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My harmonica had to be here somewhere. I had it before we arrived at the tent. It was raining cats and wiener dogs! I should have worn my raincoat, but I didn’t know I would be gone so long.
Oh no! I hadn’t told my family I was leaving.
When I realized I’d dropped my harmonica, I thought I could walk outside the tent and find it. I had meandered off in the pouring rain without telling anyone. I was in trouble – in more ways than one!
I had a strong suspicion the doghouse was in my future. My goal was to locate my instrument and return to the tent. Think, Woody, think. If I were a harmonica, where would I be?
Our family had played so much “I Spy” lately that surely I could discover a musical instrument in wilderness. While digging feverishly behind a row of bushes, I felt something under my paw. Could it be? Yes! My beloved harmonica! I played a note.
The note bubbled and gurgled. It sounded like I was playing my harmonica underwater. I tried to shake the rainwater out, but it was tough since water was pouring from the sky.
Once it dried, it would be as good as new. I had to get back to the tent pronto! The rain in my eyes made it difficult to see. Where was the tent? I thought it was this way. Maybe it was the other way. What direction was I going? The sun sets in the west, but how could I tell where west was without sunshine? Maybe I should go farther this way.
Wait – I don’t remember seeing that dogwood tree before. It’s the one tree I know since it’s my name. One thing for sure – I was lost. I was lost, wet, cold, scared and hungry.
I remembered Mom and Dad talking to Chloe and me about getting lost. “If you’re ever lost, find a man or woman in uniform – like a police officer – or find a store clerk wearing a nametag. Don’t ever leave with a stranger and don’t panic. If you’re alone, stay put, stay positive and we’ll find you.” Those words kept playing in my head – “stay put, stay positive, and we’ll find you.”
It was hard to stay positive when I was terrified. At least it wasn’t storming. It was just a hard rain. I was glad it wasn’t lightning since I was holding a metal harmonica.
Mom and Dad had taught us about storm safety. One thing they stressed was never be around anything metal during a storm. I also knew being under a tree could be dangerous in case lightening struck a tree or limbs fell. I decided to return to the bushes where I’d found my harmonica. I could sit under the bush and not be in danger of falling limbs. Maybe Ranger Ralph would show up!
It was c-c-c-cold. I wish I’d worn that raincoat. Now I knew why Mom made us dress warm when we went outside. If only I had Chloe’s cell phone or weather radio.
I was alone, sniff, shivering, scared, and starving. “Stay positive, Woody,” my inner voice kept saying. I had to keep my mind off my troubles. I guess I could practice my harmonica.
I played all my favorite songs – “The Ants Go Marching,” “Eating Goober Peas” and the “Song that Never Ends.” That one took forever! My paws were exhausted and cold from playing so long. They needed a break. It felt like they were almost numb.
Maybe I would sing. I needed something happy – a song that always made me laugh, even though I didn’t feel like laughing. I knew the perfect one. Pretending I was at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, I cleared my throat and started to sing. “On top of puh-sketti, all covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball…”
You know, singing about food might not have been such a great idea. I was so hungry that I almost felt sick. I thought about eating some berries but I remember Dad telling us that we couldn’t eat berries or mushrooms since they could be poisonous. I guess I would go back to singing about food.
“I lost my poor meatball, when somebody…”
What was that? I listened for it again. All was silent. It must have been my stomach. I was so hungry and singing about my favorite pasta dish didn’t help matters. I started singing again.
“When somebody …”
Why couldn’t I remember the words? This was my favorite song and I couldn’t remember the words.
Just then, I heard rustling in the woods. It was coming closer and closer…