Archive for February, 2008

Wooden Nickels and Magic Ice (A Story)

Once, someone said to Doobins, “Remember, don’t take any wooden nickels.”

Doobins enjoys few things more than being contrary, so he said, “Oh, I’m going to take some wooden nickels.”

At the time, he didn’t even know what a wooden nickel was. But he found out, and, with help from Jerome and Mr. Chundy and his other friends, he amassed quite a collection.

At first, he didn’t have anywhere special to keep his wooden nickels. So, each day, he would carefully transfer them from the pocket of yesterday’s pants to today’s pants. Sparkle Girl thought that Doobins needed a better place for them, so she emptied the cigar box where she kept ribbon for art projects and gave it to him.

After that, Doobins would carry his cigar box of wooden nickels around with him everywhere he went. Before he went to bed at night, he would move the grandfather clock that stood in front of the closet where their mother kept her wings, open the door and put the box in with the wings to keep the wooden nickels safe.

He and Sparkle Girl liked looking at their mother’s wings, so, sometimes, they stood there for a minute before closing the door and moving the grandfather clock back in place.

As much as Doobins prized his wooden nickels, he liked smashing Magic Ice even more.

Magic Ice is one of Mr. Chundy’s specialties. When you smash a piece of Magic Ice in the street, you never know what will spring up. Once, eight tiny ballerinas appeared, and they danced in a circle before disappearing a minute or two later.

Another time, tiny hot-air balloons with tiny ducks in the baskets floated up out of the pavement, floated around in front of them for a minute before floating back down and disappearing as they landed.

As wonderful as the things were that appeared when smashing Magic Ice, Doobins got it into his head that they might be even better if the ice were thrown from up in the oak tree near the street. What he needed, Doobins decided, was a treehouse.

As soon as Doobins said that, Sparkle Girl realized that she, too, needed a treehouse.

Because Jerome and Bonnie were so tall, they couldn’t fit inside Sparkle Girl and Doobins’ house. The only way they could eat at their house was to stick their heads through the kitchen window. Once, Jerome had banged his head on the ceiling, and he had a big knot on it for three days.

With a treehouse, Jerome and Boonie could walk up, and their heads would be at just the right height.

Doobins and Sparkle Girl have the good fortune to have the best possible grandparents that anyone could have. Their names are Wild Tim and Sweet Kathy. When Wild Tim heard that Doobins and Sparkle Girl wanted a treehouse, he announced that he was going to build them one that Saturday.

And that’s exactly what he did. He even made a sign that said, “Doobins and Sparkle Girl’s Magic-Ice-Smashing Treehouse Diner.”

Sparkle Girl knew just what she was going to do to thank Wild Tim. She was going to serve him and Sweet Kathy, along with Garnet and Doobins, of course, the first meal at Sparkle Girl’s Treehouse Diner.

After thinking about it, Doobins realized that the best thing to do to thank Wild Tim would be give him the collection of wooden nickels. Nothing else that he owned mattered enough to him to show how much he appreciated what his grandfather had done.

The next Saturday, there sat everyone in the treehouse looking at the menus that Sparkle Girl had drawn just for the occasion. They saw that the appetizer was deluxe pimiento cheese finger sandwiches with the crust cut off, the salad would have red peppers and the main course would be spaghetti with mushrooms.

Wild Tim loved dark chocolate so dessert would be Sparkle Girl’s Famous Dark-Chocolate Cookies, made with a dollop of blackberry jam. In all the time that Sparkle Girl had been making them no one had ever been able to resist having a second one.

In the time that it took Sweet Kathy and Garnet to eat two each, Wild Tim polished off five. After he was done, he pushed back his chair, and said, “That is the best meal I have eaten since that camel-cricket fry we had last summer.”

Sparkle Girl knew that her grandfather might eat a camel cricket if there was anyone around to impress. But she also knew that he hadn’t had a camel-cricket fry because, if he had, he would have invited her so that he could watch her go around all evening saying, “Yew, yew, yew.”

So she just said, “I’m glad you liked it.”

Next, Doobins presented the cigar box of wooden nickels to Wild Tim. Having watched Doobins carry that cigar box with him everywhere he went for weeks, Wild Tim knew just how big a present it was.

“Wow, Doobins,” said Wild Tim. “You know what I’m thinking? I’m thinking that I should build a display case for the wooden nickels on the wall there so everyone can enjoy them.”

“That’s a good idea,” said Doobins.

“Between the wonderful dinner and wonderful present,” Wild Tim said, “this is the most fun I have had since the night I filled the back of the pick-up truck with water and put Sparkle Girl and Doobins in the back and drove around the farm.”

He really had done that, much to the dismay of Garnet when she found out later.

“We’re not done yet,” said Doobins.

He opened up a cooler. Inside was one piece of Magic Ice. Magic Ice comes in all sorts of color combinations. This one was purple with flecks of gold in it.

“You get to throw the first piece from the treehouse,” said Doobins.

“That’s quite an honor,” said Wild Tim.

Everyone stepped to the railing of the treehouse. Wild Tim threw the Magic Ice as hard as he could onto the street below. When it smashed, a column of red glass sprouted from the pavement. As it grew, it branched out. By the time it stopped growing, they were looking at a tree of red glass as big as the oak tree.

By then it was twilight. Doobins scooted down the ladder and ran into the house, returning a minute later with a bunch of flashlights.

“Good idea,” said Wild Tim.

Everyone climbed down and Doobins gave each of them a flashlight. When they flashed the lights through the tree, the light coming out the other side looked as if it came from a searchlight.

“This is even more fun than the time that Doobins got a pea stuck up his nose,” said Sparkle Girl.

“You’re right about that,” said Garnet. “Time for bed, little ones.”

Wild Tim and Sweet Kathy stayed to tuck them in.

“No good-night kiss for me,” said Doobins.

“We know,” said Sweet Kathy.

“I’ll take two – one from each of you,” said Sparkle Girl.

“That would be our pleasure,” said Sweet Kathy.

The end.