Retsbol Rises: An Abenaki Lobster Tale – excerpt
Ani was anxious to get started, but unfortunately the sandbar was barely apparent, as the tide was still receding. There was nothing they could do but wait for the path to the island to connect once the tide had gone out farther. Several signs, which had to have been newly planted, dotted the landscape. They read,
BEACHES CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
NO SWIMMING, WADING, OR BOATING
PER ORDER OF THE TOWN OF BAR HARBOR
Roonie picked up a rock and hurled it into the water and then jumped back when a few good-sized lobsters sprung out of the water to capture whatever had interrupted their swimming below the surface. Both girls screamed.
“Leaping lobsters!” cried Roonie.
“You’re not kidding,” Ani said.
“I think I want to go back home,” Eliza said.
“What are you kids doing?” a man in uniform said, causing all three to jump again and turn away from the water. He was a reservist sent to watch the area and keep civilians from crossing over to Bar Island. No one answered.
He repeated himself sternly this time. “I said, what are you doing here?”
All three spoke at once. “Nothing, not anything, nothing at all.”
“You’re not supposed to be here so get along home now.”
“But we need to get over to Bar Island, sir,” Ani said.
“Well, I’m afraid that won’t be possible, little lady.”
“Tony?” said Roonie. “Tony Seymour? It’s me, Roonie, Roonie Jay Cyr. You were our paper boy, 43 James Street, remember?”
“Roonie! Wow, it is you. You’ve really grown up. I barely recognized you. Who are your friends?”
Roonie introduced Ani and Eliza. The girls said hello. Ani was impatient to get to the island as she could see the sandbar emerging from the receding water and getting larger. Soon they would be able to cross over and then the clock would really begin to tick because the sandbar wouldn’t last forever. Ani nudged Roonie and gave him a hurry-up-and-convince-this-guy-to-let-us-go look.
Eliza grinned. “Isn’t it funny that Roonie would know you? He just seems to know everybody and everything on MDI. Isn’t that right, Ani?”
Ani matched Eliza’s grin with her own. “Yes it is. In fact, ever since we got here a few weeks ago, Roonie has been an excellent tour guide.”
“Excellent,” Eliza said.
“That’s right, I have been,” Roonie said.
“He was going to take us over to Bar Island. That’s why we’re here,” Eliza said. “We were so hoping that Roonie would be able to take us there. I just love a sandbar, don’t you?”
“Love it, yeah,” said Ani. Tony frowned.
“What do you say, Tony? I mean Captain Seymour?”
“I’m not a captain, Roonie,” Tony said. “Only a sergeant.”
“I’m sure you’ll be a captain soon,” Roonie said. “Do you think I can take the girls over there real quick? I promise we will come right back.” Tony hesitated and stared at the kids.
“We so want to see the island. We can be really, really, really speedy,” Ani said.
“I could get in trouble, big trouble.”
“You won’t get into any trouble because we will be back before you know it. Please?” Roonie said.
“All right, but you need to wait until I walk over to the other corner, okay?”
“Thanks, Sergeant Seymour.” Tony smiled and moved away from them. After a few strides, he turned back to ask Roonie to say hello to his parents for him, but the kids had already run off and were halfway across the sandbar.