Authors: Marsha Hubler
Tags: #ebook, #book
The Winning Summer
Other Books in the Keystone Stables Series
The Trouble with Skye
A True Test for Skye
Trouble Times Two
Teamwork at Camp Tioga
Skye’s Final Test
The Winning Summer
Copyright © 2005 by Marsha Hubler
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ePub Edition June 2009 ISBN: 0-310-86480-1
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Grand Rapids, MI 49530
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Hubler, Marsha, 1947-
The winning summer / Marsha Hubler.
p. cm. – (Keystone Stables ; bk. 5)
Summary: Although Skye has looked forward to teaching Katie, a blind camper, about riding and handling horses, Katie's bitterness over being blind and her parents' upcoming divorce challenge Skye's ability to teach and to share God's love.
ISBN 13: 978-0-310-70798-1
[1. Blind—Fiction. 2. People with disabilities—Fiction. 3. Divorce—Fiction. 4. Horses—Fiction. 5. Christian life—Fiction. 6. Foster home care—Fiction.] I. Title. II. Series: Hubler, Marsha, 1947 – . Keystone Stables ; bk. 5.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All Rights Reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.
Zonderkidz is a trademark of Zondervan.
Special thanks to the Glupker family for use of their ranch.
Cover design: Gayle Raymer
Photography: Synergy Photographic
05 06 07 08/DCI/5 4 3 2 1
Dedicated to Christian Cochran, whose
invaluable help made this book possible.
1. The Chambers’ house
2. Parking lot for Chambers’ Chambers
3. Dirt road
7. Picnic pavilion
8. Wooded area with riding trails
9. Piney Hollow
11. Small paddock
12. Large fenced-in field
13. Wall jumps
14. Practice obstacle course
17. Hill with view of Shade Valley
kye, watch where you’re going. You’ll trip over the dogs!”
Along the railed walkway behind the house at Keystone Stables, Skye was feeling her way, eyes covered with a scarf.
“I can tell where they are,” Skye said to Morgan, who followed in her wheelchair. “I can hear their nails clicking on the cement.” Skye stopped, released her grip from the railing, and tentatively reached out to pet the dogs. “Here, Tippy! Here, Tyler!”
The Westies, delighted with even the least bit of attention, licked Skye’s hands while their tails banged off her legs almost in unison. Behind Skye, the soft hum of Morgan’s Jazzy came closer.
“How long are you going to do this?” Morgan asked impatiently. “You’ve been at it over a half hour, in the barn—and now in the backyard. Isn’t that enough? I can think of a much better way to spend a hot Saturday afternoon. It’s almost suppertime, Skye. We should be helping Mrs. C.”
“Just a little while yet. If I’m going to be able to help Katie Thomas, I need to get a good idea of what it feels like to be totally blind.” Skye reached behind her head and tightened the scarf’s knot. “I want to go inside and see if I can find my way around my bedroom and the kitchen. I’ll ask Mom if I can set the table.”
“With your eyes covered?” Morgan laughed. “This should be a total riot. You’ll probably drop every dish on the floor and smash your nose into the wall.”
“Bet I won’t! I know where everything is in the house. It’ll be a piece of cake.”
Again, Skye clung to the rail and started out, one cautious step at a time. Slowly, she made her way up the sloping sidewalk and ramp, onto the back porch of the house. She felt her way toward the sliding glass door.
“Should I open it for you?” Morgan asked.
“For Pete’s sake, I’m not a cripple!” Skye shot off. “Oh, sorry.”
“No problem.” Morgan was already in deep thought. “I wonder if blind kids get frustrated like you just did. I mean, I’m sure they want to be as independent as possible, but I imagine people often treat them like they treat me. I sure don’t like it.”
“Well, we won’t! Mom and Dad said every student has to pull his or her own weight. How many are coming tomorrow?”
“Four, bag and baggage, for three whole months. And Mr. C. is really excited about Katie. He says it’s been a few years since Keystone Stables had a blind student who wanted to learn to ride.”
