Summer camp had been a scary proposition for Davey, even if it was for “just” a week, as his mother put it.
A whole week away from home! He’d never been away from his parents and his dog Pete for more than a couple of days when he went to visit Grandma. He was nervous.
That lasted all of about three hours, until he met Sam Hastings at lunch. The two boys hit it off right away, and they spent the whole week playing harder than Davey ever had — hiking, stick-sword fighting, telling ghost stories, treasure hunting.
That last bit was the best, and by the end of the week, Sam and Davey had decorated their dresser tops in the cabin with fortunes untold. There were rocks and leaves and dead butterflies and, for Davey, there was Stanley.
Stanley was a turtle Davey found near the creek one morning, and he carried his new friend in his pocket the rest of the week.
“All of this has to go back where you found it,” Otto the counselor said as he surveyed their spoils at his Friday night inspection. “That includes your little turtle friend there, Davey.”
Davey’s face fell, but he nodded, and the boys set about returning their treasures to nature.
It was hard to say goodbye to Stanley, but worse was watching Sam grow smaller and smaller through the car window as Davey’s dad drove away from camp on Saturday morning.
He wondered if he’d ever see his buddy again, and he waved a chubby hand until Sam disappeared from sight.
It helped to have Stanley back. Davey rubbed the turtle’s shell in his pocket, remembering Sam’s parting words.
“I found this in your pocket,” he had said with a wink. “Otto says I have to return it.”