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Janet Elaine Smith "Star" Books

Her Godmother Excerpt

Her Godmother Excerpt

After breakfast, Allie got dressed and ready to go out for a walk with her godmother and Jupiter.
"Aunt Brigid, do I really need all this? The sun is out." She held a raincoat over her arm and an umbrella in her other hand as she slipped into her galoshes.
'"The Manor is a funny place weather-wise. Sometimes it rains here while everyplace else has sun. Storms move in quickly, and this summer it has not been like summer at all. In fact, it has been pretty chilly and it has rained a lot. When it does, it comes down so hard there are waterfalls of rain pouring down from the roof!"
Allie clomped outside in her heavy rubber galoshes and the moment they stepped outside she decided that Aunt Brigid was right. The rainbow and sun were gone, but that was not what caught her attention. Her eyes opened wide like saucers at what she saw.
There were no houses around anywhere. All she saw were trees.
"These are all Christmas trees, Aunt Brigid!"
"Yes, they are. I have different types here."
"It is—gorgeous!"
Brigid smiled. She liked the way her little goddaughter pronounced "gorgeous" so clearly.
As they walked, the mud slurped at their boots and Jupiter ran ahead of them and out of sight.
"Where is Jupiter?" Allie asked with worry. "Will he run into the street?"
"No, he will be around us. You'll see. He runs ahead so far and then he turns around, runs back and waits. Watch."
In a few moments the big dog was back. He was barking and running ahead, then running back, then he ran in circles around them, still barking as if to say "Hurry Up! You're missing it!" He splashed mud as he circled them, collecting dirt on his long wiry fur.
Allie looked up at the sky. There was a crawling dark shadow in the sky and a faint rumble. Allie heard her godmother say softly, "Thank you for the beauty of this day. Thank you for the blessings that will come to us."
"Who were you talking to?"
"I was saying one of my prayers, honey."
"Just like that? No amen? Just a couple of words?"
"It is what is felt from the heart that matters. To me, that is the best prayer."
"Do your prayers get answered?"
"I don't say prayers to get them answered, because in time what is best will be the answer. I just accept that there are some things I do not understand and never will. The answer to my prayer is being happy anyway."
"How do you do that? Be happy when things happen that you don't want or understand?"
"I have learned to trust that my Creator, Lord and Lady understand, and that things work out for a purpose that I may never know."
"When you say 'Creator,' do you mean God?"
"Yes, I think Creator is to me is what God is to others."
"What's the difference then? Why don't you say 'God' like everyone else?"
"Because I cannot begin to guess what Creator is like. Most people see 'God' as an elderly man. God may be or may not be like that. God could be a woman, or maybe God is even something else. What Creator is does not matter to me…" Brigid stopped. There was something in the grass that caught her attention.
"What is it, Aunt Brigid?"
"It's a toad. He must have been caught up by the rain. He needs to get back to the pond."
"You have a pond?" Allie gasped. Brigid gently picked him up, cupping him with her hands.
"Is he all right?"
"Yes, I think he is. He's trying to jump away."
"What are you going to do?"
"We'll walk to the pond and put him there. As long as he is at home, he will do fine when the next rain comes in later."
"I see clouds far away. How can you be so sure it will rain here?"
Pointing to a big red maple tree, Brigid replied, "Look at the leaves. The leaves are pointing upwards. The leaves tell me when it will rain. I learned that from a Native American teacher I studied with."
Allie walked in silence, thinking how really cool it was that her godmother would pick up a toad and know how to predict weather. Her mother didn't know how to do that, but then, neither did she. They were city. Aunt Brigid was country!
"Listen, Allie. Hear that?"
Allie heard, "Caw, caw, caw."
"Those are ravens and crows!"
"Do you have a lot of them?"
"Oh, yes! They are amazing birds."
"I have a friend in school who thinks they are unlucky. She says they mean someone is going to die."
"What a sad thought! I believe the raven can see the past and future, and when they show up there will be changes."
"What kind of changes?"
"I haven't learned to speak raven...yet." Brigid giggled. Soon they were at the pond.
"Allie, would you like to be the one that sets him free?"
"What does he feel like?"
"Pet him while I hold him."
At first Allie carefully extended a finger. She had heard that frogs felt slimy. As she touched his tiny head, she exclaimed, "He is so soft! I thought he would feel rough and icky."
"No, he feels soft. In that you are right. But we have to get him to the pond because he is what is called 'cold-blooded.' In the wintertime he will hibernate. By that I mean…"
"He will go to sleep," Allie added quickly.
"You are smart! So it's important that he be able to go home for what he needs so his body can stay at a good temperature for him."
Brigid stretched her hand out for Allie to take the frog. Allie giggled. He was so squirmy, she had to cup her hands around him so he wouldn't jump away. She stooped over and laughed as he jumped from her hands into the pond. Then he was gone.
The shadow in the sky that had been slowly crawling toward them was suddenly overhead and drenching them with rain. Allie now knew why her godmother had wanted her to bring her raincoat. She put it on as quickly as possible. As she was pounded by the hard rain, the temperature rose quickly and everything around her felt steamy. She began to sweat under the plastic cloth.
"It's getting so hot so fast, Aunt Brigid."
"It might cool off after this storm. So far, to be honest, it's been not like the beginning of summer at all. We still have humid days once in awhile. At least when we get home we can put on the ceiling fans and air conditioning if it stays hot. Oh, Allie—watch where you wa…"
Brigid was not able to warn her soon enough. A confused Allie lay flat in the mud, with a boot standing up in a deep puddle. Brigid laughed and laughed.
"Where did this mud come from?"
"I tried to tell you to watch out for mud. When it rains, there are parts of the ground that get soggy and wet very fast. Are you okay?" She knelt down, using a kerchief to wipe Allie's face.
"I'm sorry. I am all dirty!"
"A little mud never hurt anyone!"
As quickly as the harsh rain began, it stopped. Allie struggled on one foot as Brigid went to get her boot. The ground slurped as she pulled and tugged at it. With muddied boot in hand, she took off Allie's muddy sock and put the boot back on her sockless foot. Brigid picked up a handful of mud and asked, "Now, we are not going to call this walk off because of mud and rain, are we?" Then she smeared Allie's coat with more mud. Suddenly, Jupiter ran up to and past them, hurdling himself into the pond.
"Oh, no!" Brigid moaned.
"Can he get hurt?"
"No. It's just that—say, have you ever given a dog a…" Brigid paused, then spelled in a whispered voice, "b-a-t-h? He really needs one now! I think Jupiter has earned himself a"—Brigid spelled out the word "bath" again. "I'm hoping, Allie, that one day he does not learn how to spell! He has plenty of places to hide."




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