S: The Adventures of Ryan and Housley
BC: For Ryan, with love Gamma
FC: The Adventures of Ryan and Housely by Gail Potts
1: "Gamma?" “Yes sweetheart.” “Tell me a story.” “O.K. Who should it be about?” “Me and my best friend.” “And what's your best friends name?” “Housley.” That is how the stories began. . .
2: The phone was ringing and I could hear my mom answer it. I stayed in bed enjoying the fact that I didn't have to get up, because today was the first day of summer vacation. Mom sounded pretty excited as she talked on the phone and the next thing I knew she was yelling at me to “get up, get dressed and hurry down for breakfast!” | Best Friends
3: Mom had pancakes cooking on the griddle as I scooted up to the kitchen table. "What's the hurry mom?” I asked. I wanted to be lazy today. “An old friend from college called this morning,” she explained. “We were best friends at school and I haven't heard from her since. She and her family just moved back. They bought the old Miller farm and invited us to come visit.” I would have rather stayed home and played with my friends, but I had never been to a farm, so I decided not to argue.
4: We drove about an hour and when we turned off the highway onto an old dirt road I started getting excited. The whole area seemed to be fenced in. I saw horses, cows, donkeys and goats, and when we got to the front of the house there were chickens everywhere. As soon as mom stopped the car a women came running out of the house and they hugged and laughed and hugged some more. When I got out of the car mom introduced us and we were invited in to the house.
5: The house seemed really old to me and although it smelled kinda funny, it felt friendly, and I didn't mind being there. I heard the back door open and slam shut and in walked a boy about my age wearing dirty blue jeans with straw in his hair. His mom introduced him and I never would have thought this boy named Housley would become my best friend.
6: Housley's mom asked him to take me outside and show me around, although he agreed, I could tell he wasn't really happy about it. I'm sure he had other things he would rather do than entertain a city girl like me. He was nice, asked if I had ever been to a farm, if I like animals, and if I ever rode a horse or fed chickens. In fact, he asked me so many questions I can't even remember them all.
7: First, we went to see the horses. Housley had his own horse named Star, probably because he had a white mark on his head that looked just like a star. Housley had some sugar in his pocket that he gave to me and told me to hold it out so the horse would eat it. I was a little nervous, but Housley said the horse would not hurt me. So I held my hand out and sure enough the horse came over took it out of my hand and I hardly felt him.
8: Next, we went to see the goats. Housley told me they would eat anything and when they started to nibble on my shoe laces I believed him. Then it was off to the pond to see the geese and ducks. Housley said he swam in that pond and the ducks and geese didn’t mind. I thought if we ever came back here I would bring my swimsuit and give it a try. Then it was off to the pig pen . . . yuck, yuck, yuck! I could not believe that they liked to roll around in all that mud, and when Housley told me they ate garbage I thought he was kidding, until he showed me the pail that was sitting by the gate. Yuck, yuck, yuck!
9: The cows were in the field grazing, with some baby calves and I really liked seeing them. Housley took me to the barn full of mounds of hay, a tractor and four cats. He told me the cats slept in the barn and kept the mice out. I tried to pick one up but she hissed at me. Housley said they were not pets, so they were a little wild. I felt kinda bad about that because I really wanted to hold one.
10: As we were leaving the barn I saw something running towards us, then Housley yelled NOOOOO, but it was too late. I found myself on the ground being licked in the face by a huge black and brown dog. I started laughing as Housley was doing his best to pull the dog off me, then Housley started laughing too. The dog’s name was Bruno. Housley said he loves company. He explained that everyone around the farm was so busy they don't always have time to give Bruno the attention he wants. I wasn’t hurt, but I had two big dirty paw marks on my clean jeans, and my face was sticky from his wet tongue. Mom and I stayed the rest of the day at the farm. We ate lunch while Housley and I talked about school, teachers and friends.
11: When mom said it was time to go I really didn't want to, but off to the car I went dutifully. Before we drove away, Housley smiled at me and said "your o.k. for a girl." On the drive home I told mom I would like to go back to the farm to see Housely, and all the animals again soon. She just smiled and I knew she had a great time too!
13: Mom took me to the farm many times that summer, she never had trouble getting me up to go and I usually was not ready to leave when it was time to return home. I learned how to milk a cow, ride a horse wrestle a pig and how to keep Bruno from knocking me down. Housley and I went swimming in the pond many times. The ducks and geese did not seem to mind our being in the water with them. There was a time that I got in between a mother goose and her baby, that goose chased me all over the barn yard. Housley tried to help, but he was laughing so hard he wasn't much help at all. I finally reached the back door of the farm house and ran inside, the goose headed back to her baby and as Housley started towards the porch, still laughing, I closed the door on him and locked it.
14: While I was sitting at the kitchen table trying to catch my breath, Housley's mom asked me what happened. I told her about the wild goose and she asked "what was Housley doing?" I told her he was laughing. She asked "where he was now?" I told her I locked him out. She smiled and said "serves him right!" She got me a glass of lemonade and a cookie then went looking for Housley. Mom came into the kitchen and I told her the story about the wild goose and the laughing Housley.
