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"The Little Red Fox"
Little Megan had always listened to stories from members of her extended family who had gone away on vacation to all sorts of places. From Caribbean cruises, to Europe, to National Parks scattered all across the United States - it seemed as though her family had been everywhere. Her parents had taken her to Disney World several times, but walking around throughout the World Showcase in Epcot was the closest she had come to the seemingly exotic places she had heard so many wonderful things about.
Being only 8-years-old, Megan's parents and two older brothers frequently assured her that someday she would have the chance to travel just as her family had.
Travel Log - Set!
With the idea of traveling instilled heavily into her mind, Megan took a pair of scissors to a few issues of her father's "National Geographic" magazines (after he had read them, of course) and completely plastered the walls of her bedroom. From ceiling to floor, each bit of wall space was entirely covered with beautiful landscapes from all over the world. Flipping through the pages, Megan would feel enthusiastic goosebumps cover her arms when she came across a map of the destinations featured in the issue. Using a Crayola marker she carefully plotted out her route that she would someday travel.
Pictures from another popular magazine soon came into the collage - Zoobooks! Letting her love for animals fuse with her dream of traveling, Megan began cutting out pictures of animals and placing them around her room.
Although it would seem like a random mess of pictures to the adults that entered her room, Megan had a strategy to her decorating. Each animal's portrait was taped up onto the wall next to the corresponding destination in which Megan had hoped to spot the creature during her travels. Her mapping of the United States was especially well-thought out: All colorful birds such as Parrots, Peacocks and Toucans would probably be found in the Northeast just in case they wanted to fly across the Atlantic and visit friends the Penguins overseas. (Penguins wore tuxedos so it was obvious they were from classy-ole England) Cheetahs, Lions and Tigers could be found in the Midwestern states where they had plenty of room to run wild. Zebras were living in California because their stripes made them look trendy and cool. Along with the Zebras, you could be sure to find Panda Bears nearby due to the matching colors. (If Zebras were hip and cool, so were Pandas!)
It was in Idaho and the surrounding states that Megan knew she would be able to find her very favorite animal. Her Grandparents had recently built a home in that area and they had shown Megan many pictures of the sneaky yet adorable creature - pictures that were taken during their visits. The elusive bushy-tailed FOX.
One, Simple Condition...
One weekday while she was playing outside at her mother's house, Megan was shocked to see her father step out into the backyard. It was supposed to be another two days before she would usually see her father, so she was delighted at the surprised! She ran into his arms and squealed happily.
The two sat together on a stoop in the backyard and talked for a few minutes before her father finally revealed the true reason for the mid-week visit.
"I came here to tell you something, but I don't want you to be upset," he said calmly as Megan waited for him to continue. "Your brothers and I are going on vacation this summer out west for a couple of weeks."
Megan was heartbroken. It was already clear from the tone in his voice that she would not be invited to go along with them on this trip.
"In a few more years you will be old enough to come with us, but we will call you every single day and take lots of pictures!"
As his daughter sat in silence he was honestly surprised that she hadn't screamed and started to cry since he knew how badly she wanted to travel - especially out west.
"Is there anything you want us to bring you from our trip?" he asked, hoping this would ease her pain a bit.
After a long, thoughtful hesitation, Megan quietly answered her father.
"A red fox."
"Done," her father promised. "I'll make sure your brothers work together to catch you a big, fluffy fox."
The next week, Megan's brothers and father left on an airplane and made their way out West. After school each day she would sit by the window in her living room, waiting patiently for their daily phone call and an update on her future pet.
"Man, these little guys are fast!" her brothers would tell her. "We almost had one this morning, but he ran off into the forest!"
Still, the little girl refused to give up hope. Using a basket and some old towels, Megan made a tiny bed for her fox right next to her own. She even sacrificed a few of her stuffed animals so the fox would have some toys when he arrived at his new home.
Barely able to sleep the night before, Megan jumped out of her bed with an excitement that can only be compared to the feeling a child gets on Christmas morning. Today was the day that her father and brothers were returning home - and hopefully bringing her fox home with them! She hurried to brush her teeth and get herself dressed before running downstairs at the sound of the doorbell.
The front door swung open and Megan was thrilled to see her father standing on the step outside holding a small box in his hands. A box that Megan knew was too small to contain a fox. Excited to simply see her father, she jumped into his arms and then hurriedly pulled him inside as she began a rapid-fire session of questions regarding their trip.
"Where did you go? Did you climb a mountain? Did you see any bears? What about a Moose? Were there smores?!"
Her father waited for her to calm down and then he set the small box on the table. He slid open the lid revealing a stack of pictures. One by one, Megan's father took the pictures out and showed them to her while explaining their adventures.
"This was our first stop - Yellowstone National Park. It was beautiful! So many animals! You are going to love it."
He held up the first picture and Megan's heart leapt. It was a photograph of her father, two brothers in front of a scenic view overlooking a mountain range. Sitting right in the center of the portrait was a little red face with two pointy ears. It was him!
Yellowstone National Park
- Yellowstone National Park
Home page with quick links and highlights - National Park Service
Part of the Family
"This second picture," her father explained, "is of the famous geyser called Old Faithful."
Once again, the little fox was hiding in the background of the picture,
"Here is the Mammoth Hot Springs, a beautiful valley with tons of Buffalos, and then here is Grandma and Grandpa's summer home in Idaho."
Each picture had the tips of a little red-colored ears or a fluffy tail with a white tip. Megan couldn't hold in her excitement any longer.
"I see a fox! Was he following you? Did you catch him?!" she squeaked.
Her father set the pictures down and asked, "Why don't we go outside and ask your brothers?"
Yes! This is it! Megan thought to herself!
Get Your Very Own Little Red Fox!
Dream Come True
Megan's father took her hand and led her outside as she skipped along anxiously. Once out in front of her mother's house, Megan saw her big brothers waiting in the front yard. Sitting in between them was a red, fuzzy, stuffed fox. He was just as she had always imagined him! Beady black eyes pierced out through right red fur with pointy little ears on his head and a fluffy tail on his backside.
Shrieking happily, Megan ran across the grass and pounced on her brother, tackling them and the fox all at the same time. Her dream had come true! She had her very own pet fox! Her fox had already been on quite a journey and he was destined to go on many more because although she wasn't there this time, Megan knew in her heart that she would travel the country someday with her family - including her new Little Red Fox...
What about YOU?
Have you visited any of the locations mentioned in this story?
Don't worry - Megan (that's me) has since visited all 50 states with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii. I have had the honor of seeing a good deal of North America's absolutely breathtaking state parks and beautiful countrysides, mountain ranges, oceans and lakes.
Unfortunately, my little fox no longer travels along with me, but he is with me in spirit.