a story for Violet
by Joshua Coffman
Europe liked to play outside. She was the type of girl that spent her
time in the woods building forts and exploring. Her favorite part of the
day was sunset. She enjoyed seeing the darkness and the shadows in the
woods, then it made her happy to see the lights from inside her house.
It seemed like they invited her back inside to the warmth.
She also loved the rain. Maybe some people thought that the rain was not fun, but Europe absolutely loved the rain. She would put her boots on and run out into the cold weather and dance in the rain every opportunity that she got.
Garfield was her older brother. He loved to read books and stay inside, but he was always nice to Europe, he always told her his favorite stories and they would sometimes, when it was warm outside, sit out in one of her forts and he would read her story after story sitting on the ground in her little fort in the woods.
Europe also had a sister named Vera. Vera was too little to read and wasn’t old enough to go into the woods yet. Vera was very kind to her older siblings though. She would sit quietly by Garfield and rest her head against him while he read his stories to her.
None of them were shy, Europe, Garfield and Vera were always very kind to other people and loved to ask questions. They were quick to make friends and were thoughtful. Even Vera loved to give birthday gifts and draw pictures for other people.
It was a rainy day and Europe was excited to go play outside. She grabbed her boots and little yellow rain jacket. Garfield was playing a game with his friends at the kitchen table, and Vera was sitting under the table making her little toys into a kingdom of handsome princes and beautiful princesses.
The rain was pouring very hard and there were already little streams forming in the yard, water scurrying away to the ditch. The clouds made the afternoon seem much later. But Europe didn’t care about the dark, she ran outside and splashed through the puddles happy to be outside after a day being inside.
She made her way through their yard into the woods and listened to the rain falling from the trees, splashing onto her hood. It was so much fun to play in the cold rain.
Europe kept splashing her way through the woods, chasing puddles and streams. But suddenly something flashed in front of her. A loud crack. The ground shook and Europe became very afraid. She had never seen anything like this. There in front of her was a tree that was on fire!
Dead leaves and little branches rained down on her and she was so frightened, she just stood still. She just looked at the tree that was on fire, scared and alone.
Quickly she gathered her thoughts and began to run back to the house to tell her father what had happened in the woods. She ran so fast that she ran right out of her boots. The cold water splashed up and the mud stuck to her toes as she ran all the way back to her home.
She threw the door open and shouted to her father. He came from his office and she jumped into his arms and told him about the fire and the earth shaking. Garfield at once wanted to see the tree.
Her father quickly explained to Europe about lightning and they quickly put donned their rain clothes to go trek out to the burning tree.
They walked out to the woods and found Europe’s water filled boots. They kept walking until they got to the tree. It was still smoldering even in the pouring rain. Orange flames peeked out of the tree showing where the lightning had struck not too far away from Europe.
The rain would eventually put out the fire so the group headed back home. Garfield was bummed that he didn’t get to see the lightning happen. Him and his friends wanted to stay out longer and see if another bolt of lightning would strike.
When they got back to the house, Europe told Vera the story. Mother and father, Garfield and his friends all listened as she told them about the ground shaking and the bright flash of light that shone in front of her.
After the story was told, Father prayed and thanked God for keeping Europe safe in the woods. “Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your protection for Europe today. Thank you for keeping her safe and guiding her to see your mighty power and control over the weather. May she always remember your omnipotence and protecting love.”
After that, Europe always went out in the rain hoping to see another lightning strike. She told the story over and over as she grew older to her friends and when she became a mother she told the story to her children about how she had seen the fire in the rain.