everyone fed, it was time to build the shelter for the night. The group
had tried to build a small shelter out of the remaining canoes and tree
branches. They could huddle in it together at night to stay warm.
Jared and Adam soon had all the youth working to build a shelter for the
night. A pretty basic shelter called a lean-to.
It had two upright poles, a cross member lashed to them at each end. Once
that was in place, a few long poles are laid so that one end is on the ground
with the other end on top of the cross member creating around a 30-degree
angle. A tarp can be put on the poles as a roof, and the ground covered
in spruce boughs not only to insulate but also give a little cushion.
Traditionally, the open side faces the inside of the camp area and the
fire. The people lay with their feet towards the angled end and their
heads towards the fire. It's a quick shelter which can quickly house
people during inclement weather.
In the Rubbermaid
tubs, there were numerous tarps and blankets. Jared figured out who still
had blankets or a sleeping bag and those who needed some temporary
bedding. After everyone had piled fresh spruce, Jared showed them how to
fold the tarp in half and put the folded end towards the back of the
lean-to. If it was cool tonight, they could wrap themselves in the
blankets and crawl into between the tarp flaps. That would keep all the
heat from their bodies inside and keeping them warm.
It was warm during
the day but cool at night. They coveralls they brought were a little big
for a couple of the young men, but they were appreciated. The colour of
the coveralls was bright yellow which also made it easier to spot people if
they wandered too far from camp.
The next priority
was to ensure enough wood was gathered to burn until rescue the next day.
Jim and the adults from the group were watching the activity while sitting on a
couple of logs near the fire. The Inspector got up and filled everyone's
coffee cup up from the pot sitting next to the fire.
One of the adults
was named Jerry and he commented, "These guys are incredible. The
young guys we had with us are really good kids but the enthusiasm they have
doing things with Jared is unbelievable."
"Jared, Liam, Adam, Conner, Patrick, Mark, Troy and Tyler are all very
special young men. Three are paramedics, two are police officers, three
are at school. This area is Jared's and Adam's traditional lands.
Jared's family has a cabin a few hours from here."
these are tough inner-city kids? I mean being police and..." asked the other
man named Ben.
"They don't care.
Jared's group is a family, and something they share in common is many were
abandoned when they were younger."
"I didn't mean
anything by my comments," added Ben quickly. "They are good
kids, just really rough around the edges."
"Of all the people your group could've had rescue them, this is probably
the best-equipped bunch of guys to have done it. Just look at the way
they relate to them and the rapport they've developed already."
Adam was busy
around the other side of the fire cooking. He had a large frying pan out
and had some canola oil heating in it. Ben and Jerry were watching him as
he began to make a large dough ball, flatten it, and then throw it on the
frying pan. Jim smiled at Adam when they made eye contact.
going to have fresh bannock for a snack when they are done gathering the
wood," said Adam. "Would you dig the jam out one of the tubs
for me please, Jim?"
problem." Jim got up and moved to the tubs. "Is this
Grandfather Tom's recipe?"
Chinese secret on Bannock. Flour, baking powder, little salt and sugar,
water and oil. I personally prefer the baked bannock or some nights we
cook the dough over an open fire like a hotdog."
like fun too," replied Jim as he was looking through the tubs.
"Adam, what do
you do for a living?" asked Jerry.
basic training at the academy and will be graduating as a police officer
"You say that
likes it a bad thing."
"No, I didn't
mean it that way. Just it's not good relations between the inner city and
police. Especially these kids."
Adam flipped the
bannock in the frying pan. "So you think I
had an easy life growing up?"
with the fact I'm indigenous and not white. Let's add to that I lived out
here in the boonies, fought with my parents, got mixed up in the wrong crowd
and even tried to commit suicide," Adam stated very casually.
"Oh my God,
I'm sorry," said Jerry.
"I ended up in
a severely abusive relationship with an older man who took advantage of
me. And on top of everything else, I'm gay."
Adam. I've never learned to keep my mouth closed," said Jerry
you this because I did have a loving mom and grandfather who did everything they could to save me. But,
it took someone like Jared to get me back on the right path in life. That
is what you two are trying to do with these 10 young men. Save them,
Both Ben and Jerry
impossible to you at times, but you kept trying."
