Evening Storytime

2 Mar

Well, lovely readers, I think it’s time for an evening story. I sure could use one. A simple story. You know, the kind that you tell little kids. The kind that don’t sound scary, the kind that’ll make ’em laugh, but also the kind that when they remember that bedtime story again when they’re older, will give them a few moments pause. Will make them sit down and think. About whether there was maybe more to that story than they had caught onto at first.

That whatever they decide, at least it will have made them wonder.

So, a story for you this evening, lovely readers. A story called “Ice Cream Cone.”

ice cream cone

Ice Cream Cone

“Sue! Sue, hurry up!”

“I’m coming! I’m coming!” Sue’s voice ricocheted down the stairs at out the front door to the porch. I shuffled my feet on the wood planks, swung the creaky porch door back and forth. Swung it back and forth again. Still bored.

Grown-ups always take so long to go anywhere.

“Suuue!” I called up the stairs again.

“Hold your livestock, I’m coming!” Sue shouted down the stairs, clanging down each step in her steel-toed boots.

I held the door open for her as she bustled out. “Livestock?” I asked, curious. “Why livestock?”

“Oh, you think I should have said horses?” Sue locked the door after us. She looked down at me with her big, brassy face of loudness. “What if people don’t have horses? Don’t you think that’s a mite insensitive?”

I bit my lip and tried not to laugh. Sue was making her funny face again, the one where her eyebrows went all wiggly and her eyes got big and her voice got all squeaky and indignant. “But Aunt Sue,” I skipped so that I would be fast enough to keep up with her. Mama says that I have long legs for being only eight, but Sue’s legs have always been longest, ever since I can remember. Sue told me it’s her job to keep astride of everyone, she has to, so that’s why her steps are so big.

“But Aunt Sue, what about people who don’t have any animals? What if they don’t have cattle or sheep either?”

“Eh, little miss,” Sue stopped and bent down so that her heels propped up and her knees jutted out and her face was on the same level as mine. She reached out one of her hands, all rough from life’s work, she says, and brushed a stray piece of hair back from my face. She cupped both her hands around my face, the way she does when she’s trying to tell me something real important. “What about the people who don’t have any animals? That’s a good question, innit, little miss?”

I nodded. I didn’t know what Aunt Sue wanted me to say, I don’t a lot of times, so I just nodded and tried to look real serious, like I always do when I don’t know what Aunt Sue wants me to say, and she nodded back like always, ‘cause me nodding is good enough for her. She tells me to think about it. I don’t know why. Maybe one day she’ll ask me again, and then I’ll have an answer for her. Maybe. Mama usually just gets real quiet when I ask her if I should, and she just says I should try.

Aunt Sue was big-striding again. I skipped faster to catch up. Aunt Sue looked down at me, now she’s the one who’s all curious. “Little miss,” Aunt Sue always calls me little miss, not my name like Mama and Pa do, but I don’t mind because it’s special, “how come, little miss, you got so much energy like that? All the time?”

“Um,” I looked down at my feet, “Mama says it’s because I eat so much ice cream. But I like ice cream, so I don’t mind.”

“Well, I sure could use some energy.”

I looked up at Aunt Sue and made a face. Sometimes she didn’t seem to realize the obvious things. “Well,” I said, trying to sound like Aunt Sue did, “then you should eat an ice cream cone, of course.”

Aunt Sue stopped. She looked down at me and smiled, then opened her mouth and threw back her head and made a big belting laugh, like Papa sometimes does.

Me, I don’t know what was so funny.

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