Archive for April, 2007

"A is for Ned" (A Story)

Sparkle Girl’s cousin Ned is 2 years older than Sparkle Girl. He can be annoying sometimes because he thinks he knows way more than she does. Mostly, though, he is buckets of fun. Sparkle Girl likes it when he comes over to play.

Sparkle Girl and Ned were sitting at the kitchen table waiting for Sparkle Girl’s mom to make pimiento-cheese sandwiches for lunch. Her little brother, Doobins, and their dog, Buster, were in the other room. Buster was taking a nap. Doobins was defending his castle from a dragon. Ned offered to help Sparkle Girl with alphabet words.

“A is for Ned,” said Ned.
“No! No! No!” said Sparkle Girl. “Quit messing with me. A is not for Ned. A is for Aunt Jenni.”
“Or A could be the ants that come when you have a picnic,” said Ned.
“I don’t think they should have different words that are pronounced the same way,” said Sparkle Girl. “It makes it hard to learn.”

“You’re right,” said Ned. “Let’s move on to B, as in ‘Sparkle Girl is beautiful.’ Does that make you feel better?”
“Yes,” said Sparkle Girl. “B could also be for barracudas.”
“Where did you hear about barracudas?” asked Ned.
“I saw a show about fish,” said Sparkle Girl. “It said that barracudas have lots of teeth.”
“That’s true,” said Ned.

“Time for C,” said Ned.
“I feel sorry for C,” Sparkle Girl said.
“Why is that?”
“Because it doesn’t have its own sound,” she said. “Sometimes, it sounds like an S and sometimes it sounds like a K but it never gets to sound just like a C.”
“Maybe you should make up a sound for it.”
“I might tomorrow,” she said.
“Why not today?” asked Ned.
“I already have way too many things to think about today,” Sparkle Girl said.
“OK,” he said. “In the meantime, let’s go with Cinderella and car.”
“I thought Cinderella rode in a carriage,” said Sparkle Girl.

“D has to be for dog, of course, as in ‘Buster is the best dog ever,’” said Ned.
“Yes, he is,” said Sparkle Girl. “What else?”
“D is for dogwood tree,” said Ned.
“I like it when they bloom in the spring,” said Sparkle Girl. “D is also for dirty, which is what Doobins gets when he steps in a mud puddle.”
“Duck is a good one, too,” said Ned.

“Next is E,” said Ned. “E is for ‘Eeeeeee!, which is what you say when you see a camel cricket in the basement.”
“When I see a camel cricket in the basement, I do not say, ‘Eeeeeee!’ Sparkle Girl said. “When I see a camel cricket in the basement, I say, “Yew!’”
“I see,” said Ned. “What should we have for E then?”
“How about Everest, the highest mountain in the world? We learned about it in school.”
“An excellent E word,” said Ned. “And did you know that elephant is an E word even though it sounds as if it starts with an L?”
“I did know that,” said Sparkle Girl.
“You’re very smart,” said Ned.
‘I know,” said Sparkle Girl. “Do you think it would be OK for the elephant to be purple? That’s my favorite color.”
“Of course,” said Ned.

“F is for flimflam,” said Ned.
“What does a flimflam look like?” said Sparkle Girl.
“It doesn’t look like anything. I just like saying it. Let’s say F is for photograph.”
“OK…wait a minute,” said Sparkle Girl. “You’re trying to trick me again. Photograph is one of those PH words that just sound like F.”
“You’re too smart for me,” said Ned. “Let’s say F is for farm.”
“That’s better,” said Sparkle Girl. “If I had a farm, it would have a pony.”
“If I had a farm,” Ned said, “it would have a farm manager so that I could sit on the porch and rock.”
“Fire truck,” said Doobins from the other room.

“Next is G, as in goat, gorilla, gladiola, grandmother and grandfather,” said Ned. “G is also genius, which you might think is a J word if you didn’t know better.”
“When Mommy does something really smart,” Sparkle Girl said, “she says to us, “I’m a genius!’”
“Sometimes she is a genius,” Ned said. “Do you feel bad for G, too, because sometimes it has to share its sound with J?”
“No,” said Sparkle Girl. “I think G is happy to share. Not like Ashley who wouldn’t let me borrow her purple crayon when mine broke.”

