Thursday, January 18, 2007

Drafts: Frog Haven Chapter 9

Chapter 1, Chapter 2 and 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8

Chapter 9: The Animal and the Game

The animal looked as if it might be the size of a beaver, only its tail was round rather than flat. It splashed into the water, bobbed up and down like a seal a few times, and emerged sleek and dripping to run up the hill in smooth bounding leaps. It flung itself down the slide again, much like a child would.

“I think it’s playing,” Garryd breathed. “I didn’t know animals played like that.”

“Kittens and puppies do.”

“Yes, but this is a wild animal, and I bet it’s an adult.”


“Because baby animals are usually with their parents.” The animal was running up the hill again.

“You’re right,” Sissy said, “I wonder what it is. Let’s try to get a good look at it. We’ll have to figure it out for ourselves, or else we’ll have to tell my parents we disobeyed them cause they’ll ask were we saw it. I have a mammal field guide. It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out what it is[MNS1] .”

“That looks like fun,” Garryd commented.

“Yes, it does! I wish we could do it!” They sat and quietly watched the animal, which swamp lazily around the pond and then started sliding again.

Suddenly, Sissy had an awful feeling. She looked at her watch. It said 5:20. “We have to run, Garryd. If I am late again, I’m going to be in BIG trouble!”

“We’ll never make it; it’s too far,” Garryd was objecting as Sissy was scrambling to her feet. Sissy didn’t stop to argue. She took off at a run, pumping her legs as fast as she could. Running fast was not Sissy’s best skill, but she was good at running far without getting tired. Garryd passed her right away, pulled farther away, and ran ahead for a while, out across the pastures toward the dirt cliffs. Soon, however, he began to tire, and Sissy caught up with him and pulled ahead. Sissy wasn’t trying to race Garryd; she just wanted to be home by 5:30. And she didn’t want to leave him behind.

“Come on Garryd, hurry!”

Garryd moaned and put on a little burst of speed. Sissy’s lungs were burning. The cliff was just ahead. She scrambled up, flung herself on the ground, and rolled under the bottom wire. She was up and running without a pause. Garryd tried to go over the fence and caught his shorts, ripping a big ragged hole in the seat. They ran past the arboretum, the swings, the vegetable gardens, the orchard, the ball field, and up the little hill by the flower gardens. “See you later, Garryd,” Sissy gasped, flinging the words behind her. She burst into the house just as the mantle clock was chiming 5:30.

“I’m home,” she croaked.

“What did you do, run the Boston Marathon?” her father asked. “You are dripping with sweat. It’s a bath for you, right after supper.”

“Oh, Papa, do I have to? Can’t I play first, for a little while?” Sissy panted, still not recovered from the run. She had a stitch in her side and her lungs were burning.

“Go wash your hands. We’ll talk about it after supper.”

They had egg foo young for supper. Mom often made egg foo young or omelets or pancakes after Church dinners on Sundays. Egg foo young was her Mom’s favorite, because it was healthy but light. Sissy ate quietly for a few minutes, still catching her breath.

Then she said, “Hey Pa, why don’t we have a ball game tonight? The Knudsons have never played with us. Dr. Taylor, Mr. LeFevre, the other grownups and you could all play too.”

“Good idea,” said Marc, “dibs on Sven if he’ll play.”

“Dibs on Garryd,” Sissy said.

“Wait a minute, you guys are filthy and you have school tomorrow. You can’t stay up late. Ball games are for Friday and Saturday nights only.”

“How about a short game?” asked Michael. Michael was often the peacemaker.

“YEAH!” Sissy and Marc chanted simultaneously.

“Okay, but just four innings, and only if you guys can get it going by 6:30.”

“Hurray!” Usually, Sunday nights were a bore with baths and getting organized for school.

“I’ll check with Garryd and Sven!” Sissy shouted.

“I’ll do the LeFevres,” said Marc.

“I’ll call Kelvin Moore,” said Michael, grinning. Kelvin was an only child and had decided to adopt Michael as his pretend younger brother. He was always really nice to Michael.

“I’ll call Dr. Taylor and invite them,” said Papa.

“I’ll call the McAllister’s,” said Mom.

“I’ll call first and get the bats and balls after,” Michael said. He was always eager to help.

Garryd could play. Sven agreed to play, even though he’d be the oldest kid, and Nels decided to join them too, when Garryd explained Sissy’s request. Garryd said his father could play pretty well—he just had to watch more carefully than anyone else. Garryd and Sissy ran over to get Lyssa and Bill, even though his father said he’d call. By some miracle, everyone could come, and the game got going before 6:30.

Mom, in sympathy for Elke, decided that none of the Moms would play. She set up a card table with coffee, brownies and sugar cookies, and the Mom’s kept score and sat with Elke. Between innings, the kids and Dads raided the cookies. Mrs. Doolittle[MNS2] came over even though she didn’t have any kids, because she knew a little sign language and could interpret a little for Elke. Word spread fast on Van Vleck Drive. Mrs. Doolittle brought her famous lace cookies and added them to Mom’s cookies.

Sissy was psyched because she hit a home run in the first inning, driving in Bill and Guy LeFevre. Garryd hit a triple and drove in Michael. Nels hit a homer and drove in Garryd. Sissy’s father hit a double, but then Sissy hit a fly ball and Dr. Taylor caught it. Garryd hit a line drive to Sven who was pitching. Bill bunted and Paul grabbed the ball and tagged him.

The other team tied the game, and at the end of the fourth inning, it was still tied, so they had to play another inning. It was still tied at the end of the seventh inning and was getting dark. Finally, they had to call the game.

“We should have called it at the end of the fourth like we agreed,” Papa complained.

“No, it was a great game!”

“Well, make you showers quick, and get in bed.”

“Okay, Papa, and Pa,” she said, throwing her arms around him, “thanks for the game. Thanks a lot!”

Sissy’s father picked her up, hugged her, swung her around and around, and set her down again.

“You’re welcome honey.”

“I love you, Papa.”

“I love you, too, sweetheart.”

When Sissy climbed into bed, she couldn’t find her pillow. She knew she had done something with it, but she couldn’t remember what. Oh, yeah. She had stuffed it under her bed. Sleepily, she got up, took off the dirty pillowcase, and stuffed it back under the bed. I’ll take care of it in the morning, she thought, half asleep. In the dining room, she reached into the linen closet for a clean pillowcase. Papa hadn’t found a new box for them since the starling [MNS3] inhabited the old one, and they all fell out on the floor. After she grabbed one from the heap, she shoved the wad back in the closet.

“Sissy, why are you still awake?” her Mom asked, as she emerged from the bathroom. “Oh, I guess you’re not, goodnight, honey.” She gave Sissy a kiss, carried her back into her room with her pillow in tow, and tucked her in. Sissy was sound asleep before her mother had the covers up.

[MNS1]Sissy nature notebook (later or earlier?)

[MNS2]The Chapter originally mentioning Mrs. Doolittle was deleted. Add Chapter back in or check for earlier references or Delete Mrs. Doolittle

[MNS3]Note reference to starling again—remove or elaborate, as that chapter was deleted. Or, add chapter back in.

Chapter 10

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