Fields of Laughter

The sun was warm on the somber faces of ten year old twins, Holly and Steve. Their legs swung carelessly over the edge of the old rustic fence. Aunt Mary shuffled past with her black veil held tightly against her chin, barely noticing the children.

Steves voice was solemn and quiet. ‘Holly, do you remember when Grandpa fell into the river trying to reel in that big trout last summer?’

Holly laughed unexpectedly. ‘Yeah, my sides hurt from laughing while he was explaining to Mother how he got so wet.’

Uncle Peter hurried past with his weeping wife and two protesting young children tagging along behind. He glared at Holly and shook his head in disgust before hurrying up the drive. Steve and Holly tried to stifle their giggles as they watched the small family group approach the house.

Holly laughed again as she remembered. ‘We never did get to eat fish for supper that night.’

‘Hi, Holly. Hi, Steve.’

The twins smiled and waved back to their cousin Gerald. His father grumbled and prodded Gerald in the direction of the house.

Quite a few relatives lived nearby and sometimes they walked the short distances between the farms and their community church but visits werent common. They were all busy with their own lives, their own farms.

Holly frowned. ‘Do you think Grandpa ever found out I was the one who hid his tobacco?’

Steve grinned at his sister. ‘Probably, he always said he had eyes in the back of his head.’ He threw his head back and snorted, almost losing his balance in the process and sending them both into fits of uncontrollable laughter.

Mr Snyder, the owner of the farm that adjoined theirs, drove his rattling pickup truck in the direction of the open gate and stopped almost directly in front of Steve. ‘You children should have more respect for the dead. For pity sake, I can hear you from my front door.’ With that, he accelerated toward the grass area where other vehicles were parked haphazardly under trees.

The twins were silent for a few moments before Steve spoke again. ‘I dont think Grandpa ever liked Mr Snyder.’

Holly smiled, trying to smother another giggle. ‘Remember when Mr Snyder let our cows out of the back field and Grandpa chased him with his shot gun?’

‘Yeah, that was funny, especially since Grandpa had forgotten to buckle his trouser belt before leaving the outhouse.’

The twins were continuing their banter when they noticed their father strolling up from the barn toward them. Work still needed to be done, even if Grandpas funeral had be held earlier that morning.

‘Hey, whats the joke, you two?’

‘Holly and I were talking about Grandpa. Sorry Dad.’

‘Dad,’ Holly asked sadly. ‘Why is everyone mad at us?’

‘Because, my sweet child, no one knew Grandpa like you both did…and like I did, for that matter. Even your mother could tell you a story or two.’ He leaned up against the fence between the twins and nodded in the direction of the house. ‘Not one of these guests will miss Grandpa after today.’

‘They didnt really know him?’

‘No Son, they didnt.’

‘Thats sad,’ Holly concluded.

Their father looked up and scanned the fields. The children turned their heads to follow his gaze. ‘I remember when I was about your age,’ he began. ‘Your Grandpa worked the farm completely on his own. One day, Mr Snyder let his cows into our corn field. Your grandfather decided from that day on, he would get revenge. It was never anything serious. They both got over it soon enough. Grandpas funny antics were really something to witness.’ He finished with a short, choked laugh and wiped his hand across his eyes.

Holly and Steve jumped down from the fence and walked hand-in-hand with their father back through the gate. The trio didnt enter the house full of mourners. Instead, they headed for the corn field which was now ready for harvest, and then on to the fields beyond. Their laughter echoed across the farm.

穢 Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in Children & Teens at Riverside Peace

Tommys First Lesson

Tommy entered the kitchen, his head bent forward to watch his feet as he walked. His hair skimmed the underside of the kitchen counter as he cut the corner.

‘Grandpa, can you help me tie my shoelaces, please?’

‘Sure. Up we go.’ He lifted his grandson onto a high kitchen chair.

‘Grandpa, why is it so hard to learn how to tie shoelaces?’

‘Thats a good question. Everything we learn in life can be hard.’

‘Why?’