15: It wasn't long before Housley and his mom came into the kitchen. Housley told me he was sorry about laughing at me, but by the look in his eyes I knew he was still laughing inside. The four of us sat at the table, drank lemonade, ate cookies, told stories and laughed. Housley asked me if I had ever been fishing. When I told him no he asked if I would like to go. As long as we wouldn't be near the wild goose I was ready to go anywhere. So off we went to the fishing pond.
16: I wasn't crazy about putting a live worm on a hook, but I could not talk Housley into doing it for me. He said "if you want to learn how to fish you are going to learn to do it right." It wasn't long before I could put a worm on the hook without saying yuck. Soon I caught my first fish. Of course it was the size of my gold fish at home, but I still felt proud. Housley caught the second fish and it was a whopper! He struggled reeling it in. In fact, that fish started pulling him off the bank toward the pound. Housley tripped on a tree root then landed in the water, but he held on and pulled that fish out. As for me, I sat on the bank and laughed. Housley came out of the water looked at me with a frown and said "we're even!"
17: It was the last week of summer and school was starting the following Monday. I was sitting on the porch reading a book when mom came out and said she had something to tell me. She said Housley’s dad had to get a job in town and they would be selling the farm. I could feel the stinging in my eyes. The sting you get right before you cry, but mom took me in her arms and told me that there was a good side to what was about to happen. Housley’s parents had bought a house right down the street from ours. And, Housley would be going to my school. I knew I would miss the farm, but I would love having my best friend right down the street.
18: It was great having Housley live just down the street. He went to my school too, but I rarely saw him there. We didn't have the same classes and he was busy goofing off with his friends during lunch, but we did hang out after school. We did homework together, and played with the other neighborhood kids. There were two brothers, twins, that lived next door to me. They were three years younger and real pests. Their names were Terry and Gary. They were the kind of boys that would ring your door bell and run and hide when you answered. | The Haunted House
19: They would call you on the phone and ask "is your refrigerator running?" When you said "yes," they would reply "well you better go get it," then hang up laughing. Housley liked them because they were always ready to play baseball or basketball with him. I was never good at sports so I would go just to cheer them on. One evening when Housley and I were heading home from the park we saw what looked like smoke coming from the chimney of the ol' Thornton house. The reason this seemed strange was because that house had been empty for twenty years and everyone knew it was haunted. Housley headed towards the house and I yelled "what are you doing?" He stopped, turned and said, ”I'm going over to see what is going on, you coming or not?" I just looked at him and then I said "you're nuts if you think I'm going into that ol' house!"
20: Housley grinned at me, and then he did something that became a real part of our friendship. He put his hands under his arm pits, flapped his arms and said cluck, cluck, cluck. I said "I am not chicken! I'm smart!” He just smiled and continued his clucking. Well, I finally agreed to go and off we went to what I thought would surely be the death of us. We both hesitated as we got to the front of the house. We walked slowly and very quietly up the walk and the steps and stood on the porch. When Housley turned the knob on the door it swung opened. I jumped and almost screamed. There was just enough light coming into the windows that we could see our way around.
21: It was a big ol' house with lots of cobwebs and mice scurrying around. Housley whispered "Look!” I looked where he was pointing and saw footprints. I whispered "Let's get out of here why we still can." He said, "No let’s see where they lead." The footprints lead us into a large room, probably the living room. We saw the fireplace and sure enough there was smoke raising up through the chimney. I said, "The fire is out so we don't need to worry about the house burning down so let’s just leave." Housley said, "Just a minute."He started towards the fireplace when all of a sudden two figures jumped out from behind an old couch and yelled BOO! I jumped and screamed and Housley almost fell over trying to get out of the house.
22: As we were running towards the door we heard someone laughing. Housley stopped and turned to me, yes, we both knew that laugh. It was Terry and Gary. Housley motioned me to leave the house, I did and waited outside. Housley waited inside for Gary and Terry to leave. When the two boys started towards the door Housley jumped out and yelled BOO! Those two boys ran out the door and all the way home.
23: The next time we saw Gary and Terry they never said a word about the old Thornton house and neither did we. That would not be the last time we would pull pranks on each other, but I do have to admit it was the best one.
24: When I got up this morning I looked outside my bedroom window and I was really bummed. The sky was not blue it was white, that meant snow. It was October 31, Halloween, one of my favorite times of the year and even though I had gone trick-or-treating more than once in the snow, I didn't like it. | Halloween
25: My head was hanging when I sat at the table for breakfast. Mom asked me what was wrong and I told her I was worried it was going to snow on my favorite day. She went over to the small T.V. we had in the kitchen and turned it on. The newsman said there was a slight chance of snow. I'm not sure if that made me feel better. I wanted him to say there would NOT be any snow tonight. I ate my breakfast, grabbed my lunch and my books and headed off to school. All my friends were talking about costumes and if they could fit their warm sweaters under them in case the snow came. It was a fun day at school, we were too old to wear our costumes to class but we did have treats and funny stories about witches and goblins and pranks done in the past. By the time school was out I didn't care if it snowed or not, I knew I would have fun.
