Posted by TerryS (22.214.171.124) on November 21, 2000 at 04:14:02:
> ANIMAL CRACKERS
> The asphalt walkway was a beautiful thing to
> roller skate on, with its little hills and valleys
> that you could almost effortlessly glide on, ever
> so smoothly.
> I frequented the housing complex with my metal
> skates clipped on over the toes of my shoes and the
> leather strap buckled around my ankles. What a
> beautiful feeling, to glide along in the sun, feeling
> the summer breeze in my hair. It made me feel like I
> hadn't a care in the world.
> This one afternoon, I took my time there enjoying
> the warm afternoon with no reason to hurry home for
> supper. I knew there'd be no "real" dinner waiting.
> These last few days were the leanest my family had
> seen since my father left.
> My mother was great at making something- out- of-
> practically- nothing taste really good, but even the
> practically- nothings seemed to be just about gone.
> But as a kid, you don't worry too much about
> things like that. My sister and I would make grape
> jelly sandwiches (if there was any bread and jelly,
> and peanut butter was usually just a wish) but there
> was always a book to read to take my mind off of my
> growling tummy. I especially liked to read Dr. Seuss.
> But this day, I knew, would be a long one, with lots
> tummy-growling, lots of reading.
> As the sun began to settle, resting after blazing
> long in the summer sky, I turned to go home. There
> may not have been food there, but it was my home and
> my family was there, and a book.
> I skated back on the smooth, winding asphalt
> walkway making my way home. As the light in the sky
> grew dimmer, I could almost feel the night entering my
> I crossed the street and headed for our doorway.
> We lived in a small, second floor apartment next to
> Sam's Fish Market. My mom used to go in there and ask
> if she could buy food "on credit", with a promise to
> pay him as soon as she got some money. Sam was
> usually kind enough to allow it, seeing she had a
> large family, how could he turn her away? But she
> couldn't go in there these days. No, the bill was
> getting just a little too high and my mother was a
> proud woman.
> I turned toward our stoop and the big glass door
> that loomed just past it when I noticed there was
> something on the step.
> Someone must have left something here, I thought.
> I wonder if they're coming back?
> Then, as though a light switch was thrown on in
> my head, it registered just what it was. Two large,
> two VERY large, brown, grocery bags, just brimming
> with food!
> There was long, crusty bread hanging over the top
> of one of them, and when I peeked inside I could see
> spaghetti and rice and cans of vegetables and sauce
> and, and, COOKIES! Animal crackers they were, to be
> precise. My favorite!
> I think my heart just leaped to the sky with
> happiness as I realized that maybe, just maybe, this
> food was left for us. But who would have left it
> here? It didn't matter. Mom will be so happy!
> I tore off my skates and grabbed one of the bags
> and ran upstairs just as fast as I could, making sure
> not to let anything spill out.
> "Mom, Mom!" I cried, as I ran huffing and puffing
> up the stairs. I was so out of breath from the
> excitement that I could barely answer her question of
> where the food came from as I practically crash-landed
> the bag on the kitchen table.
> "Mom, Mom!" I cried. "You're not going to believe
> this, but there's ANOTHER BAG! There's ANOTHER BAG!
> I don't know who forgot it on our step, but can we
> keep them?"
> My mother was silent but so overjoyed that tears
> came to her eyes. She didn't jump and shout like I
> did, and I don't think she even got out of breath when
> she went down the stairs to get the other bag.
> She just closed her eyes and said, "Thank you for
> hearing my prayer."
> At that moment, I joyfully figured we were
> keeping the food as she seemed to know who left it for
> By Jennifer Tovell
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