‘Because its part of learning.’

‘Why?’

‘Well, if everything was easy to learn in life there wouldnt be any strength to our character.’

‘Huh.’

Grandpa slowly looped a shoelace as Tommy watched. ‘Let me put it this way,’ Grandpa continued as he twisted one end of the lace around the loop. ‘Do you remember when your daddy and I took you fishing last summer?’

‘Yes.’ Tommys face screwed up. ‘It was so hard to get the worms to stay on the hook for the fish to bite them.’

‘Thats right. Do you remember how many times you had to practise to get it right?’

‘Lots.’ The little boy nodded once and continued to study his grandfathers hands.

‘By the end of the weekend you had it just right and you caught the biggest fish for supper.’

Tommys face beamed and revealed a toothy grin. He let his foot drop and held up the other one.

‘Your turn,’ Grandpa encouraged.

Tommy wriggled his foot onto his other leg and concentrated on the shoelace. It took a few minutes but eventually he made the final turn and pulled the loop through.

‘There will be other things in life you will need to learn and they wont be easy either.’

Tommy sat looking at his shoes in thought. ‘Like what?’

‘Oh, all sorts of things, like how to know the difference between right and wrong, when to make an important decision and how to choose which decision to make.’

‘Why?’

‘Because thats life and we need to learn lots of things like tying shoelaces and how to fish. Making a decision when choosing what kind of friends we should have can be a tough one.’

‘That sounds really hard. Will I have to learn how to talk to grandsons too?’

The old man laughed. ‘Yes, but not for a while yet; thats a grow-ups lesson. You can wait for that.’

‘Look, Grandpa. We tie shoelaces the same. Maybe you practised lots too.’

‘Yep, I practised lots too but some life lessons took longer to learn than others.’

‘Can you teach me how to learn other life lessons, Grandpa?’

‘I certainly can but right now… why dont we have some ice-cream?’

Tommy giggled and his eyes shone. ‘I guess we dont have to learn how to eat ice-cream.’

穢 Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in Children & Teens at Riverside Peace

Bartholomews Adventure

‘Bartholomew, is that you?’

*pant* *pant*

‘Bartholomew, its hard enough to get six babies to have a nap after Sunday School without you coming home late. This floor shook all the way through the singing. The entire ruckus has given me a headache.’

*pant* *pant*

‘When I catch my breath, *pant* Ill explain.’

‘Bartholomew, were you chased by the janitor?’

‘Mildred, hes on to us again.’

‘Well its no wonder. Your snooping around those Sunday School classes is going to get us into trouble one of these days.’

Bartholomew ignored his wife and continued. ‘I got right up close to the piano. It was awesome. They were singing Jesus loves me; my favorite. I managed to sneak in behind the young ones going into class. Mildred, their new Sunday School teacher, Miss Cooper, is delightful.’

‘I thought you were going to find us some Sunday lunch, not check out the girls.’

‘I did. Anyway, I was captivated by the way she presented the Noahs Ark storypictures of the ark, birds, animals, even Noah. Young Tommy asked if there were any rats on board and everyone laughed. Miss Cooper assured Tommy that if there are rats around now; they wouldve been on the ark. She spoke with enthusiasm about our Maker and His promises. Oh Mildred, youd have loved it. It was a perfect morning.’

‘So why were you panting?’

‘I was coming to that. You see, Billy was about to leave the room with his Bible still on his chair.’

‘Again? His parents must have replaced his Bible a dozen times.’

‘I know, and I thought if I could get someones attention before they left, theyd see it and return it to him.’

‘So what did you do, scare poor Miss Cooper half to death on her first morning?’

‘No, I simply marched over to the Bible and stood on it only I didnt see the janitor passing the door with his broom. He saw me about the same time as Billy did. Billy stood between the janitor and me so I could get away.’ Bartholomew chuckled. ‘You shouldve seen me run, Mildred. I slipped out the door as quick as a flash with that broom coming mighty close.’

‘OK, so wheres lunch? Maybe we can enjoy some of His gifts before the babies wake up.’

