Gnome Charlie loved playing Berryball, the game Coach Ruzich invented. But Charlie took it to a new level, creating plays and strategies in the game, to make it more interesting and competitive. He and his friends became a team, in work and play. When he became an adult gnome he coached the young gnomes and developed competitions with the other towns.
Spring brought a rainy season this year and the rivers were very high. A large group of gnomes living on the island in the river were stranded and in danger, and the water was rising. The water was very swift because the snow was melting, filling up the many creeks which flowed into the river. It was a dangerous situation, these gnomes had to be evacuated from their homes soon.
A quick meeting was called by Gnome Daws at the mound just to the north of the big oak tree down by the river.
“We’ve got to help them, NOW,” said gnome Al. “What can we do? They can’t just get in their walnut shells and float over, the river will sweep them away. We need help.”
“My boy, Charlie, has a bunch of friends he plays berryball with, they are many and they are strong because they work on the land. They are farmers,” said Gnome Rudy. “I’ll see if they can come.”
Charlie and his farmer friends came right away because they cared deeply about the gnometown community. They quickly surveyed the situation, developed a strategy, collected the things they needed and went right to work. The gnomes on the other side were frightened but trusted the caring gnomes who were trying to save them and followed their instructions to a tee. The farmer gnomes tied a strong cord to a rock and threw it across the river to the stranded gnomes. They caught it, got into their walnut shells, hung on tight and were pulled quickly to the other side to safety. The farmer gnomes had been playing berryball and were accurate shooters. In no time at all, they were rescued and safe on the shore and taken care of by the gnometown rescuers.
“Good job!” said Gnome Daws. “You are quite a team. If there is anything we can do for you, let me know.”
“Well,” Gnome Charlie replied, “the youth in our community need more things to do and we have invented a game. We certainly could use a space to set it up. We are using last year’s big crop of cucumbers, you can only eat so many gherkins. We cut them in slices, dried them and they glide like a hawk when thrown. We thought we could set it up like a golf game.”
“Good idea!” said Gov Ted. “I’ve got some land down by the river, it floods some years, but it will be perfect for that. It’s yours!”
“Thank you for what you did,” added gnome Areta to Charlie and his friends. “You saved a lot of lives today because you care. Now, I know this is silly, but I wish you could think of some way to use up some of the tons of pickles we put up last year. We’ll never be able to eat them all.”
“Areta,” answered Charlie, looking at his farmer friends with a wink, “I think we can help with that problem, too. I have an idea of how we can use them. Come on boys, we’ve got projects to work on.”