Best Day Ever
That day is like no other. The sun seems sunnier, the birds are not all pigeons, hot dogs are plumper, and real dogs don't smell quite as bad when they get wet.
It was the first day of summer vacation.
"This is the best," said Lenny.
"You bet," said Mel.
They were in the living room. Mel was lying on the couch. Lenny was lying on the floor. It was nine A.M. and they weren't at school.
"I could do this all day," said Lenny.
"I could do this all summer," said Mel.
The boys' father walked into the room. "So what are the big plans for vacation?" he asked.
"This," said Lenny, not moving.
"That's not very exciting," said their father.
"It's a free country," said Mel.
"Well, you're going to get bored very quickly if you don't think of stuff to do."
"We haven't done this since last summer," said Lenny.
"Too bad camp wouldn't take you back," said their father. "They'd have plenty for you to do."
"Aren't you late for work?" asked Mel.
Their father looked at the clock. "Eegah!" he shouted, and he bolted out the door.
"Wait! Your lunch!" shouted their mother, and she ran after him, just like every other morning.
"No rushing around for us," said Lenny.
"None at all," said Mel.
And they hunkered down for a day of doing what they were doing: nothing.
"Ugh, why'd he have to mention camp?" said Lenny. "This beats camp any day."
"You bet," said Mel. "No one around to steal your pudding when you're not looking."
"None of that smelly crud in the tire swing," said Lenny.
"That stuff that was full of mosquitoes?" asked Mel.
"That's the stuff," said Lenny. "And no having to make those awful Pioneer Biscuits."
"Those things were hard," said Mel. "I almost broke a tooth."
"I think I still have a bruise from where you threw yours at me," said Lenny.
"Oh," said Mel. "Sorry about that."
"Enough talk," said Lenny. "We're on vacation."
"Oh, right," said Mel.
"Okay, kids," said their mother. "No more sitting around being bored. Let's go to Animal Town."
"Eh," said Mel from the couch.
"Umf," said Lenny from the floor.
"Come on!" she said. "You boys love animals."
"Is Animal Town a zoo?" asked Mel.
"It's different from a zoo," said their mother.
"Yeah, no elephants," said Lenny.
"Zoos can be zoos without elephants," said Mel. "They just need weird stuff. Do they have wombats?"
"No," said their mother.
"Manatees?" asked Mel.
"No manatees," said their mother.
"That's the same as manatees," said Lenny.
"No, it isn't," said Mel.
"Close enough," said their mother. "Animal Town helps injured animals. They live there until they get well. Like an animal nursing home."
"Are the animals all old?" asked Lenny.
"I bet they sit around in their pajamas all day and play bingo," said Mel.
"That's not what it's like at all," said their mother. "Everybody in the car."
The boys got up and slowly walked to the car.
They pulled into the gravel parking lot.
"Where are the animals' houses?" asked Lenny. "This doesn't look like a town at all."
"No, they're animals that live in the woods," said Mel. "They should live in campers."
"Manatees don't live in the woods," said Lenny.
"Neither do dugongs," said Mel.
"Knock it off, you two," said their mother. "Most of the animals here live in holes in the ground, not houses."
"Then they should call it 'A Bunch of Holes in the Ground with Animals in Them Town,'" said Lenny.
"It's more truthful," said Mel.
"I don't think that would fit on the sign," said their mother. "Now, let's go."
The boys and their mother walked up to a fenced-in area. fox, said a sign on the fence.
"Where is he?" asked Mel.
"Probably in his hole," said their mother. "Foxes are nocturnal."
"Huh?" asked Lenny. He was only half-paying attention. Trying to see through the ground was tough business.
"Foxes only come out at night," said their mother. She made a face. "He sure is fragrant though."
"You bet," said Mel.
Just then a ranger walked up. "Hi, I'm Ranger Jorge," he said. "What do you guys think about the fox?"
"He reeks," said Lenny.
"Well, that's how he marks his territory," said Ranger Jorge.
"His territory reeks," said Mel.
"It keeps the other foxes away," said Ranger Jorge.
"Do you have any animals that come out during the day?" asked Lenny. "Or does the stinky fox keep them all away?"
"There's a squirrel over there," said Mel, pointing.
"The squirrels aren't part of Animal Town," said Ranger Jorge. "They just come and try to steal food from the residents."
"Even though they reek?" asked Lenny.
"Not all of them mark their territory like the fox does," said Ranger Jorge. "We've got an otter. He's usually out during the day."
"Maybe we otter see him," said Mel.
"If I had a nickel for every time I heard that," sighed Ranger Jorge.
"You'd probably have a quarter, I bet," said Lenny.
Ranger Jorge gave Lenny an odd look, and then he led them to the otter pen.
Two little eyes peered out of a murky puddle at the group.
"Is that it?" asked Mel.
"There's more to him, he's just underwater," said Ranger Jorge.
Suddenly the otter jumped out of the water and ran to the top of a dirt mound. He turned and slid on his stomach back down into the water. Then he peered back up at the group.
"Bravo!" said Mel.
"Right on!" said Lenny.
Lenny, Mel, and their mother clapped.
"Shhh," said Ranger Jorge. "Clapping upsets the animals. If you want to applaud, you have to clam-clap."
"Excuse me?" said Lenny.
Ranger Jorge held up one hand and slapped his fingers into his palm. "Clam-clap," he said.
"Clam-clap, eh?" said Mel.
The otter stayed put in the water. Otters don't care for clam-claps.
"Do you have a gift shop?" asked Lenny.
"Sure," said Ranger Jorge, disappointed that yet again the clam-clap was not a big success.
Lenny and Mel each got T-shirts that had an otter on them.
"They otter give those animals coffee or something so they stay awake during the day," said Lenny.
"We otter write a letter and suggest that," said Mel. Their mother sighed, knowing that they probably would.
Copyright © 2003 by Erik P. Kraft
Lenny and Mel's Summer Vacation
Dad says it'll be an "adventure." But Lenny and Mel know this is parent code for "bad stuff." Why can't they just do what they want this summer?
- Aladdin |
- 64 pages |
- ISBN 9780689868740 |
- April 2012 |
- Grades 2 - 5