Again, both said,
Adam stood up and
looked directly at the two men. "In many ways, you will never know
how many people you've succeeded at getting on a different path in life.
It can be very frustrating, especially when you have a disaster happen like
losing two canoes."
Ben looked at Adam
with deep thought. "How did you know?"
"Part of my
training is as a Medicine Man, and it's how I would feel."
started Ben. "It doesn't mean we don't appreciate your help."
Jim jumped into the
conversation now, "You two need to realize something about this group of
young men. Every one of them is an old soul and special. They don't
have malice or hatred or condescension towards anyone. I've seen them in
action before. The only thing they do is help people,
"But we look
like idiots now," Ben blurted out.
"To you guys
for starters. Just a bunch of city people who couldn't even do a simple
canoe trip," said Jerry as he looked at his feet. "The kids
will never trust us again."
Adam reached down
and flipped the bannock one more time. "When a warrior falls in the
face of a test, there is one thing they still are as they heal up and
rest. A warrior. What I see are two men who are very committed to
doing good and helping people. Every road has potholes, and you hit
one. Now, do you give up and stop your journey because of it or do you
become wiser and continue on?"
guess," mumbled Jerry.
I've heard louder voices from children who have skinned their knees."
Jerry said it
louder this time. "Wiser."
you? Say it together."
Ben and Jerry said
it again together.
Adam looked at Jim,
"They yell like old ladies."
Ben and Jerry stood
up and yelled as loud as they could.
Adam took the
bannock out of the pan and put it onto a platter. He placed another on
onto the frying pan. He looked at the two men, "Now believe in it
when you say it. Mistakes are a part of life. If you don't make
mistakes you will never learn. If you never learn, you will never
change. Yell it again."
The two men yelled
Three of the young
men from their group ran over and asked, "What are you yelling about,
Adam answered for
them. "Ben and Jerry think they let you guys down and disgraced themselves
by this accident happening."
The one young man's
face scrunched up. "What the fuck are you talking about? You
two saved us all."
started Ben. "We brought you out here and the canoe flipped.
We lost it and we lost another one trying to save the first one. We
could've lost one of you."
What you did was to get us to this island, and then keep us safe until help
arrived," replied Isaac. "It wasn't your fault Linc and Ian
flipped their canoe. But, you did get them
safely here - saving their lives."
"Ben, what I
see are two men who have done a lot to organize this trip, and they even
organized surviving until you were found. You didn't lose one person, and
no one was even seriously injured. That has earned my respect," said
"Listen to the
man," said Isaac. "He speaks the truth."
"So you guys aren't mad or disappointed?" asked Jerry.
Another young man
stepped forward, "All of us guys respect both of you. No one else
has time for us and you brought us here. Jesus may have walked on water
but you two fly above it."
Adam flipped the
bannock. "Ben, Jerry; are you two listening?"
The two adults of
the group had a new sense of confidence about them now. "Yes, we
Adam poked the
cooking bannock with his finger, and then looked up at the young guys.
"Does a duck
float?" replied Isaac.
Adam cut up the
first bannock and put it on a plate. He showed them how to grab a piece,
cover it in jam to eat it. The bannock was a big hit with the group at
the fire. The rest of the group must have heard someone mention food as
they came running to eat as well. Adam made four more frying-pan sized
bannock before everyone had enough of a snack.
Jared dug into one
of the tubs and grabbed a few towels. "Anyone want to go swimming? A
five-minute walk from here is shallow water made of a sandbar on the northeast
of the island. It's shallow, warm water."
The young men in
the group were all looking at each other and then their adults. One
finally spoke, "Some of us don't know how to swim and we don't have
Liam smiled at the
group. "What's a swimsuit? We never use them."
"The water is
very shallow there. The non-swimmers can play around in the water up to
their waist" Jared added. "Plus, we will be there to watch over
One of the city
kids spoke out loudly, "Isn't that gay to swimming naked with guys
forward, "Our people have been swimming naked in this river for
centuries. It was the settlers who brought false modesty and swim suits
with them. But, its your choice."