Skye groped for the door handle. Sliding the door open, she stepped inside. Hands extended, she inched forward until she touched the back of a chair. “Okay, this is cool,” she said, letting out a rush of nervous breath. “The dining room table is at twelve o’clock. Now the kitchen cupboards are to my—”
“Skye, what on earth are you doing?” Mrs. Chambers’ voice rang out from the kitchen.
Skye turned her head to the left and smiled as though she could see Mrs. Chambers. “I’m pretending that I’m blind.”
Newspaper pages fluttered at Skye’s right. “That wouldn’t have anything to do with Katie’s coming tomorrow, would it?” Mr. Chambers said from the same direction.
Skye’s head swiveled toward the man’s voice. “Yep. I just thought this would help me understand how she feels.”
Mrs. Chambers’ words betrayed her thoughts. “What a unique way to try to understand someone.”
Morgan motored in and closed the door. “I wouldn’t mind if someone would try sitting in this chair all day long to understand me better. Of course, ‘pretending’ never quite cuts to all the problems special-needs kids have. At least Skye’s trying to understand.”
“I certainly can see that,” Mrs. Chambers said with a chuckle, “and no pun intended. Well, if you want to do something in your present condition, Skye, I sure could use some help getting this meal ready.”
“Could I set the table?” Skye asked.
“You may try!” Mrs. Chambers said.
“Be back in a few minutes.” Morgan motored down the hallway and yelled a slight jab at Skye. “She said it would be a piece of cake!”
“But we’re not having cake!” Mrs. Chambers yelled back and laughed.
“Smells like—” Mr. Chambers paused. “Hey, Skye, take a good whiff. What do you think we’re having?”
“Hey, right!” Skye said. “I just read online that a blind kid’s other four senses need to be really sharp to make up for not being able to see.” She took a long deep breath, filling her nostrils with a blend of luscious aromas.
“What’s the main course, Skye?” Mrs. Chambers asked.
Skye’s mouth watered, and her stomach growled like a hungry bear. She inhaled deeply. “Smells like Tony’s Pizzeria.” She beamed. “Are we having pizza?”
“Pretty close,” Mrs. Chambers said.
“Try again,” Mr. Chambers said. “Maybe your ears can help.”
Skye stood perfectly still, focusing her attention on the sounds coming from the kitchen. A faint bubbling from the stove competed with the soft hum of the refrigerator.
“Something’s boiling . . . I know! It’s got to be spaghetti noodles up to their necks in hot water. And I . . . I smell sauce too. Right?”
“You get an A plus, honey,” Mrs. Chambers said. “That’s really quite good. Now, how about giving me a hand? The place mats are already laid out.”
“Sure, Mom.” Skye slid left around the table. She touched a chair and turned, reaching for a counter she knew was at arm’s length from the chair. She edged her way along the counter to its end and stretched to her right, touching the refrigerator. She then reached up toward a cupboard where she knew the plates were kept.
“Just be careful,” Mrs. Chambers added.
One step at a time, Skye began. For a task that usually took seconds, she struggled for fifteen minutes.
Her fingers felt their way inside cupboards and drawers. She retrieved what she thought were four large dinner plates, four napkins, and four complete sets of silverware. Edging her way back to the table, she maneuvered each object into what she thought was its rightful place. Finally, starting to make one more trip, she confidently balanced a tray of four empty glasses.
“How am I doing, Dad?” Skye said. “I told you this would be a piece of—”
Yipe! Yipe! Yipe!
Skye’s foot smacked into a dog that, somehow, managed to be right in the girl’s pathway. Skye heard yips and squeals, then nails clicking full speed ahead on the hardwood floor.
“Whoa!” Skye yelled as she stumbled forward, trying to balance the tray.
“Skye, look out!” Mr. Chambers yelled.
Skye’s whole body flailed as she tried frantically to regain her footing. But it was too late. She felt herself heading somewhere—down and fast!