Stories for Children
(Based on the Bible)
By Kathleen Donavan
Chapter Ten - Oh, No, Not Another Class!
Linda's friend, Vince, who had come home from school to spend the weekend because his Mom and Dad had to leave town for a business convention, was walking with her up the long drive way from the school bus stop toward the house. Vince took a piece of gum from his pocket, popped the gum in his mouth, and threw the gum wrapper on the ground.
“Why did you throw your wrapper on the ground, Vince”, Linda asked in a demanding tone, because they had just had a talk about littering the school grounds from the principal and she knew they should keep their own place clean, “Don't you know not to throw trash on the ground?”
“Well, you don't expect me to chew the wrapper, do you?” Vince answered, trying to be funny.
Linda picked up the yellow gum wrapper and they continued up the walk. She smiled and said, “ You are funny Vince, but my Mom would not appreciate your throwing the wrapper down because she rakes this yard every time leaves fall on it, I know she doesn't want gum wrappers out here.”
“Why doesn't she pay somebody to rake the yard, then she wouldn't have to bother with it”
“I guess she likes to do it. She is always saying that hard work is good for your body.”
Tip, Linda's back and white sheep dog, came running to meet them, he jumped up on Linda first and Linda rubbed his head, then he walked along beside her with his tongue hanging out of his mouth because it was a hot day. Linda noticed that Vince seemed to be uncomfortable with Tip sniffing around his legs so Linda gave the command to Tip to “heel”.
“How did you do that? Vince asked in amazement?
“It's easy, because he is trained from a puppy to follow commands.” “Wow, he's following just behind your every step and he quit jumping on you!”
“That's because he is a ‘work dog' breed, that was brought here from England a long time ago. He was trained to help take care of sheep. That's why he is called an English Shepherd. His breed are easy to train because they follow directions easily.”
“Why did you name him Tip?” Vince asked.
“Do you see the white tip on the end of his black tail?”
“So, that's why. It's a great name for him”!
When they reached the house, Mom was sewing on the machine but she looked up and said, “Hi, welcome to our home, Vince. Linda, why don't you and Vince grab a snack from the refrigerator and I'll be through here in about ten minutes.”
They went into the kitchen and got a frozen yogurt out of the freezer compartment and took them outside to the tree house. Linda noticed that Vince followed her lead and put his wrapper in the trash can.
They sat in the cool shade of the tree about ten feet off the ground and talked about several things. Vince told her about how his parents disciplined him and Linda told about how her life with her family is from time to time.
“There are several important things here, and the most important is to tell the truth. The next is to help the family in many ways. Mom and Dad want us to take pride in our surroundings, like the house and yard. They expect us to do our best in school and try to be courteous even if we don't feel like it. I hate trying to do that because I don't always feel like being courteous, especially when somebody is being hateful to me, but the worse thing I and my brother, Tim, have to do is to never say one particular word. It's what my Mom calls the “corner word” and if we say it we might as well go right then to the corner to stay there to think about our options.
“What do you mean by “options” ? Vince asked.
“Well, Mom says that the corner has a left wall and a right wall. When we are there she wants us to think of the rewards of choosing the right way or the bad consequences of choosing the wrong way.”
“That's easy, just going there and standing for a few minutes. I know this boy who has a Dad to smack him on the face if he does something he is not suppose to do. The strange thing about it is that sometimes he doesn't have to so or say anything. I was over there one time and his Dad told him to wipe the look off his face and then smacked him hard. His face was red for a long time.”
“That's sad,” Linda said, and then she asked if Vince went home?
“No, I couldn't because there was nobody at my house, so we tried to stay out of his Dad's way for the rest of the weekend. When my parents got home on Sunday night, I told them what his Dad was like and they decided that they would ask your parents to keep me. She met your Mom when they served together helping the disaster program. She said that your folks were people of value, and I would be safe here.”
“Well, I think my folks try to do what's right and my Mom is okay except when she holds what she calls “class”! OH, HOW I HATE THOSE CLASSES!”
“What kind of classes?”
“It all depends on the things we forget to do. If she reminds us several times about remembering to do something like turn off the lights we are finished using, or not replacing the toilet tissue on the holder when it's empty, she holds these long “classes” instructing us in the way to turn off the lights or replace the tissue. It's downright boring”!
“Can't you tell her that you already know this stuff?”
“We do, but she says that she knows we must not know how to because we are not doing it. If we say we hate the class, she says she hates going behind us and taking responsibility for things each person is responsible for in the house. My Mom won't let us slack off for too long without making us wish we had taken responsibility. She calls it self discipline.”
They heard Linda's Dad's truck drive up and left the tree house because Linda knew that dinner would be ready. Linda and Vince raced to the back door, getting there about the same time. Vince stepped back because he didn't want to go into Linda's house first. Linda held the door open for him and they went in. After washing their hands, they went into the dinning room and sat at the table waiting for Mom to bring a dish from the kitchen.
Dad and Tim each welcomed Vince to their home and Vince responded by thanking them for the invitation.
Dad reached out and held Linda's hand and Linda held Vince's hand and then Vince felt Linda's Mom squeeze his other hand gently and he noticed that Tim's other hand was being held by his Mom. He wondered what was about to happen but he felt okay with it so he just waited to see. Tim's Dad bowed his head and so did everybody else around the table, so Vince bowed his head, too. He heard Linda's Dad pray.
“Our father in heaven, thank you for the end of the day and the beginning of another day in our lives. We want to thank you for the guest in our home, Vince, and we want to thank you for the comforts of life and the food to nourish our bodies and minds. Father we pray that you will be with us in spirit and help us to use our nourished bodies to honor you in word and in deeds. Amen”
After that everyone sitting at the table said, “Amen”, so Vince said amen, too.
They talked about all kinds of things and laughed like it was a party. Vince felt very comfortable there. He wished, but didn't say it aloud that he had a brother or sister and everybody at his house sat around talking and having a good time together after dinner. He usually played a video game or went to a chat room on the computer, which is cool but the whole family talking together is awesome.
The next morning he woke up on the top bunk bed over Tim's bunk and he didn't find anybody in the room with him so he climbed down the latter and got dressed. When he opened the door, he saw Tip standing there wagging his tail. Vince reached and stroked Tip's back feeling the soft hair beneath his hand. About that time he heard Tim teasing Linda about a sound they had heard.
Tim told Linda that the sound was not a clank but a clink.
“You don't know anything if you don't know a clank from a clink!”
Vince stepped into the room and said, “you are both wrong, it was a very clear clunking sound.”
“You're both crazy,” Tim said, and he left the house mumbling to himself. He had to get to the church building and practice with the choir before services.
After Vince and Linda finished breakfast, they rinsed their dishes and put them into the dishwasher, then sat in the porch swing watching the birds build a nest in the wisteria vine.
Later they walked with Linda's parents two blocks to the building where they had Church services.
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