Jared turned to
Adam, "Can you find some soap root? We'll look for some early
flowers to give it some scent."
The one young man
Isaac asked, "Soap root? You pulling our
"Come with me Isaac, we'll find soap root together. Everything we
need to survive is given to us by Mother Earth if you know where to look."
Isaac looked at Ben
guys. If you want to go swimming, go with them. Please do as they
tell you," said Ben.
"What are you
two going to do?" asked Isaac.
to stay here by the fire, drinking some coffee," replied Jerry. He
looked towards Jim and Colt. "And you two?"
Colt looked at Jim
for guidance. "I'll stay here but go ahead, Colt."
"No sir, but thank you for the offer to let me join. I'll
Ben and Jerry
watched the group leave; finally Ben said,
"Should we go to make sure they are ok?"
"If you want, we can go. But, when it comes
to your group being safe I trust my life with Jared's tribe."
"In that case,
let's fill the coffee cups up again," replied Jerry.
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Jared the Paramedic III ~ Redemption
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The adults, Jared
and the Inspector were standing together near the boats discussing the
plans. The medical triage went well, and other than few people being
hungry along with some bumps and bruises, they were all in good health.
The food they brought had taken care of the first problem very quickly.
There were additional police jet boats now at Tom's Marina for use.
There were debates
over the best way to handle the situation but finally, Jared had ended it when
he stated to the Inspector, "We have all the people here safe, food, and
building shelters around a fire so we can spend a safe night to evacuate in the
morning. Or, the police boats being driven by people who don't know the
river from the marina may depart now, and arrive here
after dark. We will then load everyone and everything onto the boats to
go back downriver in the dark of night."
Jim looked at the
ground, and then at Jared. "What about bringing the boats up tonight
to position for the morning?"
"Jim, they can
depart at 6 or 7 in the morning as the sun rises, and
be here by noon to load. That's about right to get everyone up, fed and
to clean up the campsite by then. You get a jet boat stuck on a sandbar
in the dark, it will be all night before they get it off."
enough shallow rock beds too," Jim said aloud as he pondered.
Jim was lifting the
phone to his ear when Jared lightly touched his arm. Jared closed his
eyes and stood still for a moment. When he opened his eyes, he said,
"Grandfather Tom will come with the boats tonight or in the morning to
ensure they get here safe. He thinks your men would be good on a lake,
but they are too inexperienced for the river. But he will respect your
stared at Jared. "Damn, that works better than the satellite
Jared chuckled at
the comment and then said, "Close your eyes for a moment." The
Inspector closed his eyes. Jared moved his hand to where he was in direct
contact with Jim's skin... and they linked together. Suddenly, they were
looking through Tom's eyes at the boats getting ready to launch. The men
were running around, ensuring they had all the equipment loaded in each boat.
One boat was in the water, but the engine was running rough. Tom
knew Jared and the Inspector were looking through his eyes, and he scanned over
the entire scene.
In their heads, Tom
spoke, "They are good men with big hearts, but disorganized. The
boat in the water, I know that sound... stale fuel. Some of these boats
haven't been serviced from winter storage yet. The Staff Sergeant is trying
to figure out who can drive the boats and what they should be taking. It
would be best to leave in the morning after I have time to help them get sorted
out. I will come with them in the morning."
sighed at the disorganization.
"Thank you Grandfather, the Inspector will be phoning with his
decision and directions in a few minutes," said Jared. He broke the
connection between the three men.
"It's an easy
decision now Jared, they can come in the morning because of the time you and
your crew brought us with your equipment," Jim said. The Inspector
phoned the Staff Sergeant and issued instructions regarding leaving in the
morning. He also surprised the Staff Sergeant when he made references to
the conditions of the boats, and even what he was doing to get them
organized. His instructions were very clear, as was the instruction to
consider Tom an expert and do as he recommended to get organized. When
the Staff Sergeant hung up, he walked over to Tom.