“H is for Hannah’s holiday hat,” said Ned.
“I think hot dog would be better,” said Sparkle Girl. “I’m hungry.”
“Hold your horses,” said Sparkle Girl’s mom. “I’m working on it.”
“Horse is a good H word,” said Ned. “I like my hot dog with mustard.”
“Yew! Too spicy,” said Sparkle Girl. “I like mine with just ketchup.”

“Do you know what’s next?” asked Ned.
“I,” said Sparkle Girl. “And don’t try to trick me. I already know that the eye that you see with is not an I word.”
“You’re a genius, too,” said Ned. “I think that I should be for ice cream.”
“Do you think we’ll have some after lunch?” said Sparkle Girl.
“If you eat all of your pimiento-cheese sandwiches, you will,” her mother said.
“What other I words do you know?” said Ned.
“Igloo,” said Sparkle Girl. “Insect.”

“I say, ‘J is for jump,’’ said Ned. “What do you say?”
“I say J is for joke,” Sparkle Girl said. “And I think you should tell me one.”
“OK,” said Ned. “Why did the chicken cross the playground?”
“I know that one,” Sparkle Girl said. “To get to the other slide.”
“Other good J words are jet, jack-in-the-box and Japanese tea garden,” said Ned.
“I especially like the Japanese tea garden at school when the cherry trees are blooming,” said Sparkle Girl.

“K is for kangaroo,” said Sparkle Girl.
“Hey! Hey!” said Ned. “It’s my job to announce the letters. Just for that, K is for knowledge, knee, knick-knack, knight and knob.”
“You have got to be kidding,” said Sparkle Girl. “None of those words sound as if they start with a K, and I know for sure that night starts with an N.”
“Well, night does when it’s “after the sun goes down” night,” said Ned. “But it starts with a K when it’s ‘wearing a suit of armor and riding a horse’ knight.”
“Why did they make English so complicated?” asked Sparkle Girl.
“People made it up as they went along, and these things just happened,” said Ned.

“L is for llama,” said Ned.
“And lion,” said Sparkle Girl.
“And elevator,” said Ned.
“No, no, no,” said Sparkle Girl. “Elevator is another one of those tricky L sounds like elephant.”

“M is for magnet,’” said Ned.
“Mommy says I have a magnetic personality,” said Sparkle Girl.
“Does that mean nails stick to you?” said Ned.
“No,” said Sparkle Girl. “I stepped on a nail once. It really hurt, and I had to get a shot. Mommy said that magnetic personality means that people like being around me.”
“I like being around you,” said Ned.
“That’s sweet, Ned,” said Sparkle Girl’s mom.
“Mermaid is a good M word, too,” said Sparkle Girl.
“But I don’t like mosquitoes,” said Ned.
“Me either,” said Sparkle Girl.

“N is definitely for Ned,” said Ned.
“N is for pneumonia, too,” said Sparkle Girl. “Doobins had pneumonia when he was little, and I went to stay with Grandpa and Grandma.”
“I remember,” said Ned. “Only pneumonia doesn’t start with N. It starts with P.”
“P?” said Sparkle Girl. “It’s silent like those sneaky K’s?”
“Exactly,” said Ned.
“Are they trying to drive me crazy?” said Sparkle Girl.
“It seems like that sometimes, doesn’t it?” said Ned. “Let’s think of some other N words.”
“Nectarines are good,” said Sparkle Girl.”
“Yes, they are,” said Ned. “So are noodles with butter and sprinkle cheese.”

“O is for orange,” said Ned.
“O is for octopus,” said Sparkle Girl. “Doobins wants a toy octopus to go with his killer whale, dolphin and shark.”
“Did you know that an octopus has eight legs just like a spider?” said Ned.
“Maybe they’re related,” said Sparkle Girl.
“Maybe they’re cousins,” said Ned.

“We’re gong to take a break with P and just come up with P words that aren’t tricky,” said Ned. “Planet, peacock, piano, poodle, pumpkin, palm tree, pencil, penguin and polar bear.”
“That would be a nice party if you had a peacock, poodle and penguin singing songs while a polar bear played the piano,” said Sparkle Girl.
“Yes, it would,” said Ned.

