Come with me, dear reader, and travel to a busy little town spread across rolling hills and sloping valleys, painted by a Divine Being with colorful flowers and soft, green grass and trees of all varieties. Can you see it? Can you feel the breeze tousle your hair and bright, warm sunshine caress your face? Do you smell the summer air? Step aside, now, and tip your hat to the two young ladies speaking animatedly to one another. Oh, but this is our imagination and they pass by without knowledge of our presence. Hmmm…shall we follow them?
Let’s listen. They are speaking of the particular quirks and joys of junior high: namely, boys.
The petite, strawberry blond is wearing a flowing pink-tiered skirt with a white blouse. “But Callie, Ben is so dreamy. Is it my fault he’s totally clueless?” she says as she giggles behind one slender hand.
“Clueless to what?” Her companion is the exact opposite. Tall, and a bit heavier, she is wearing faded blue jeans and a navy t-shirt that brings out the red highlights in her auburn hair.
“Oh, everything.” Katie chuckles again.
Callie rolls her eyes heavenward. “Let me guess. It’s up to you, Katie, to raise his IQ?”
“That’d be great…if you could actually talk to him.”
Color creeps into Katie’s cheeks and she attempts indifference by shrugging her thin shoulders. “I just get…butterflies, sometimes. Nervous when he’s around.”
“Whatever. How can you become friends, let alone have any other kind of relationship, if you can’t talk to the guy?”
Katie ignores her. “We better hurry or we’ll miss it. And, I want to grab something to eat before it starts.”
“Fine by me!”
If we want to stay with them, my friend, we must match their quickened pace. Once we round this corner…ah! There you have it: downtown. And, my, is it busy! There are all types of vendors clustered around city hall, selling food and drinks and crafts of all sorts. Look at the funny clowns on stilts! Over there is a puppet show for children and several booths are handing out bright balloons. This must be a festival. Oh, but we have been too busy gawking and have lost sight of the girls. Just scan the crowd, now. Callie is rather tall and hard to miss…ah-ha! They are over by the corndog stand. Let’s hurry over there before we lose them again! Katie is talking.
“…can’t believe Jenny would do something like that! It was so mean-spirited.”
“She’s a cheerleader. What did you expect?”
“What is that supposed to mean? I’m a cheerleader, too.”
Ignoring Katie, Callie takes an enormous bite of corndog and her speech is muffled from the effort of speaking around it. “That’s why I didn’t even bother trying out. I hate the drama.”
“Well, my dear,” Katie’s eyes sweep Callie briefly. “I don’t think we’d have an outfit large enough for you.”
Callie’s ample cheeks fill with color. “Well, you don’t exactly come across as the world’s kindest cheerleader.” She throws the half-eaten corndog in the trash and stomps away.
Katie wipes her mouth delicately and deposits the napkin in the trash before catching up to Callie. Stick close behind them now, lest we get lost among the crowd again. “Darling, you know I was joking. I didn’t mean to be cruel. It’s no big deal; forgive and forget.” But Callie’s eyes still flicker dangerously. And considering Callie’s size versus her friend’s, perhaps Katie should learn to think before she speaks. In fact, Katie looks a little uneasy right now. “Oh, look at the time. Callie, we only have four minutes ‘till it starts. We’d better hurry.” She waits for Callie to lead the way.
Callie’s shoulders relax and her eyes soften. She attempts to make small talk as she weaves in and out of the crowd. “Do you know anyone who entered the competition this year?”
“My neighbor. She’s number forty-seven. Oh, and…Ben, number one.” Katie grins.
“Number one, you say?”
“Well, then I’ll bet you a donut that number thirteen will beat your Mr. Number One by a mile.”
“You’re on! But, who’s number thirteen?”
“Oooo, this aughtta be good!”
Gee, what is this competition? Is it a pie-eating contest? Or a demolition derby? Maybe this sign will tell us. It reads:
Valley City’s Frog Jumping Festival
The Frog Jumping Capital of Ohio
Well, if that don’t beat all...
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