Tomochichi's Gift

Lennie is an orphan. His father, James L. Lenhart, served as a Navy chaplain aboard the USS Cumberland. The frigate was struck broadside by a Confederate ironclad on March 8, 1862. The next year, influenza swept through Aquidneck Island, and Lennie's devout Quaker mother was one of its victims. Lennie is nearly ten when he is sent from his native Rhode Island to live with his Aunt Millie in Sunfish, Ohio. His family is convinced he'll be safe in Ohio from the uncertainties of war, yet along the way, Lennie would face many dangers.

As Lennie begins his journey, he crosses the estuary of Narragansett Bay aboard the little schooner, the Blue Heron. There he is befriended by a barefooted Jamaican cabin boy. As a huge wave crashes over the prow of the ship, the boy turns to Lennie and, in a serious tone, speaks a prophetic word over him: "Listen! Lennie Star, the Lord makes a way out of no way! The dolphins will remember!"

Much later, Lennie discovers that the Jamaican boy had not been seen by any of the others on board ship that day! Was the boy merely a figment of Lennie's imagination or had he encountered a ghost or even an angelic messenger?

In Ohio, Lennie encounters another refugee of war, Tomochichi, a mixed-race Seminole, the son of the great Osceola. Lennie had no way of knowing when he began his journey, just how much his friendship with Tomochichi would influence his own path and the destinies of others around him.

Tomochichi would pass on many gifts to Lennie, like the wisdom of Standing Bear the Osage guardian of the Misty Waterfall: "Some use a silver-plated compass to find their way, yet we have been given a golden compass. Our dreams are golden, given by the Great Spirit they point to our true north."

This is a story of loss and recovery where ultimately love has the last word. In the end, walls that separate are dismantled, just as the sandcastle fortresses of children are dissolved by the steady rhythm of an incoming sea tide.

--David Everest Wirth

Purchase this title at any of these retailers: