Chapter 10 Back to School
The next day they were still excitedly discussing the school fair when they got off the bus. They stopped talking when they saw Rocky walking towards them. He looked as gloomy and angry as a stormy day. “What’s the matter with you, Rocky?” Oak shouted. Rocky glared at them.
“He must have had a really rotten Christmas vacation.” Sunflower muttered quietly.
“Did you get your huge television?” Pine asked curiously.
“No!” Rocky growled. “My Grandparents got snowed in and couldn’t come. They sent some little things over but they couldn’t get out and buy the TV. They promised to get it for me for my birthday, but I already have that list made out and everything on it is for the big TV. It was the worst, most miserable Christmas ever.” he groaned. “I suppose you guys had a wonderful time.” he said mockingly. The six cousins looked at each other and started laughing.
“It was wonderful. We made all kinds of home-made decorations before Christmas. Then Grandma and Grandpa had a neighbor bring them over to our house in a horse-drawn sleigh.” Pine said.
“The horse’s name was Barnaby and we got to sit up high with the driver.” Bus shouted running in circles around them pretending he was driving a horse-drawn sleigh.
“I got to pet Barnaby and give him a carrot before he gave us the ride to the park for supper and then around town to see all the beautiful Christmas lights.” Blossom said watching Bud skid his imaginary horse to a stop next to her. She held out her hand offering the pretend horse a make-believe carrot.
“Grandma said our decorations were the best she’d ever seen, because they were made out of love and time not money.” Rose added walking towards the school.
“We even drew names and then made each other a fantastic homemade present. They’re the best presents we ever got. The boys made each of us girls these beautiful notebooks to keep our paper dolls in and they even made us new paper dolls. Aren’t they beautiful?” Rose said pulling her flower covered notebook out of her book bag to show Rocky.
“Mine has lots of animals on it. See!” Blossom said showing off hers. “I like the horses the best because they remind me of Barnaby. I have a horse, a zebra, a bunny and a dog paper doll too.”
“I have sunflowers on mine, just like my name and sunflower paper dolls.” Sunflower said proudly even though she knew Rocky didn’t care she showed him the page holding her little flowers anyway. “We’re going to talk to our teachers about putting them in the art part of the spring fair.”
“And then Sunflower made me a notebook with some of my photos that she made copies of and glued on it. Inside I can keep all of my best pictures.” Oak said showing it to Rocky. Rocky barely looked at it. “I’ve already talked to my teacher about putting my photos in the spring fair.”
“Blossom made me these.” Bud said excitedly pulling his note-book out of his back pack. “I can take them off these pages and move them all over. I have lots of different pages with different places on them so I can make up my own dog stories. I haven’t named them all yet because I have lots of dogs.” Bud said carefully untaping one of his favorite dogs and moving it to another page. Rocky completely ignored Bud.
“I got a notebook also but mine is covered with pine trees and it’s kind of like a journal that I can write down all the interesting things I find each day. It’s super cool. I got a real expensive pen and pencil set from my Aunt and Uncle and Mom made a special pocket on my notebook for me so I always have my pen handy to make notes of things.”
“I suppose you’re entering the spring fair also?” Rocky growled barely looking at any of the notebooks
“If I can, I figure it will fit in the science part because I have lots of nature stuff in it already. I’ll have to add more facts and stuff to make it really scientific enough for the fair, but that should be fun. I like looking up facts and things.” Pine said cheerfully as Rocky walked away shaking his head.
“How can you guys be so excited about a bunch of old notebooks?” he asked when they caught up with him. He really didn’t understand. To him they were just old worthless notebooks covered in material. He just couldn’t see the value in them. He stalked away still angry over his own Christmas. Pine shook his head sadly as they watched Rocky stomp away.
“I really feel sad for him. He’s never excited or happy about anything. He would never have enjoyed the sleigh ride or eating the sandwiches in the falling snow.”
“He wouldn’t have liked Barnaby!” Blossom said sadly.
“No! He wouldn’t have liked Barnaby, or Grandma’s game for the beautiful homemade ornaments.” Sunflower said giving her little sister a hug. “But we did, didn’t we?” she looked at all of them as they stood outside the school still holding their notebooks.
