, we all stopped and stood around in a barefoot circle looking down into the hole. Sure enough—just as we had seen it last night—there was the print of a high-heeled, woman’s shoe and also other high-heeled shoe tracks all around, but none of the others were as clear as the one we were all studying that very minute.

“What on earth do you s’pose she was digging here for?” Little Tom Till asked in his high-pitched voice.

Big Jim answered him saying, “If we knew that, we would know what we want to know.”

For a minute I focused my eyes on the hand, which somebody had chiseled on Sarah Paddler’s tombstone. One finger of the hand pointed toward the sky. I had read the words just below the hand maybe a hundred and twenty times in my life and they were: “There is rest in Heaven,”—which I knew there was for anybody who got to go there. When I was in a cemetery, it was easy to think about things like that. I was sort of dreamily remembering that our minister in the Sugar Creek church says that there is only one way for a boy to get to Heaven. First, the boy has to believe that he is an honest-to-goodness sinner and needs a Saviour. Then he has to believe that Jesus, who is the Saviour, came all the way from Heaven a long time ago to die for him and to save him from his sins; then if the boy will open the door of his heart and let the Saviour come in, that will settle it.

Our minister, who knows almost all the Bible by heart, tells the people that come to our church that there isn’t any other way for anybody to be saved except just like I told you.

So I knew that Old Man Paddler, who was saved himself and was the kindest old, long-whiskered old man that ever was a friend to a boy, would see his wife, Sarah, again—maybe the very minute he got to Heaven.

27 For a fast jiffy, while I was standing by the hole which the June beetle had tumbled into last night, and was looking up at that carved hand on the tombstone, my mind sort of drifted away on a friendly little journey clear up into Heaven—past the great big white cumulus cloud that was piling itself up in the southwest right that minute above the tree-covered hills where I knew Old Man Paddler’s cabin was, and I imagined how that somewhere in Heaven maybe there was a very nice little cabin waiting for that kind old man, and that his wife, Sarah, was out there in the garden somewhere looking after the flowers for him. Every now and then she would stop doing what she was doing and look toward a little white gate like the one we have at our house by the big swing near the walnut tree to see if she could see her husband coming. Then all of a sudden I imagined she did see him and her kinda oldish face lit up like Mom’s does sometimes when she sees Pop coming home from somewhere and she started quick on a half walk and half run out across the yard to meet him, calling “Hi there! I’ve been waiting for you a long time....”

It was a terribly nice thought to think, I thought. Only I knew that if that old man ever left Sugar Creek, it would be awful lonesome around here for a long time, and it sorta seemed like we needed him here even worse than his wife did up there.

From Sarah Paddler’s grave in the shade of the big pine tree, we went all the way across the cemetery, winding around a little to get to the old maple where last night I had shone my flashlight all around looking for signs of a human quail or a human turtledove.

There we stopped in the friendly shade and lay down in the tall grass to hold a meeting to help us decide what to do next. While we were lying there in seven different directions, chewing the juicy ends of bluegrass and timothy and wild rye, Big Jim gave a special order which was, “I would like each of us except Poetry and Dragonfly to give a quail whistle.”

“Why?” Little Tom Till wanted to know.