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In His Father's Footsteps

In His Father's Footsteps

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In His Father's Footsteps

4/5 (1 rating)
121 pages
1 hour
Oct 27, 2012


His father promised he would be back by the full moon, but that was days ago and Jason Sharmon’s dad has not returned from his prospecting trip. Now fourteen-year-old Jason must battle the Ontario north—and his own fears—to find his dad. Encountering many obstacles along the way, Jason struggles to survive. But when he does stumble upon his father, he realizes things have gone from bad to worse. Is Jason strong enough to do what need to be done to save his sick and injured father from certain death?
Oct 27, 2012

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In His Father's Footsteps - Bev Irwin

He promised he would be back by the full moon...

But that was days ago and Jason Sharmon’s father has not returned from his prospecting trip. Now fourteen-year-old Jason must battle the Ontario North—and his own fears—to find his dad. Encountering many obstacles along the way, Jason struggles to survive. But when he does stumble upon his father, he realizes things have gone from bad to worse. Is Jason strong enough to do what needs to be done to save his sick and injured father from certain death?

KUDOS for In His Father’s Footsteps

A sweet, heart-warming story about a fourteen-year-old boy who is forced to grow up fast—and how...In His Father’s Footsteps is a coming of age story about courage, desperation, love of family, and a young boy’s determination not to let fate take its course. It’s fairly short, so I could read it in one sitting, but it’s highly entertaining. A great read from an accomplished author. – Taylor, reviewer

In His Father’s Footsteps is touching and inspiring. It’s the story of a young boy’s quest to prove himself to his father and to himself...Irwin’s character development is superb as always, and her story has a ring of truth. I found myself fascinated with Jason’s adventure and felt like I was right there with him. – Regan, reviewer


So many people to thank. My wonderful editor, Lauri Wellington, for continuing to believe in my writing. To Faith and Elaine for catching my mistakes. I will eventually learn to use commas. Thanks, Elaine, for knowing about owls. And Jack for making my photo into a great cover.

Again, my appreciation to Jacqueline Nestler for her meticulous editing skills. I’m also grateful to Tina Gowing and Anita Dreise for reading IN HIS FATHER’S FOOTSTEPS to the great kids in their class and for gathering their suggestions to improve the book.


Bev Irwin


Copyright 2012 by Bev Irwin

Cover Art by Bev Irwin and Jackson Cover Designs

Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved

eBOOK ISBN: 978-1-937329-68-6


One swipe of those deadly claws and he’d be a goner...

Jason crept to the edge of the woods and paused behind a large walnut tree to scan the clearing. About thirty feet away, three cougar cubs played in the tall grass. Their small round heads and bodies were covered with fluffy gold fur. Dark irregular markings interrupted the gold. Their tails ended in large black dots. Scuffling and leaping, they butted heads, batted front paws, nipped away bits of fur, all the while growling ferociously.

He watched the cubs play. So much like the kittens at home, but these kittens had sharper, longer teeth, and razor-sharp claws. A swipe from one of their cute paws could easily damage human or beast.

Thinking of their claws made Jason realize other dangers. How could he be so stupid? Busy watching the cubs, he’d forgotten about their mother. She had to be close. She would never wander far from her cubs unless they were safely tucked away, free from harm, not out here in the open. Staying behind the tree, he scanned the meadow. Where was she?

As if on cue, he heard a rustling in the trees across the clearing. A large, round, khaki-colored head rose above the long grass. Jason gasped. The powerful cougar seemed to be staring straight at him. Then slowly, gracefully, the head turned. Fluid yellow eyes swept the area in a lazy arc. Jason hid behind the walnut tree. His heart raced, a lump blocked his throat. Had she seen him?

This book is dedicated to my father, Robert Hugh Wallace, for all his love and support. You were the ultimate Jack of All trades, Dad. You taught me so much. Not only about carpentry, gardening, cars, animals, but also about life. You gave me my love of nature and whenever I walk in the woods, I take you with me.


He should have been back by now. He said he would return by the next full moon. Eight days had come and gone. His father was never this late.

