Tommys 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 and get 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 while he listened. 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 grown-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.

Grandpa, can you teach me how to learn other life lessons?

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

Tommy giggled and his eyes brightened. 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.

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Childrens Corner at Riverside Peace

The Moon and His Friends

Jenny sat on her window seat staring into the night sky. Stuffed animals snuggled in round her patiently waiting for a bed time hug. The night light by the bed gave the room a soft glow and the moon lit up the window.

I wonder if there is someone on the moon, Jenny whispered into the ear of Jerry the monkey that had curled his long arms around her neck.

There was no answer of course but Jenny continued to speak softly. One day I want to fly in a rocket ship and visit the moon. He looks so lonely way up there. Her voice faded and her eyelids drooped.

Will you take me with you?

Who said that?

Me!

Jenny turned to see all the animals smiling at her.

Which one of you can talk?

All of us, they said in unison.

But youre not real!

Yes, we are. Jerry loosened his hold and slid to her lap. Why do you think the moon is lonely?

Jenny blinked rapidly before answering. Well, look at him. He just hangs there all night every night. I never see anyone out there with him.

Just like us. He nodded to his friends who quickly nodded back.

Betsy the cow mooed loudly. We sit and watch the moon all night every night.

Why?, Jenny wanted to know.

Jerry answered. Because you only take one of us to bed.

But theres no room for all of you. I dont want anyone to fall out while Im sleeping.

Oh, its OK really, Marty the rhino replied. We like watching the moon too. Were his friends.

They were all watching the moon when Jenny heard another voice.

Its time you were in bed.

Can I take my toys?

Mum kissed Jennys forehead. Not all of them. The moon needs his friends.

Jenny smiled but didnt open her eyes as her mum place her in her bed and left the room.

Good night Mum. Good night moon.

And the animals on the window seat just watched the moon.

穢 Chrissy Siggee – 2019

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Childrens Corner at Riverside Peace

The Dragon and the Princess

Everyone except Thomas Creighton-Smiths granddaughter, Ada, knew Rosie was more than just a pig. Adas ideal retirement for Rosie was to explore the ancient land of dragons by day and visit the kitchen for under-the-table dinner scraps in the evenings before dreaming by the fireplace.

At breakfast one dank April Friday, Grandma had suggested they have roast pig for Sunday lunch complete with the traditional three vegetables and brown gravy made from the juices of the roasting meat. It was while Grandma chatted on about where she would insert the large rotisserie rod that Ada ran from the kitchen with Rosie close at her heels. ‘It will help tenderise the old sow’, Grandma was saying without acknowledging she had heard the back-door slam.

Thomas put down his morning paper. ‘I just wanted to take the pig to the abattoir to recoup some of our losses. After all, this is a working farm’. He muttered as he left the house in search of Ada.

His eyes scanned the landscape for a sign of the two gallant explorers. In spite of himself, old Thomas didnt envy the little girl. He had grown up in Beatrix Potter country and the fantasies she created. The stunning Lake District would have been more practical for Adas school holiday imagination. He shook his head. Maybe we should have stayed in Ambleside and taken up trout farming.

It was two days before St Georges national holiday and Thomas needed to take that fat old pig for a road trip but Grandma was fixed on having tough pork and bacon. He stood at the garden gate and looked around. Where are they?He squinted into the fog that settled over the bogs as he recalled his mothers favourite story that dated back to the 6th century. What was it again? Oh yes. St George rescued a young maiden by slaying a terrifying fire-breathing dragon.He slipped his hands into his warm pockets and headed for the main road.

So she wouldnt fall over, Ada held up her long flowing medieval princess costume as she marched down Old Kent Road. Rosie trudged slightly behind with cardboard toilet cylinders on her pointy ears and three black ribbons tied onto her limp tail.

They stopped near a red telephone box just beyond the intersection where the road-signs crisscrossed on a wooden post. ‘Oh Rosie, how could Grandma say such horrid things? I wont let them eat you.’ Ada stomped her foot splashing slops of mud over both of them.

She lifted the old play dress above her waist to search the pockets of her faded jeans beneath. With a silver coin in her hand she stepped into the telephone box. Finding the correct number from the list beside the chunky black phone, Ada dialled and waited. Rosie grunted, shuffled and squeezed in until she jammed herself tight between Adas knees.

‘Hello!’ Ada shouted into the mouthpiece. ‘Please help me. Theyre going to kill Rosie!’

 

Approaching the end of the lane where it met the road, Grandpa looked left then right. Their farm was located two miles due east of the abattoir between Dover and Holyhead. He sniffed the thick foul air. This neighbourhood is likened to the lowest-priced property on the English Monopoly board. A few moments later he decided Ada would have headed away from town so off he trudged.

Minutes later he heard an ear-piercing squeal followed by a shout from young Ada. He quickened his stride. The telephone box, a little way past the next farm on the opposite side of the road, seemed to be alive as it shook and groaned. Grandpa stopped in mid-step; his neck craned forward. There was someone, or something, in the telephone box. There were too many legs to count. He saw what looked like horns and a tail with blades. There was a lot of banging and bumping going on behind the grime and moss streaked glass.

‘Oh my, it looks like a dragon!’

Ada screamed again jolting Grandpa from his trance. Manoeuvring the door open to avoid swishing his granddaughter, he grabbed Rosie by the tail and dragged her squealing from the booth.

