My winter wonder land continued:
Art class. Art class was, in one way, the best class, and in another, the next to worst. The teacher, Marta McGregor, was a kind teacher… mostly. She was friendly, always willing to give advice or help with a problem, but she says that very good art takes pure concentration, so she does not allow the students to mingle.
For me, art class was the best. I didn’t have that many friends to mingle with, and I love art. Now I was sitting at my easel, watching a bird building a nest on a tree limb through a window, and listening to the chatter of students outside the door, not yet willing to come in.
It was a few minutes until class started. I was always early, as all the other students made sure they were only JUST on time, never late but never early.
I was surprised to hear the creak of the door opening. The teacher was sitting at her desk writing, so it couldn’t be her. I looked around to see who it was and was surprised to see a bright-red-pulled-into-a-ponytail-haired girl with hazel eyes. I’d never seen her before, so she was probably a transfer.
Miss McGregor looked up from her papers, and her sweet voice floated through the air, “You must be Annie Day. Mr. White said you’d be coming. Please take easel eight, and I’ll be with you in a bit.”
Annie Day, I thought, that’s a nice name. The Day part makes her sound bright and sunny.
Annie spoke. “You’re Miss McGregor?”
Her voice was sharp and clear. She might make a good teacher someday. I laughed mentally at the thought.
“Yes, Miss Day,” Marta replied calmly. She doesn’t get mad if you don’t obey RIGHT away, like some teachers.
“You’re different than I thought you would be.” Annie again.
“True, I am different from most teachers.”
“I think I’ll like you.”
“I’m glad to hear it. Now please, be seated.”
Annie sat down. I looked at her. She had a teachery air about her. I looked forward to getting to know her more, though I wondered why she hadn’t been in the other morning classes.
After the art class, I ran over to her in the hallway. I stopped, took a deep breath, then stepped forward and said, “Hi, I’m Kacey Holmes. You’re Annie Day, right? I saw you in art class.”
Annie looked up at me, her hazel eyes flashing, then a grin spread over her face. “That’s me! Hey, you wanna know what I know? I know how to make red paint from raspberries! Like what the Indians probably did. I’m planning on making some and then giving it as a gift to Miss McGregor. Don’t you think she’s the best teacher ever? I recognized you from art class because I’m on easel eight, right next to easel seven where you are!”
I blinked at her a little surprised. Her words practically flew out of her mouth. I sought out a reply, then said quickly, “That’s cool, she’ll love it. Miss McGregor loves gifts from her students, and ones that have to do with art even more! You should also give her a recipe. She’d love that even more.”
Annie looked up at me, then said, still grinning, “Have you ever heard of homeschooling? I’m homeschooled but my Mom and Dad wanted me to take art lessons, and Principal White agreed to let me join the class. I love art, but I love writing and history more. When I grow up I plan to write a history book about the Indians, and to teach a writing class. In fact I’m obsessed with Indians because I have Indian blood. I’m planning on starting an Indian shop in my garage to sell things like Indian style paint!”
I looked at her and smiled, too. “That’s funny! Because earlier, when you came in, I thought you’d make a great teacher someday because your voice really stole my attention. I don’t think I’d be able to ignore someone with a voice like that!”
Annie laughed at that. “Thanks! You know what? I think we’re going be great friends.”
I smiled. Annie would be my first real friend at White’s University High School — even if she was a homeschooler!
…and her garage
I peddled my bike harder as we started up a slope. My destination: Annie Day’s house. Day: Saturday.
The bike reached the top of the rise, pitched forward, and raced down the other. I stopped peddling as it raced faster and faster. I pulled on the brakes just a little bit and it slowed. The bike reached the end of the hill, and I let it coast for a bit before turning it and stopping in front of a small shop.
The shop’s sign said “Beaty’s Ice Cream and Soda,” and below the words was a picture of a fancy cup of ice cream and next to it a tall cup of soda.
Suddenly Annie burst out the door and ran over to me. “Dad was getting impatient! Though I guess I should have told him you were coming by bike. Oh well, come on. Dad wants to leave soon, so hurry! I’ll take care of your bike. You go in and pick up the To Go menu.”
I didn’t argue. Instead, I smiled at her speedy chatter-box talking and went in. I could recognize her dad easily enough: Annie had his bright red hair. I walked over, sat down, and grabbed a menu that read, “Beaty’s Ice Cream and Soda To Go.”
Her dad blinked at me, then said in a deep voice, “Don’t worry about price, it’s all free for me. Call me Dray.”
I looked at him, then said, “Okay, Dray. You can call me Kacey. Thanks for letting me come over.”
He nodded. “I never refuse inviting my daughter’s friends over, Kacey.”
We dropped off into silence. I felt uncomfortable around him, and very possibly he felt the same way about me. I simply buried myself in the To Go menu, so I was startled when Annie’s voice cut through the slight humming sound of the other customer’s conversations. “I’d recommend the Beaty’s Famous Family Sized Soda Shake.”
As I jumped and twisted in my seat, I saw her wink. Then her father added, “Family-of-one sized, that is. Don’t play tricks on our customers, even if they are your friends and they aren’t paying.” He said this last part in mock severity.
I blinked in surprise. “Your customers?” Annie laughed at this.
“Didn’t Annie tell you that her darling mother runs this place? That’s why it’s free for me.” He turned his attention to Annie again, speaking with the same mock severe voice as before. “You shouldn’t keep that type of secret from your friends.”
I laughed. “Yes, I’d prefer to know things like that about my friends.”
Annie laughed, then crossed her heart. “On my honor as a Day, it won’t happen again.”
“Good. Now, why don’t you take our order up to our private waitress? I want my usual,” said Dray.
I watched her rush away and put the menu back, then looked at her father. “Private waitress?”
“The famous Annie Day, in the flesh.”
We waited a few minutes for Annie to return. During that time I decided that I was going like the Day family. When she was back, we took our snacks and went out to their car, a “swagger wagon” as they called it.
Their house was two stories tall, and it had a red brick wall. Their garage was also made of red brick, and it had a garage door with a sign pasted on it that read, “Opening soon: The Annie Day Indian Shop. Paint, robes, blankets, rugs, tepees, and more.”
We hopped out of the car, and Annie cried, “Come on, Kacey. It’s not finished yet, but I’ll show you my shop.”
So we went in through a side door, and I was amazed by what I saw: She had an earth brown carpet on the floor, and the walls had a prairie scene painted on them. The ceiling was sky blue, with white fluffy clouds painted on it. At the back of the room stood a tepee with its door pulled back; embroidered above it were the words, “Check out”. There were other tepees with things like “Handmade Jewelry” and “Brushes, Paints, and Paintings.”
“It’s AMAZING!” I exclaimed in wonder. “I’ve never seen anything like it. I could almost believe it was real!”
“My brother painted it for me last time he was over, and I’ve been working on the tepees forever. I still need to make a sign that says tepees must be special-ordered,” she replied, shrugging. “Come on! I want to show you my room.”
[To be continued . . .]