Jason Sharman stared up at the October sky. The only light came from the pale first quarter-moon that shimmered and quivered in the indigo darkness. Folklore bestowed the moon with magical gifts, personified it, gave it life. Right now, Jason wished it did have special powers. He wished the moon could speak, could give him the answers he needed, tell him the path he needed to take. But first you had to believe, believe in the myths, believe in the magic, and Jason didn’t. He didn’t believe in magic, or myths, or anything else he couldn’t see or touch.

Where are you, Dad? In all the years you’ve been prospecting, you’ve never been more than two or three days late. Did something happen to you? Is the panning for gold so good you decided to stay longer?

The moon remained silent. Jason turned away in disgust.

He thought of his father as invincible. He didn’t remember ever seeing him sick. At six-foot-three and two hundred and thirty pounds of muscle and brawn, his father cut an awe-inspiring figure. And yet, despite his towering stature, he spoke softly, never raising his voice.

Morley Sharman displayed all things a hunter should be—cautious, vigilant, tenacious. He routinely checked and cleaned his equipment, especially his rifle. At home, he never left the rifle loaded, keeping it locked in a gun cabinet. In the same strict way his father lived his life, he obeyed all the safety regulations for firearms. Surely nothing had happened to him.

Despite the cheerful face his mother pasted on, Jason saw how his father’s lateness affected her. But she refused to give voice to her fears. To speak of them might make them real. She kept to her normal routine, cooking their meals, cleaning the house, and making sure he and his brother looked after the animals. She swept and scrubbed the floors daily, constantly cleaning and fussing. Twice in the last few days, she baked shortbread cookies—his father’s favorite. She kept herself and her hands busy, anything to keep her mind from worrying.

As the days went by, it became harder and harder for her to cloak her fears. Jason knew her too well to miss the subtle signs. Her soft brown face, a face so used to smiling and laughing, had deep lines etched beside her full lips. Her mouth was drawn and tight, and ridges had formed at the corners of her soft brown eyes. She wiped her brows as if she could erase the new wrinkles—wrinkles that grew deeper with each passing day. Her round face looked thinner and hollows had appeared in her cheeks. She looked as if she had aged ten years in the last few days.

Jason hadn’t heard her laugh in days. Even the antics of his younger brother, Thomas, and his baby sister, Chloe, brought only a brief smile. Jason found her quietness even more disturbing than the physical signs of her stress. He tried to draw her out, tried to get her to tell him her concerns, but her fears remained unspoken.

She painted on a bright smile. Your father’s fine. The prospecting is good. Maybe, he’ll bring home so much gold he won’t have to leave for the rest of the winter. She laughed and ruffled his hair.

Jason saw through the merry smile. Her voice had lost its joyous ring and her eyes clouded over as she turned away. She used a corner of the dishcloth to wipe at her eyes. He watched her cross to the cupboard, and pull down canisters of flour and sugar. He forced a grin. That must be it, Mom.

I’m going to make fresh cookies.

He didn’t mention the cookie jar already overflowed. She needed to keep busy. She needed to make another batch of her husband’s favorite shortbread cookies. She needed to believe he’d be home to eat them soon. Jason needed to believe it too.

He remembered the day his father left. Though over a month ago, Jason heard his father’s words as if only yesterday. ‘Take care of the family while I’m gone. You’re becoming a man. You need to act like one.’ Those were the last words his father had spoken to him. The last words he’d spoken to anyone before he followed the path behind their house, the path through the woods that led to the property where he and his brother had staked their mining claim.

Jason had been so happy that day. He’d felt grown up for his fourteen years, and he burst with the pride his father felt in him. It made their disagreements over the past few months fade away. That day seemed so long ago. He felt lost and alone. He was not almost a man. His five-foot-six frame might be strong and muscular, but inside he remained

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  • (4/5)
    This is a coming of age tale for Jason who lives in a rural area, and his family lives off the land. His father is late coming back from prospecting for gold, so Jason takes it upon himself to find him.There are a number of outdoor activities that are bypassed or glossed over; however, this is not a survival or how-to book and the gruesome details, in some cases, are simply not needed for this sort of tale.The characters are authentically written, though we primarily stay with and see through the eyes of Jason. The writing is crisp, vivid, and delightfully descriptive.Overall, a fun read!