Before he could say
anything, Tom smiled and asked, "How's Jim doing at that end?"
already been talking to him?"
"We go back a
long way, and there is more to communication than talking."
The Staff Sergeant
stared at the old man for a long moment. "What do we need to get done
to get on the water?"
Tom didn't hesitate
as he said, "Call them all over here and let's have a huddle."
The Staff Sergeant
called everyone over, and Tom stated very clearly, "We are departing at
0600 hrs, and we have until 2230 tonight at the latest to get organized before
the sun sets." Tom was very clear as he assigned people to work with
the marina staff to check oils, grease the motors, top off batteries, stabilize
fuel, change fuel filters, and get the equipment distributed. Anything
extra they needed they grabbed off the shelves of the store and Tom would
figure out later who to bill. A local church group of ladies came to the
marina with sandwiches, chilli, and drinks for everyone around supper
time. They had also set the K-12 school up with emergency cots and beds
in the gym for the policemen to sleep.
Tom was standing on
the dock, giving direction when the Staff Sergeant approached him.
"Tom, were you in the military?"
"No sir, I
sir – I work for a living. It's Dan."
Tom reached out
with both hands and took one of Dan's into his tightly, "Dan, It is a pleasure to meet you. I am Tom."
A young man stepped
forward, "Sergeant, this is not just Tom, this is Grandfather Tom of my
tribe, Spirit Walker, Most Sacred Medicine Man of the People, Most Sacred
Healer of the People, Speaker for the Council of Elders, Chairman of Tribal
Council, and Sacred Messenger of the Creator Himself."
The Staff Sergeant
stood straight and gave Grandfather a salute. Grandfather nodded his head
forward to acknowledge it.
"Tom, I had no
Dan, today I'm just the owner of the marina who is using his best skills to
organize people who are trying to help other people," said Tom very
understand why you are so good at organizing people to get something
done." Tom then looked at one of the boats and said something to the
young man standing next to him in another language. The young man
answered and moved down to the dock to one of the police boats. He spoke
to the officers in the boat and together they worked the portable fuel tank.
Dan looked at Tom
with a 'what?' look on his face.
the portable tank without releasing the pressure first. That particular
motor has a habit of not starting because of a pressure lock in the line."
"And the young man not only explained it but is showing the members how to
do it right?"
"Tom, I was
skeptical at first and thought you were interfering
but I was wrong. I've watched your workers mixing with the police
officers, gently correcting and teaching them all kinds of things they should
have been taught on the boat operators course.
"It is the way
to get things done properly, and only having to do it once."
believe the community either, feeding us and setting up the cots."
"Dan, many of
you policemen see us as just natives, poor people or backwoods
hicks. Today, you are learning there is more to see when you stop to
Dan exhaled slowly,
"I understand that Tom. I apologize."
Tom stopped and
seemed to stare upriver for a moment. "Dan, they are having supper
now and enjoying themselves."
The Staff Sergeant
looked at the old man and said, "How do you know that?"
to get a phone call too from Jim the Inspector."
you..." his sentence was cut off by the phone ringing.
answer than Dan," said Tom with a smirk, as he stepped off to look at one
of the boats.
Adam, Isaac and a
couple other young men went looking near the swimming area for the plant.
While they were searching, the young men were asking Adam about some of the other
plants in the area. Each question was answered with information that
captured their interest. Adam showed them how to use a stick to dig into
the ground to expose the root, and then how to mash it with a rock. Jared
had collected some flowers in soup pot he brought with him, and they added
some water along with the root. Using his hand to mix it all up the
city kids were amazed at the suds created.
Finally, Jared and
the rest of the tribe stripped off and ran into the water. They started
to chase each other in the shallow area, tackle and wrestle. The group
from the city stood there and watched. The boys were all 17 or 18 and
various nationalities. They had never seen anything like this
before. Patrick came running up to them naked, "Come on guys, come
on in swimming." Within a couple of minutes, they had joined the
rest in the water.
The group played
red rover as well as a form of volleyball using something Jared had woven
together out of bull rushes. Soon enough, Jared and Adam showed everyone
how to wash with the soap root mix. After drying themselves and getting
dressed again, the group headed back to the campsite.