Bartholomew removed the pack from his shoulder and began to unload his findings.

‘I found a couple of potato crisps in the foyer. A gummy bear with his head removed in the cry room and a half-eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the Sunday School Hall. All while they were busy singing themselves silly.’ He chucked again.

‘Oh, this is great, Bartholomew. We wont go to bed hungry tonight.’

‘ILL FIND YOU, RAT!’ A voice bellowed through the walls.

Mildred began to shiver. ‘Bartholomew’

‘Mildred, take the babies through the side door to the end of the stage. Take the underground route to Uncle Moses and dont stop until you get there.’

‘Bartholomew, dont leave us. Where are you going?’

‘Its all right. Ill distract him and meet you at Uncle Mosess later. Ill be fine. GO!’

‘WHERE ARE YOU, RAT?’

Bartholomew scurried back through the hole and across the stage. His feet skidded beneath him on the varnished boards, causing him to slide sideways and crashing into a pile of electrical cables. He scanned the stage and the hall just as one of the cables hit the floor below.

‘I HAVE YOU NOW.’

As fast as his little legs could carry him, Bartholomew scampered into Miss Coopers classroom, raced past Noah and the ark and up the drapes on the other side of the room.

There he waited.

It was dark when Bartholomew reached Uncle Moses place, tired and hungry. He listened, but there was no sound. He tapped lightly before entering.

‘Bartholomew, where have you been? Ive been worried sick. The babies wore out poor Uncle Moses. Theyre all curled up with him on his bed.’

‘Im fine. I told you Id be fine. I know that place blindfolded. We can return in a few weeks once the exterminators have gone and the air is clear again.’

‘In the meantime, Bartholomew, you can help me with the babies. When we return home, I want you to take them to Sunday School, but no more adventures.’

‘All right, Mildred, no more adventures for me.’

穢 Chrissy Siggee

Authors note: No rat or any human being was harmed during the writing of this story.

Archived in Children & Teens at Riverside Peace

A Garden of Surprises

‘Daddy! Daddy, theres a tiger in our garden!’

‘Really? I hope not. He might dig up the watermelon seeds.’

‘Should we feed the tiger so he wont come and eat us up?’

‘OK, you get Mums kitchen scrap-bucket and Ill put on my garden shoess.’

‘I have my garden shoes on too, Daddy. Look, Mummy tied the laces. Do you think tigers wear garden shoes too, Daddy?’

‘Well, well soon find out, my young tiger hunter. Up on my shoulders you go. You can be the lookout.’

‘Yippee! I can see the whole garden up here, Daddy. Look! Paw prints.’

‘It looks like the tiger has been out all night.’

‘Daddy, do you think the tiger might be sleeping?’

‘Could be. We will have to keep very quite so we dont wake him.’

‘caw caw

‘Look Daddy, a crow. Let me down, cause he might get me. He could be the tigers friend. He might tell him were in the garden.’

‘Look, a lady bug. See how tiny her wings are?’

‘Daddy, why do they call em lady bugs?’

‘Im not sure. Maybe its because they are so petite. Look at her tiny wings.’

‘Oh look Daddy, the watermelon seeds are popping out.’

‘Yeah, they are. Feel the little green shoot. Soon it will grow along the ground into a big vine and we will have lots of watermelons to eat.’

‘Ooooh, yuck! Daddy, its a snail.’

‘We cant have snails eating our seedlings. Can we? We should put him on the compost heap. He cant do any harm there.’

‘Come on Daddy, we have to feed the tiger.’

‘Be careful where you walk. The garden is a bit overgrown near the shed. We might clean it up next weekend. What do you think?’

‘Oh no, Daddy! Where will the tiger live?’

‘You have a point there. Here we are. Empty the scraps onto the compost pile.’

‘Daddy, can we empty the scraps for Mummy tomorrow? There might be a dinosaur in our garden.’

穢 Chrissy Siggee

Archived in Children & Teens at Riverside Peace