Recap: Mr. Burr’s friend came by with instructions for Ezra. Dovid is afraid of Mr. Burr and his friend. Dovid was playing outside, and Miriam asked Yishai to go in to calm the baby so she could lie down. Yishai assumed Dovid went with his father, and Ezra assumed Dovid was with Yishai. Dovid is not in the yard anymore. He is nowhere to be found. All they find in the spot where Dovid was playing are some red feathers from an Indian headdress.
We kept calling until our voices were hoarse, but the only response was the wind whistling through the bare branches of sycamore and oak and birch trees.
The sun was sinking lower in the sky. “Where can he be? Why would he just wander off like this?” Ezra paced the yard.
Miriam called to him from the house. “We have to get a search party. It’s getting dark. Oh, no, it’s snowing so hard now!”
I showed Ezra the feathers I’d found.
“Don’t show those to Miriam. She’ll go crazy. It’s feathers from an Indian headdress.”
“Are there Indians near here?”
“There’s a settlement a few miles down the river. Could be there were some of them scouting here. They come sometimes looking for jobs or to fish. We don’t have the best relations with the tribe. They wanted us to leave.” Ezra is pacing back and forth.
“I’m going to ride into town and ask the sheriff to get a search party.” He raced towards his horse.
I went inside. Miriam was crying hysterically. “I can’t believe it. He’s just gone.”
I felt the worst. It was my fault. I’d left him outside assuming he went with his father. I took out my T’hilim and davened from the depths of my heart. “Please, Hashem, let my nephew be okay. Please bring Dovid home to us.”
The baby was screaming in her crib. Miriam ignored the baby and just kept pacing around the house crying. “I can’t believe it. Where is my Dovid?”
I lifted Devorah from her cradle and rocked her. “She’s hungry,” I said. “You have to feed her.”
Mechanically Miriam took the baby into her bedroom. When she was done feeding her, she asked me to take her back.
I burped her and walked around with her, trying to calm her crying.
“This is her fussy time but I can’t.” Miriam sank onto a chair and burst into tears.
I walked back and forth, patting Devorah’s back. Holding her helped me. I kept davening nonstop that Hashem should help us. Devorah’s cries gradually lessened into a whimper, and then she was breathing evenly, asleep on my shoulder.
I gently eased her back into her crib and then I picked up my T’hilim and put it on the table near Miriam.
She looked up. She stared at the T’hilim and then she opened it and began to recite them. I kept saying them and asking Hashem to bring Dovid back unharmed.
Just then, we heard hoofbeats. Ezra burst into the house. “I have a big group of men who are going to help us find Dovid.” His voice cracked. His eyes were wild with worry.
I wanted to join them, but Miriam begged me to stay with her. “Please, I can’t stay here alone. I’ll go crazy.”
Devorah was crying again. I sighed and went to pick her up. Then I sat back down, holding Devorah, as the sound of the galloping horses receded into the distance.
The night wore on. I sat in the rocking chair, learning and praying and waiting. I kept listening for a horse and praying that it would be Ezra with Dovid.
Miriam had fallen asleep in the chair where she was saying T’hilim. It was three in the morning and there was no sign of Ezra.
I thought of something Mama taught me when I was around eight years old, and I was afraid to perform the part the teacher gave me to recite in the class performance. She said you have to picture yourself doing it. Keep that picture in your mind and that positive picture is a sign of your emunah. Hashem will help you achieve it. You’ll see. I closed my eyes and pictured myself standing in front of the class reciting the speech the teacher wanted me to memorize. I had terrible stage fright, but picturing myself doing it really helped. The day of the performance, I read the whole speech with no mistakes.
Now, that same feeling of terror spread through me. I tried visualizing Ezra walking in the door with Dovid.
I must have dozed off. I woke to the sound of hoofbeats.
Then there was a frantic knock on the door. I rushed to open it but to my great disappointment Mrs. Blennerhassett stood in the doorway with her two sons, Dominic and Harman. “Please, please let us in,” she said.
To be continued…