Adam and Troy had
some of the young guys helping them fix supper. It didn't take long for
everyone get a plateful of pasta garlic noodles and smokies. The meal was
all cleaned up by the time the sun began to set.
sitting around the fire drinking some tea, hot chocolate or coffee. One
of the young guys by the name of Evan finally got the nerve to ask Patrick a
question. "When we were swimming, I noticed all you guys had a
tattoo in the same spot. What's that tattoo everyone has on their
Patrick smiled and
without hesitation lifted his shirt so everyone could see. "This is
the protection of the bear. We all wear it as members of Jared's tribe and it marks us as protected from evil. Also if I ever need help, I just need to call out and
someone will come."
protection of the bear?" asked Evan.
"The bear is
very powerful for us, and it is my spirit guide. As a paramedic and
medicine man, I'm a healer and protect people's health," explained Jared.
"Troy and I
have the spirit guides of wolves. We are the protectors of the tribe
members and help those who need it," said Tyler.
It was Patrick's turn,
"My spirit guide is the lynx. Each one of us has a primary spirit
guide with strong characteristics. Liam is the eagle and not only a
protector but a leader."
"This stuff is
real?" asked Evan.
here to change your minds or convince you of anything. But, it's how we
live our lives," said Patrick. All of the
original tribes were given rules to live by:
-Treat the Earth and all that dwell thereon with
-Remain close to the Great Spirit, in all that you do.
-Show great respect for your fellow beings.
-Work together for the benefit of all Mankind.
-Give assistance and kindness wherever needed.
-Do what you know to be right and do not to fall into self-righteousness.
-Look after the well-being of mind and body.
-Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.
-Be truthful and honest at all times and especially be truthful and honest with
-Take full responsibility for your actions."
"Those are the
rules given by the Creator, the Great Spirit to all of us. If they were
followed by everyone, life for so many would be so much better," said
One of the other
young guys spoke up, "Do wolves swim? Last night we heard them
howling over on the mainland."
As if on cue, a
wolf called from across the river. Tyler and Troy stood, lifted their
chins and let loose with a series of wolf howls back at the animal. Not
to be outdone, Liam joined them with the call of an eagle. It was when
Jared let go with a growl of the bear the goosebumps on everyone's skin still
sitting appeared. Patrick roared like a lynx on the attack as Adam
trumpeted like an elk.
After a moment of
quiet, a series of yelps from the mainland came as a reply, followed by the
growl of a bear.
Once again Jared
let go with a series of growls, coughs and grunts. As Jared made the
sounds, each one of them resonated through the bodies of everyone at the
fire. Finally, Jared let loose with an almost deafening roar as Tyler and
quiet for a moment until a single short howl was heard.
Jared looked at
Evan, "This island was announced to the area as protected by the bear and
wolves of the tribe. It is now safe and protected until we leave.
Evan, you have nothing to fear."
"You talked to
the animals?" he asked.
simple terms, we told them as opposed to having a discussion," replied
sure why but I totally believe what you telling
us," said Isaac.
"Is it s'more time yet?" asked Liam with pleading eyes.
Jared put his arm
over his shoulder and pulled him close. "Liam is a chocoholic, and
we've been keeping him from the chocolate bars and marshmallows until we could
all share them."
everyone how to make s'mores, and the city kids
learned quickly. After the snack, they started to get the young men into
bed. As the young people were heading to bed, Ben and Jerry were shocked
when Evan came and gave Jared a big hug. After he did it, he quickly ran
to where he was going to sleep. Isaac was waiting for him and helped him
get undressed and under the blankets.
Jerry leaned over
to Jared, "That is a major breakthrough with
Evan. He's not one to show affection."
Jared had been
surprised when the young man had hugged him, and in that moment, he had probed
Evan's memories. "He's a special young man with so much potential.
It's very fortunate Isaac is with him to help him."
up on that?" asked Jerry.
replied Jared as he reached for Liam's hand. "My husband Liam and I
both understand what they are going through."
shocked both Ben and Jerry.