“Yes!” they all answered.
“It was the best Christmas we ever had.” Bud and Blossom said skipping into school eager to show off their notebooks.
“Sunflower! Rose!” Bud and Blossom shouted running ahead of Pine and Oak towards the two girls. “Everyone loved my paper dolls!”
“And my dogs! Everyone in class wanted to play with them during recess. I just let Branch, Twig and Leaf because they’re my best friends. I didn’t want anyone to lose my dogs!” Bud frowned. “Acorn tried to steal one but teacher made him give it back. Leaf saw him take it. It wasn’t stealing like in Grandma’s game. He’s mean.”
“He was mean to take your dog!” Rose agreed.
“My friends want me to show them how to make clothes for their paper dolls. I promised tomorrow I’d bring in my drawing box. Teacher said I could. She said the girls could bring in their favorite paper doll and make clothes for it and the boys could draw animals if they want to.” Blossom said hugging her notebook tightly.
“My class is going to make dogs and other animals like mine for everyone.” Bud added as Oak took his notebook from him and put it safely in Bud’s back pack. Sunflower did the same for Blossom.
“What did you girls find out about the fair and your notebooks?” Pine asked heading out of the school building.
“My teacher said they were great and they are art. She said she would help us put them up as a display and she said they could also go in the career section if we wanted because designing clothes is a career.” Rose answered.
“I think I’ll stay in the art part,” Sunflower said thoughtfully. “I like to draw and I like drawing them better than thinking up what to make them look like. Besides, I don’t know anything about designing clothes and we might have to answer questions in the career part. I could explain how to draw them if anyone asked.”
“Yeah, you’re right. It would be really difficult in the career section but I think I’ll go over there and see if there is anyone who designs clothes for a living, it would be fun to talk to them.” Rose said walking towards the bus.
“Let’s walk home.” Pine said suddenly. “I don’t feel like riding home today. It’s nice out and we might see some interesting things on the way home that I can put in my notebook. My teacher made a whole list for more pages for me. He also told me what I would need to add to it for the science fair or I could leave it as it is and have it listed as a hobby. He said it was a great idea and he just might use my notebook as an example for our class. He wants to get more kids interested in what’s all around them outside. How did your teacher like your pictures, Oak?”
“She said I should keep it a winter themed one for the fair. Using some of my pictures from Christmas, she really liked the homemade decorations and things that I took pictures of. She said they had a lot of interesting qualities about them because the subject is homemade and simple. Most pictures are boring because the subject in them is so common, mine are interesting because hardly anyone does homemade stuff anymore. She also like the ones of the snowstorm that I took when we were out searching for the pine-cones.
She did suggest maybe a whole page of those pictures, you know, our search for the pine-cones, drying them, decorating them and then the finished ornaments hanging on the tree. I have pictures of all those things and she said it told a story from beginning to end. Maybe I’ll try and put some other picture stories together. I had never thought about telling a story using my pictures.” Oak explained.
“You have some really great ones of our sleigh ride that would be a great story line for your pictures. The horse, sleigh, picnic, everything we did ending with Blossom saying thank you to Barnaby.” Pine suggested.
“That’s a great idea! Could I use your special picture for it, Blossom?” Oak asked the little girl.
“Yes,” she said slowly. “It’s in my notebook. I can give it to you when we get home.” she sounded a little sad. “Can I have it back after the fair thing?”
“I don’t actually need your picture, Blossom. I can print another one, I just don’t want to use your special moment if you don’t want me to.” Oak explained putting his arm around the little girl’s shoulders.
“Do you think the other kids would like Barnaby? Rocky didn’t like him!” she asked looking up at her cousin.
“I think everyone will be very jealous that we had such a great fun Christmas with a real sleigh ride.” Oak assured her.
“Then you can use my picture, I want everyone to see our special Christmas.” she said quietly as they walked the rest of the way home in silence.
It had been a very special Christmas, one they would never forget as long as they could look at their notebooks and remember that they had been made out of time and love just for them.