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The Note

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Nate let the paper curl up again and placed it into a drawer of the nightstand. He stood and put books back into the boxes. When he finished, he shoved them into his closet then carried the ones from the library downstairs, but kept the U through W encyclopedia. The note had to be about the Underground Railroad. It read like coded directions. Maybe learning more about the UGRR would help decipher the meaning. Too excited to sleep, Nate settled down with the U encyclopedia in a wing chair in a corner of his room. After reading the volume's short account of the UGRR, he wanted to learn about the conductors who had run it. In the library, he found that the encyclopedias had information on some of the ones he already knew about. John P Parker, Harriet Tubman, and Peg Leg Joe, all had risked their lives time and again and made incredible sacrifices. He wondered about the many others who hadn't made it into the pages of a book. How many of their stories had gone untold? His generation would probably never be asked to make such a sacrifice, but if they were, how many would answer the call? Before he knew it, daylight showed outside the window. Finally, Nate returned to bed and slept till his granddad woke him at eight-thirty for breakfast. At the table he asked, "Do your books ever do anything funny?" Nate yawned but was too tired to put energy into covering a mouth full of cheese grits. "I'm afraid we weren't able to ascertain any books inclined to do stand-up comedy," Granddad said. "The ones we have just stay put until we come to read them." "Funny," Nate said. "Like it would be so unusual for things to move on their own around this place." "Nathan." Grandma looked at him as though she intended to check his forehea... ... middle of paper ... ...en. We'll be back in a few hours." His grandma stood and walked into their bedroom then came out wearing a hat and gloves. His granddad jingled his pockets and pulled out the keys. The ring of keys had about a dozen keys hanging from it. Nate wondered what they did with all those keys since they never locked up anything. "Nathan," Grandma said, "would you please tidy the kitchen while we're gone?" "Sure, Grandma." Nate followed them to the foyer and out the door to the porch. He stood watching them drive away for a moment then went into the house. In the foyer he turned and looked with a frown toward the driveway. Odd, his grandparents were driving thirty-five miles into town to pick up a package for the Reverend. Except, the Reverend was already in town. Why couldn't he pick up his own package? He shook his head and ran up the stairs to dress for the hike.
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