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TITLE: Strings of Color
By Melinda Melton

Target audience is children ages 7-10. I observed Hailey and her grandfather and then came up with this cute fiction piece.
Hailey kept looking at the clock in the classroom. One more minute and she was free to play. She and her friends have been planning their playtime all day. She squirmed in her seat and looked at her friends, Sarah and Mary. They were watching the clock too. Five, four, three, two, one, RING! They bolted from their seats and ran outside to the car where Hailey’s grandmother waited.

Soon they were pulling up in the driveway and as soon as the car turned off, they jumped out and ran inside and bounded up the stairs to Hailey’s bedroom. Mary pulled out the play clothes and Sarah plugged in the karoke machine and turned the microphones on. Hailey got the instruments lined up. She set the drums up for Sarah and got the tambourine with the red and gold ribbons out for Mary. She saved the guitar for herself. It belonged to her grandpa and she borrowed it just for today. She was sure he wouldn’t mind. After dressing up in colorful glasses, hats and high heeled shoes, they began to play rockband!

Strum, strum, strum, rat a tat, rat a tat, jingle, jingle, jingle, then boing, plunk, plink! The guitar strings snapped off! All three girls froze and with wide eyes, looked at the guitar. The strings were curled and hanging off the guitar in different directions. Oh no, thought Hailey. I’ve really gone and done it this time. What should I do? Mary and Sarah suddenly had to go home and ran from the room. She heard the front door slam as they hurried out of the house.

Hailey’s stomach felt like it fell down to her feet. She remembered her Grandpa telling her not to play with his guitar because it was very expensive and hard to replace. She was only allowed to play it if he was with her. She needed to replace those strings but with what? She couldn’t get replacement strings out of his guitar case because she borrowed those to finish her Solar System project for school. He didn’t know she borrowed those either. Oh boy. She was really in trouble now.

She had to find strings. Running to the bathroom, she pulled out her hair ribbons. She found two long ones and tied them together. They were pink with purple and green dots. Very pretty. She tied them to the guitar. So far so good, she thought. Next she ran to the kitchen and found some white string her grandma uses for cooking and tied that to the guitar. She sat and thought for a minute then ran to the garage and found some green string her grandpa uses to mark off his garden and sometimes used for flying kites. She ran back upstairs and tied the green string to the guitar. She sat and breathed hard from all the running. She needed one more string. Then she snapped her fingers and ran back down the stairs to her grandma’s knitting basket and found some bright blue yarn. Running back up the stairs, she tied the last string to the guitar and stood back to look at her handiwork. She looked at the bright strings, tied in pretty bows and as she placed the guitar back in the case and snapped it closed she wondered if anyone would notice.
That night was their prayer meeting night and she always went with her grandparents. They led the praise and worship and her grandpa played the guitar. She kept squirming in her seat and tapping her fingers on the chair. Her grandma told her more than once to be still, but she just couldn’t! She wondered if anyone would notice the guitar.

Finally, the moment came when the singing would begin and her grandpa opened the guitar case and with his mouth opened in surprise, lifted the guitar from the case and just stared at it. The room was so silent you could hear a pin drop. Then someone giggled and the whole room erupted into laughter. Hailey shrank back in her chair and tried to become as small as possible because she was so embarrassed and humiliated. Her grandpa looked directly at her and said, “Hailey, come with me.” And they left the room with laughter ringing in Hailey’s ears.
Grandpa asked Hailey if she had anything she wanted to tell him. So, Hailey told him the story of borrowing his guitar without his permission and accidently breaking the strings. She told him about finding replacement strings because she had already borrowed his other strings for a school project. Grandpa rubbed his hand over his head and face and sighed deeply.

Hailey felt like she tried her best to make him happy by replacing the strings with bright pretty ones but was afraid that he would send her away to live with someone else, like her mother had sent her away to live with her grandparents because she was always messing up.
Grandpa sighed again and told her there were consequences to her actions and that she was grounded for two weeks and in that two weeks time, she had to find a way to replace those strings with real guitar strings. Hailey told him how sorry she was and begged him not to send her away. Grandpa gathered Hailey in close and hugged her tight. Then he told her, “I’ll never send you away Hailey. I love you. We’ll get through this.”
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