“Q is for queen and question mark,” said Ned.
“And quilt and quarter,” said Sparkle Girl. “Daddy gave me a quarter once when I ran from the porch to the oak tree and back before he counted to 15.”
“Did you know that Q has to be followed by U whenever it’s at the start of the word?”
“Why?”
“Because it’s shy and doesn’t like to go out alone,” said Ned.
“Are you messing with me?” said Sparkle Girl.
“Yes,” said Ned.
“I thought so,” said Sparkle Girl.

“R is for Rapunzel and Rumpelstiltskin,” said Ned.
“I like that story,” said Sparkle Girl.
“I think they’re in different stories,” said Ned.
“Oh, yeah,” said Sparkle Girl. “Rhinestones and ribbons are good R words.”
“And rooster and reindeer,” said Ned. “Did you know that, even if you have more than one reindeer, you don’t add an S at the end?”
“If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” said Sparkle Girl.
“You’re right about that,” said Ned.

“All sorts of great words start with S,” said Ned. “Space ship, Santa Claus, sun, snowflake, seashell, sunglasses, sousaphone, Stop sign, seed, skirt.”
“Did you know that you’re not supposed to look at the sun even if you’re wearing sunglasses and that Mommy didn’t stop at a Stop sign once and a policeman turned on his blue light?” said Sparkle Girl. “Doobins thought it was great.”
“I’ll bet he did,” said Ned.

“T is busy letter, too,” said Ned. “Tree, Tooth Fairy, telephone pole, tomato, typewriter, turtle, train, teepee and Tarzan. Aaooaaoohhh.”
“What are you doing, Ned?” said Sparkle Girl.
“That was my Tarzan call,” said Ned. “It needs a little practice.”
“Yes, it does,” said Sparkle Girl.

“U is for unicorn,” said Ned. “I saw one once.”
“I rode one once,” said Sparkle Girl.
“Now you’re messing with me,” said Ned. “Umbrella is another good U word.”
“And onion,” said Sparkle Girl.
“No, onion is an O word,” said Ned.
“Maybe we should go back to T. It was easier,” said Sparkle Girl.
“No, we’re almost to Z,” said Ned.

“V is for varmint, as in “Get out of town, you varmint,’” said Ned.
“That’s a good one,” said Sparkle Girl. “So is volcano.”
“And vase,” said Ned.
“That wasn’t my fault,” said Sparkle Girl. “Doobins pushed me; and my elbow hit it; and it crashed on the floor.”
“Do you think our ice cream for dessert could be V as in vanilla?” said Ned.
“I think that can be arranged,” said Sparkle Girl’s mom.

“You have to watch out for W,” said Ned. “It can be silent sometimes. Wrinkle and wrong are W words.”
“That’s just not right,” said Sparkle Girl.
“No, it’s wrong,” said Ned. “But there are lots of good W words, too. Water lily, windmill, woman, window, wiggle, wonderful, wink.”
“Sometimes, Daddy winks at me when he tells me I’m pretty,” said Sparkle Girl.

“X can be trouble, too,” said Ned. “There are hardly any words that start with X but all sorts of words that sound as if they start with X, such as extra and excellent. And sometimes X sounds like a Z, as in xylophone.”
“X-ray is a real X word,” said Sparkle Girl.
“And X marks the spot when you go hunting for treasure,” said Ned.

“We’re almost there,” said Ned. “Y is for you.”
“What?” said Sparkle Girl. “U is for U.”
“I mean Y-O-U as in you and me and Doobins and Buster and your mom and dad.”
“Oh,” said Sparkle Girl. “Yellow is a Y word. So are yummy and yam.”
“I don’t know any yams that can yodel but I do know one that can yo-yo,” said Ned.
“You do not,” said Sparkle Girl.

“Z is for ‘The zeppelin zigzagged after the pilot – a zebra named Zelda – got the controls stuck in the zipper to her zacket.’”
“Don’t you mean jacket?” said Sparkle Girl.
“Well, yes,” said Ned, “but I thought zacket sounded better.”
“Time for lunch,” said Sparkle Girl’s mom.
“What are those green circles next to the pimiento-cheese sandwiches?” said Ned.
“Zucchini,” said Ned’s mom.
“Hey, we forgot S is for Sparkle Girl,” said Sparkle Girl.
“Good thing you remembered,” said Ned.
“I’ll say,” said Sparkle Girl.

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