26: Mom said I had to do my homework before dinner, I didn't argue, it was the same rule every year, so upstairs I went to sit at the desk in my room. Even though I had trouble keeping my mind on what I was doing I completed my work before dinner. I had just finished eating when the phone rang. It was Housley wanting to know when I would be ready to go. I told him to give me ten minutes and the doorbell rang exactly ten minutes later.
27: Housley was dressed like a pirate, eye patch and all. He said he couldn't figure out a way to have a wooden leg, but I thought he looked great. I was dressed like the scare crow from the Wizard of Oz. I loved it, but the hay made me itch and I left a trail of straw everywhere I went. We had a lot of fun. Sometimes I think Housley and I enjoy the costumes as much as the candy -- just sometimes.
28: We went up to one house and saw four little kids looking out the window. They were laughing, talking and pointing and seemed to be having a good time. Housley and I thought they must be having a party at their house. When we rang the doorbell, the kids and their dad answered holding out a bowl full of candy. We took some, thank them and off the kids ran to look out the window again. Housley asked the man why the kids were not trick-or-treating. He said they didn't have enough money for both candy and costumes. The kids decided they would have as much fun watching the other kids, so we got the candy.
29: When Housley and I got back to my house, we talked about those kids. We were wondering what we could do for them, should we take them some of our candy, no, they had plenty of that. Suddenly Housley said I got it! “Don't you have some costumes that you have worn before?” “I know I do,” I replied. “What if we get them and take them over for those kids, and next year they will be able to trick-or-treat?” asked Housely. I thought it was a great idea. So Housley ran home and I headed for the basement.
30: Mom came downstairs and asked what I was doing. When I told her she showed me where the costumes were. She told me to take them all, they were too small for me and the kids could share them for a few years, I met Housley on my way out the door and he had a big box too. We could hardly wait to take them to the kids. When we reached the house we knocked and when they all came laughing along with their dad we just handed them the boxes.
31: It was so much fun watching them open up the boxes and seeing their faces, they thanked us and we headed home. Housley and I didn't talk on our way home. We just smiled because we both knew we would always count this as the best Halloween ever!
32: The Magical Ship
33: Housley and I had so many adventures over the years. I remember going up to the mountains to visit my grandma and grandpa and we ended up going on a horse rescue mission. Then there was the time we took the train to Glenwood Springs from Denver and we made friends with this little old lady who was traveling alone. She had her very cute little dog with her and during the trip the dog disappeared and we ended up tracking down the dog knapper. But, my favorite adventure was our trip to Florida and scuba diving. It was our senior year and my mom and Housley’s mom said it would be alright for us to go and visit my great grandparents in Florida during spring break. Of course while we were there we wanted to go to Disney World, and then Busch Gardens to learn to scuba dive. I have to admit I was not excited about the scuba diving, but if I would have said anything I knew what would happen. You got it! Housley would have put his hands under his armpits cluck away like a chicken, so I kept my fear to myself.
34: We had taken three scuba lessons and felt that we had everything down pat. So off we went with a tour out to an area in the ocean that was supposed to have a sunken ship. It was mid-afternoon before we saw the ship. It was something to see, covered with seaweed and fish swimming all around it. I was a little nervous the way Housley just swam in and out of the ship. I stayed on the outside of it. At one point, I saw Housley on one side of the ship and I was on the other. As I swam by I noticed he motioned for me to stop. I stopped and waited. He watched me and then motioned for me to move on. I did, not knowing what was going on.
35: I went around to where he was, and he just looked at me then motioned for me to go around the ship again. I did and I could tell something was freaking him out, and when Housley got freaked out I got freaked out. I went over to where he was again and he motioned for us to go up so we did. When we surfaced he took out his breathing tube and told me the strangest story. After a couple minutes I told him lets go down and see if it happens again. So down we went. This time when I would swim on one side of the ship and Housley was on the other I would turn my head and look at my legs. I could not believe my eyes. I no longer had legs!
36: From my waist down I was a mermaid with a beautiful, sparkling, blue and green tail. It scared me and yet I couldn't stop looking. As I swam to the end of the ship and headed over to Housley I looked back and my legs were normal. So, I swam back over to the far side of the ship and sure enough the transformation took place again. Housley and I went up and boarded our boat and never mentioned what happened to anyone. In fact we didn't even talk about it until we met for dinner that night.
37: After dinner we went back to great grandma and grandpa's house, and we had decided not to say anything to them either. We had a fun evening of playing games and talking. The next morning we flew back home and on the way we knew this would be something we would keep to ourselves because we knew it truly was a magical ship and a magical moment between best friends. THE END
38: “Oh gamma that was a good story!”
39: Gail Potts