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Mud Puddles, a Dragon, and a Giraffe
My feet landed in the middle of the murky waters of my very own Mississippi mud hole. Splash-splash and ‘slop—slop, slurp,’ swished the water and mud as it lapped over my white sneakers.
“Don’t get those new sneakers dirty, or I’ll hit the roof Jeremiah,” Mom’s voiced faintly echoed; but I got distracted by the oozing mud underneath my shoes.
It sure was cool! I scooted to the left, then to the right, “do the hokie…poky…then turn yourself around,” and that’s how I got the most splatter effect possible. It sure was fun outside after a rain; there were mud puddles, crawly worms, and even the air smelled wet. Mississippi must be the best place to live in the whole world!
I was having so much fun I ‘felt’ like one great big smile, real toothy! Then a stern voice reminded me and my smile got broken, “Don’t get those new sneakers dirty, or I’ll hit the roof Jeremiah,” echoed Mom. Cold sweat trickled down my face and the back of my neck was sticky and prickled. Guilt leaped up from my stomach to my throat and tried to jump out of my mouth. I shoved my hand over my lips just in time. Mom said she ‘would hit the roof’ if I ruined another pair of shoes. Mom never broke a promise; and if she saw my shoes, she would hurt herself when she ‘hit the roof’. It was up to me to keep Mom from being hurt.
I really hadn’t ever seen her ‘hit the roof’ but I imagined it would hurt. I was just eight, but I was the man of the house when Daddy was out of town on business. Also, Mr. Ben, my second-grade teacher, said I was one smart intellect or smart-alect. I had to come up with a plan. The answer came as easy as slipping a brownie from Aunt Kim’s bakery when she wasn’t looking. I knew what to do.
He scampered to the rear of the house and sat down on the steps leading to the garden. He tugged off his shoes, wiped the mud from them onto his face and shirt, and then tousled his hair for ‘effect’. He threw his shoes in the garden’s compost pile and dashed back to the front of the house. Sadie, his golden retriever, thought he was playing with her as he passed; but he ignored her.
“Mom, oh mom…help please…,” he wailed loudly.
Jeremiah’s mom came to the front door, “Jeremiah, what’s wrong, where are you?” She pushed the door open looking toward the front yard.
He stumbled in front of her, moaning, and collapsed to the ground, “Mommy…I’m here,” he said more faint this time.
“For gracious sakes, what has happened to you and where are your shoes?”
“It was awful, Mommeeeee, just awful. A great big dragon jumped out from behind the tree and landed on me. I swear I didn’t do a thing to him; he just came at me. He tried to eat me, but I kicked and kicked so the only part he ate was my sneakers. Oh, Mommy, I’m so sorry he ate my new shoes!”
Mom looked a bit puzzled said, “If a dragon ate your shoes, where is he?”
Jeremiah knew what his Mom was trying to do, but he was still in control, “After the dragon ate my shoes, he laid down across the sidewalk. Then, this great big giraffe came running clumsily down the same sidewalk, scooped up the dragon and swallowed him whole. What could I do? There’s no way I was putting my hand down a giraffe’s throat, my arms are too short!”
Sadie darted to the front porch and then circled Jeremiah. She dropped something at his feet then tackled him to the ground. Mom reached down and picked up Sadie’s gift of a white sneaker covered in mud and compost.
“Well, what do you know?” Mom said, handing the sneaker to him.
“Well, Mom….Sadie is a ‘real’ retriever I suppose. She braved the dragon and giraffe to ‘retrieve’ my shoes,” he said pursing his lips and wrinkling his nose. Sadie was too good a retriever.