Patrick and Adam
grasped each other's hands as well. "Boyfriends here."
Troy and Tyler did
the same, "Us too."
"I'm sorry for
my shock," said Ben. "Some of the young men are gay, others
straight, but it's not an issue with any of them."
"Jerry, we are
as the Creator made us and it should not be an issue to anyone," said
"We agree with
all of you. I'm so happy that we met up with you on this trip," said
done a different way I suppose," added Jerry and they all chuckled.
The next hour the
men talked about linking up once everyone got back to the city. Ben and
Jerry wanted to meet the rest of the gang and get a tour of the LGBTQ2 centre
as well. Finally, Jared sent everyone to bed as he piled some extra wood
on the fire.
Liam gently took
Jared into his arms and kissed him. "You're the best kisser."
wonderful today, Jared."
"It's been a
good day, my husband."
"I love you,
After a second
gentle kiss, the two men embraced each other, their heads resting against each
other while enjoying the warmth and heartbeat of the man they loved.
After a moment, they separated but remain holding hands.
Liam raised his
face to the moon, raising his hands skyward with the palms facing up and his
eyes turning white. "Creator, this group of young men are fighting
to get back on the path their lives were intended to travel. Your
messengers ask that you bless this group's eyes so that they may see with love,
bless their mouths so they may speak with love, bless their hearts so that they
may not only give love but receive it, and bless all our hands so that all we
touch feels loved. I beg this as your humble messenger Creator."
Jared smiled at his
husband as Liam finished his prayer and his eyes returned to normal.
After a gentle kiss, they got up and moved to their spot in the lean-to where
they would be sleeping. They had noticed Patrick and Adam were spooned
together as were Troy and Tyler. Liam spooned behind Jared, holding him
tightly before they both fell asleep.
standing in the shadows smiling. He moved forward silently until he was
standing near the fire, facing the two structures. He raised his hands
until his palms were facing the group of sleeping men. "Your eyes
will see more than pain, they will see with clarity and love. Your mouths
will speak with honour and love. Your hearts which have been hurt are
strengthened so that all of you will not only freely give true love but you will allow yourselves to receive it as
well. Your hands will share that love with everyone you touch. Your
feet will carry you to your true potential, and along the path you were meant
to walk. Your mind will have the confidence to achieve your potential.
I have spoken." He dropped his hands to his sides and continued to
watch the sleeping men for a moment before he faded away.
The group slept
late into the morning. They managed to get breakfast cooked and
everything packed away as the rescue boats arrived at the island.
Grandfather Tom was standing in the bow of the lead boat watching, reading the
water, and would raise his right or left arm for the driver to make that
move. The driver had learned earlier that if he didn't make the changes he would usually hit an underwater rock or a
The boats had
travelled downriver and when they came to the junction with the lake, they all
waved their goodbye as Jared's boats broke off to head back to the cabin.
Patrick was standing on the bow of the boat as it was moving into the
dock. Jared suddenly pulled the throttle hard and into a reverse
position. That caused the boat to immediately stop in its own
length. Patrick flew off the bow, skipped on the water twice before
sinking near shore.
losing your touch. That was only a two skipper," yelled Adam from
the other boat.
"I guess I
need more practice," replied Jared. "I'll come around
again. Jim, can you grab the bow rope and be prepared to dock?"
Patrick had made it
to the dock and had climbed out of the water. He promptly stood up,
turned around and dropped his pants while bending over to expose the cheeks of
his ass to Jared. Patrick had a big smile on his face as he looked over
his shoulder to make sure Jared saw him.
a monster, Jared," said Tyler.
you did," as Jared pushed Tyler over the gunnel. The boat pulled up
to the dock, was tied off and the fight was on to get everyone wet. Jim
made off the boat and off the dock safely but Colt
didn't. Troy nailed him with a tackle which took them both off the side
of the dock. It took another ten minutes before the battle was over, and
everyone was wet. Except for Jim. The search base had been packed
up and was just waiting for Jim and Colt to arrive back. Shortly, they
all departed leaving the family to themselves at the cabin.
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