Later, after the local Bobbies had their explanation and had a good laugh, Grandpa and Ada sat down to rest at the nearby bus-stop.

‘Did you know Ada, only forty-five to fifty percent of animals at the abattoir can be turned into edible meat products, fifteen percent is waste, and the remaining forty to forty five percent is turned into by-products like bath soap, candles and glue? He paused. You know, glue suits her.’

‘But Grandpa’

‘Its OK. Id rather like rescuing my little princess from dragons. Come on, lets go home and break the news to Grandma.’ He winked at his granddaughter. ‘There will be no more talk of bacon and roast pork.’

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.

Fields of Laughter

The sun was warm on the sombre 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 last summer when Grandpa fell into the river trying to reel in that big trout?’

Holly laughed unexpectedly. ‘Yes, 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 tea that night.’

‘Hello Holly. Hello 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?’

‘Yes, 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 been held earlier that morning.

‘Hey you two. Whats the joke?’

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

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

‘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.’ Steve said this more as a statement than a question.

‘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
Childrens Corner by Chrissy 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 breathpant匈ll explain.’

‘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.’

He ignored his wife and continued. ‘I got right up close to the piano. It was awesome. They were singing Jesus loves me; my favourite. 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.’ He chuckled. ‘You shouldve seen me run. 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 chuckled 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

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:
Childrens Corner by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Detective Crystals Investigation

Clutching the wooden spoon tightly and shaking it at my younger sister, I began my investigation. OK, who did it? Who licked the mixing spoon?

Not me. Madison answered, not looking up from the table.

Did too. Who else would have done it?

Did not.

Did too.

The back door closed with a thump. Mum came in with her arms loaded with towels.

All right you two, break it up.

But Mum色

Madison crossed her arms tightly. I did not lick Crystals spoon.

Did too.

Girls, thats enough!

I tossed the spoon into the sink. Mum, you promised that if I peeled the potatoes last night, I could lick the spoon when we baked the cookies this morning. It was my turn. I glared at my seven-year-old sister.

She poked her tongue out and I stomped out of the kitchen.

When I returned a few minutes later, notebook and pencil in hand, Mum and Madison were busy removing cookies from a baking tray.

OK Mum, what happened when I left the kitchen to use the bathroom?’

With an audible sigh, Mum opened the oven door and placed another tray onto the top shelf. Well, after we finished mixing the cookie dough, I went outside to bring the towels in from the clothesline. If Madison licked the spoon, I didnt see her.

Madison added a fairy-shaped cookie to a large plate and then turned toward me. I did not lick your spoon.

I noted her statement. Madison, what were you doing while Mum was outside?

Colouring in my book.

Before that, stupid.

Please Crystal. Mum intervened. You can play your detective games but please dont be rude to your sister.

Madison pushed a tiny candy bow into the icing on the top of a pink fairy before she continued with her defence.

I didnt touch the spoon. Mum said it was your turn to lick it so I went and got my colouring pencils and book from my bedroom.

Sandy, Madisons kitty brushed against my legs. Where was Sandy? I crouched down and checked the kittens paws and mouth.

She followed me outside, Mum replied, then handed Madison the container of sprinkles.

Well, it couldnt be Sandy. Madison added not looking at anyone.

I added my notes about Sandy then poked the pencil behind my ear and placed the notebook onto the table. Can I help decorate the cookies?

Wash your hands and show Madison how to use the icing gun.

Obediently but aggravated, I moved to the sink and washed my hands. I still think Madison did it. I kept my eyes on miss goody two-shoes while I turned on the tap.Little sister seems to always avoid punishment.

Did you come to any conclusions, Mum asked.

My attention remained focused on Madison. I took a small spoon from the drawer to use to fill the icing tube. Well, if it wasnt Madison or Sandy, who else could it be?

It wasnt me! Madison announced he innocence again. You always blame me.

Momentarily, I concentrated on filling the tube.

Well, Mum was saying. If you did Madison, no one would be mad at you for it. Its the lies that I dont tolerate.

Madisons lips quivered. I didnt.

A noise from the living room caused me to turn suddenly. Whats that?

Mum glanced up at the doorway as Dad entered.

Madisons frown disappeared. Daddy, youre home early.

I placed the icing gun on a clean plate. How long have you been home, Dad?

I grabbed my notepad and drew the pencil from behind my ear. I tapped my foot. Well?

Well好ice to see you too. Dad laughed.

I approached Dad and leaned forward. There on his loosened tie, was a tiny blob of chocolate. Dad you didnt. How could you?

Do what?

Mum pointed her finger. So, youre the culprit.

Dad bent down to kiss my forehead.

Da地d, your lips are sticky.

Dad just stood there and grinned. Yeah, I came in to see my beautiful girls before I put my briefcase away. No one was here so I licked the spoon. He grabbed a paper serviette and wiped his mouth. I guess you found me out.

You licked the spoon? It was my turn!

Mum came over and touched my shoulder. I think you have an apology to make, Detective Crystal.

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:
Childrens Corner by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

A Garden of Surprises

‘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. Why don’t you get Mums kitchen scrap-bucket while Ill put on my garden shoes?’

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

‘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. 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 quiet so we dont wake him.’

‘caw caw

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

‘Look over here. This is a lady bug?’

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.’

‘Yes, 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.’

‘Yuck! Daddy, theres a snail.’ He pointed.

‘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

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
Childrens Corner by Chrissy at Riverside Peace