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Friday, May 27, 2011


“Carrie, let’s sit here on this bench and you can read your homework to me. It’s so much nicer out here in the garden. The house is so stuffy!”

“Ok, Cindy, you’ll help me if I can’t read the hard words, won’t you?”

“Sure, Carrie. Don’t I always?”

“Well, that one day I was reading to you, but you weren’t really listening. You were watching those two boys over there playing ball. When I asked you to help, you yelled at me.”

“I did not!”

“Did so!”

“Whatever! Just start reading. I’m listening. What are you reading today?”

“It’s a book about animals. I love animals….Carrie?”


“Why won’t Daddy let me have a puppy? I could take care of it…I’d love to have a puppy.”

“Yeah, me too. But we can’t. Daddy says Mom’s allergic.”

“But I want one!”

“Quit your whining! If you’re not going to read, you won’t have your homework done, and there will be hell to pay.”

“What does that mean…hell to pay?”

“It means you’ll be in big trouble and probably get grounded. Now get to reading, young lady!”

“Ok…Maurice was a mouse. He lived in a hole in the wall behind the sofa. Why would a mouse live in a hole in the wall? Don’t they have houses?”

“Carrie, mice are frightened, helpless little animals. They have no hands, no tools. How could they build a house?”

“Well, I don’t know. Don’t yell at me or I’ll tell Mom!”


“Maurice lived with his Mom and Dad and seven brothers and sisters. Wow! That’s a big family. Why don’t we have that many brothers and sisters, Cindy?”

“Probably because they’d ask silly questions, like you. Read!”

“Each mouse had a job in the family. Maurice was a food g-g-ga--, Carrie, I can’t get this word.”

“Gatherer. Maurice was a food gatherer. That means he went out into the rest of the house looking for food particles to carry back to the mouse hole to feed his brothers and sisters.”

“Oh. Do I have a job, Cindy?”

“Yes, your job is to aggravate me. And you’re very, very good at it, too.”

“Oww! Quit pinching! I’m telling Mom!”

“Well, go ahead. And I’ll tell her you didn’t get your homework done. Who do you think will get into the worst trouble?”

“Oh, Cindy. You always have to be so mean?”

“Not if you get your reading done. It’s almost supper time. Now get busy.”

“Ok. One day Maurice was out doing his chore, when he saw a cat. He had never seen a cat before. He didn’t know what it was. He didn’t know that he should be afraid. Why wouldn’t he know what a cat is, Cindy? I know what a cat is.”

“Do you know what a Gila Monster is, Carrie? If you’ve never seen one or heard of one before, how would you know to be afraid?”

“What is a Geela Monser, Carrie? Do we have them here? Should I be afraid of it?”

“It’s a giant lizard. No, we don’t have any here. But if we did, you might want to stay away from it. Read.”

“Maurice wanted to get closer to the cat. He wanted to make friends with it. Uh oh! Is Maurice in trouble?”

“Yep. He sure is.”

“What is he going to do? Carrie?”

“Well, you’ve got the book! Read!”

“Maurice crept slowly toward the sleeping cat. The animal had huge paws and a long fat tail that twi—twu—Carrie? What’s this word?”

“Twitched.” That means the tail is jerking a little bit..side to this.”

“Why does the cat do that?”

“It probably means he is dreaming. Or it could mean he’s playing possum.”

“What’s that?”

“Playing possum is pretending to be asleep, like you do when Mom and Daddy peek in on you at night.”



“But I’m getting hungry. Can’t we go in the house now?”

“Sure. But you’ll have to read the rest of the story to Mom.”

“Oh, I will. I want to know what happens to Maurice.”

“Yeah. Me too. Hey, don’t forget your book!”

“Oh, yeah. Thanks, Cindy. You’re the bestest sister.”

“Yeah, I know. You’re pretty special yourself, Carrie.”

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