Christina looked out of her bedroom window. A slight breeze blew and shook some autumn leaves out of the trees. Christina heard her dad asking her to pick some apples for the hot apple pie he was making. Christina put on her coat, boots and hat, took the baskets to keep the apples in and went out to go apple picking. She went to her backyard to pick some apples on the huge apple trees.
She met her best friend Amber passing by her house. Christina called to her. “Hey Amber! Wanna go apple picking?" "Sure!" replied the delighted Amber who was thrilled to see her best friend again. Christina picked the apples and handed them over to Amber who put them into a basket. As time flew, all the baskets were filled and the two girls started having fun and rolling on the ground, covering each other with autumn leaves and pelting each other with rotten apples.
"Oh. My. God." exclaimed Christina. "It’s been ages since I left home and my dad's still waiting!” She quickly ran home with Amber tearing after her and burst through the door. She saw her dad smiling at her and she was about to ask why when her dad explained, “I saw you met up with Amber. It’s good that you guys picked the apples. But you took ages!” “But you could have called me.” Protested Christina. “I didn’t want to spoil your fun. And by the way, you left your phone.” She checked her pockets. Her dad was right. She forgot her phone. “I’m sorry dad. We were just having fun and lost track of time. “Its okay hon. Lemme just go and quickly make this pie. Just then, Amber burst through the door panting and puffing.
“Water!” she gasped, sweat dripping from her forehead. Christina grabbed a bottle from the fridge and handed it over. Amber gulped down half the bottle and declared, “I just ran a marathon!” “Oh don’t be so dramatic Amber.” Teased Christina. “Remember the fun we had when we went apple picking?” As the girls chatted about the fun they had, Christina’s dad had finished making the apple pie.
The apple pie was so delicious and creamy that the girls took second helpings and third helpings but when they were just about to take their fourth helping, someone burst through the door. “Help! A house is on fire!” Christina’s dad rushed out of the house and ran down the street to help them.
It was Mr. Tapperman’s house. Mr. Tapperman was stuck in a room, yelling for help as black smoke rose from the chimney. His daughter, Julie Tapperman was Christina and Amber’s friend from school. She was screaming, “No! No!” and sobbing into her mom’s arms. Christina stared in shock at the burning house. Her dad called the hospital and the fire brigade. The fire brigade took fifteen minutes to arrive and five minutes to put the fire out. When they went into the room to get Mr. Tapperman out, alas, he was gone.
The funeral was held on the next day. Christina wore her plain black dress that she kept only for funerals. She and her dad together drove to Autumn Spring Burial Grounds cemetery. She saw Amber there holding Julie’s hand and a few other faces she didn’t recognize. A man stood in front Mr. Tapperman’s grave and said, “We stand here in honour of Sam Jake Tapperman, a most extraordinary man who unfortunately died in a burning house. If you will open your hymn book to page 113, you will see the hymn called, ‘My Lord Is My Shepherd’ by James Montgomery which is Sam’s favourite poem.” Everyone opened the hymn books to page 113 as the man had instructed and begin to read the poem.
The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want;
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.
My soul He doth restore again,
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
E’en for His own name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,
Yet will I fear no ill;
For Thou art with me, and Thy rod
And staff my comfort still.
My table Thou hast furnished me
In presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.
Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me;
And in God’s house forevermore,
My dwelling place shall be.
The funeral finished at 12 o’ clock in the afternoon. She thought the hymn sounded familiar. She remembered hearing the hymn in one of her books; Anne of Green Gables. Perhaps Mr. Tapperman liked that book.
The next day, Christina woke up sweating. She dreamt that she couldn’t find her dad. She went downstairs. Her dad wasn’t in the sitting room. She checked the kitchen. He wasn’t there either. She checked the whole house. He was nowhere to be found. Christina began to get worried. Her dream seemed to be coming true. She tried calling him with the house telephone but he wasn’t answering. She tried calling every number she knew but no one sae him. Finally she called Amber. “Hey Amber! Have you seen my dad? I couldn’t find him and now I’m getting worried. You’re my only hope!” “Don’t worry Chris,” replied Amber. “I saw him on his way to Autumn Spring Burial Grounds. I think he wanted to pay his respects to Mr. Tapperman.” “But why wouldn’t he wake me up? It’s not like him to leave me alone?” “I’m not sure Chris. But I need to go cause I gotta feed Billy. You know little brothers won’t feed themselves. See ya!” and with that, Amber hung up. But why would Christina’s dad go to a cemetery all by himself?
Christina quickly put on her coat, boots, and hat and ran to Autumn Spring Burial Grounds. She saw her dad in front Mr. Tapperman’s grave. She crept a little close to her dad and heard what he was saying, “I’m so sorry, brother.” Christina stopped in confusion. Brother? Why did her dad call Me. Tapperman ‘brother’? Not wanting to be discovered, she fled, the sound of crunched leaves made her dad turn around but Christina was already gone.
She ran home, and jumped back into bed. She heard her dad coming into her house and she immediately pretended to be asleep. Her dad came in to her room and looked into her face. Christina tried to keep still. Her dad looked at her for a while, sighed and went downstairs. Christina sat in bed, sighed and went downstairs pretending nothing happened.
“Mornin’ dad,” she said naturally. She grabbed the milk and her Cinnamon Surprise cereal and poured them in a bowl. She got a spoon and sat down. The whole time her dad staring at her with a weird expression. “Finally he said, “I’m sorry Chris, I should have told you the truth a long time ago. I know you heard me calling Mr. Tapperman ‘brother’. The reason is he is my brother. My full name is David Johnson Tapperman. So your name isn’t Christina Johnson. Its Christina Tapperman.” Christina goggled at her dad as if he grew two necks. She finally found her voice and said, “OMG. That means Julie is my…” “-your sister yes.” “Oh My God I have to tell Amber. She ran out of the house without putting her coat or boots and her dad gave a little smile.
Christina went apple picking again with Amber and her sister. The three friends were having so much fun as they rolled on the ground, covering one another with leaves and pelted each other with rotten apples. And when they got home they savoured the delicious apple pie.