At the end of the Rainbow
AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW
"There's a rainbow in the sky," hollered one of the boys who lived in the orphanage with me.
We children had just finished eating our breakfast and were walking back to our dormitory, when Kenny saw the beautiful rainbow. There were about fifteen of us; we were a bunch of eight, nine and ten-year-old boys standing there staring at the heavens.
I suppose to most children a rainbow is nothing more than something colorful in the sky, but to us the rainbow was very important. However, it only lasted several minutes, but it was something different for us to do. When you live in an orphanage, there are no toys, stereos, computers or video games. Therefore, a rainbow, or an airplane overhead was a very big deal.
"They say there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow," said Wayne.
"Then that means there’s two pots of gold, 'cause there is two ends on the rainbow," I replied.
Everyone began to look at each other with puzzled looks on their faces.
"You think we can find the gold?" asked one of the young boys.
Within minutes, it was decided that we would divide into two groups, leave the orphanage grounds, and head out to find the pots of gold. We began to run knowing the rainbow would not last very long. Faster and faster, we ran towards the right side of the rainbow.
"It looks like that side is disappearing," said Tommy.
Sure enough, the right side of the rainbow was now becoming lighter and lighter. We were now running at full speed.
"Put down a stick," yelled Wayne.
We stopped and looked at Wayne to see what he was talking about.
"What's a stick gonna do?" I asked.
"It will mark the direction to the end of the rainbow after it disappears."
"But, we still won't know how far it is?" I said.
"It don't matter. We just keep walking in a straight line until we get to all the gold. The rainbow disappears, but the gold doesn’t."
We found several straight sticks and laid one in the direction of the end of the rainbow. We left one boy at the first marker and walked several hundred yards before we stopped. We would have the boy tell us what direction to leave the next stick, and then he would run to catch up, bringing the first stick forward.
Soon the rainbow was gone. Nevertheless, we continued with our search. The entire time we talked about nothing except what wonderful lives we could have, should we find the golden treasure. We could run away from the orphanage, be happy, and have everything that we always wanted.
The farther we traveled the harder it was to navigate. We crossed roads, went around houses, and at one point even around a large shopping center. Soon it became apparent that our search was hopeless.
"We are in bad trouble with Mother Winters now. We been gone for a long time," said little Billy Smith.
All at once, it began to rain, so we made a dash for cover at a gas station. It rained so hard you could not see the passing cars. We sat down against the wall and waited for the storm to pass. Within fifteen minutes, the rain had stopped and the sun began to shine. As soon as everyone had used the bathroom, we headed back toward the orphanage, which was now several miles away.
"Look, there's the rainbow again," I screamed.
Everyone stopped dead in his tracks.
"We didn't get lost. We went the right direction after all," said Wayne. "The rainbow ends in that big field!" He was pointing across the road to a large, grassy fenced area.
We began to run at full speed. Cars were honking their horns at us as we ran across the large highway. We crossed through the barbed-wire fence, and headed out into the field to claim our pot of gold.
As fast as the rainbow had appeared, it disappeared. We stood looking up into the sky, our eyes a big as saucers.
"I am sure it was right over there," I told the group.
We all got in a line holding each other's hands, and we began to walk across the wet grassy field. Within a hundred yards, we had found the gold at the end of the rainbow.
The five of us stood there looking at what we had found.
Considering how many children, raised at the Children's Home Society Orphanage in Jacksonville, Florida ended up in prison, became drug addicts, prostitutes or committed suicide; it is no wonder that the prize we found at the end of the rainbow was nothing more than a dead cat.
Stories from The Life and Times of Roger Dean Kiser