by Bonnie Blake (Canada)
Hop…step…hop went Beth up the driveway. She flung open the wooden gate and galloped into the backyard.
“Please go to the store for me,” said her mother. “I’m not done planting the tulips.”
“What are we having for lunch?” Beth asked.
“I haven’t decided yet, but we need bread.”
Slap…slap…slap went Beth’s pink running shoes on the way to the store.
“I love raisin bread,” she thought. “But we haven’t had corn in a long time. Hot buttery corn!”
Bump! A tall girl in yellow striped spandex shorts skated past. Click…swish went her wheels.
“Wow! I wish I could rollerblade that fast!” thought Beth.
As she ran along the cement, Beth pretended to zoom down steep hills in her striped yellow shorts, around sharp corners, and past all the slow people.
Beth ran into the market.
“Hello, Mr. Mike,” Beth said. She called all the men Mr. Mike and all the women Ms. Mike who worked there. After all, it was Mike’s store. Beth scanned the candy shelves.
“I’ve come to buy…” Beth stopped. “My mother wanted… Uh, I can’t remember.”
“Was it something to eat?” the storekeeper asked.
“Yes. It was for lunch. I was thinking how much I loved raisin bread and then this awesome girl whizzed by in bright yellow shorts. Wait! I know! It’s corn!”
“Good for you,” the storekeeper said. He handed Beth four ears of corn.
Beth tore into her house. Her mother was drying her hands.
“Corn!” cried her mother. “I didn’t want corn. I wanted bread.”
“Yes, well, back you go.”
Scrape…scrape…scrape went Beth’s feet down the sidewalk. She dragged her toes over the cement.
“I like raisin bread but I wish we were having brown beans too,” she thought. “Hey, what’s that?”
A leaf jumped in the grass. She tip-toed closer to the ragged leaf. Again it moved! Beth giggled. It was clamped in the mouth of a green bug.
“It isn’t jumping by itself,” she thought. “That would be weird. Just like Mexican jumping beans.”
Beth daydreamed about hopping leaves, somersaulting flowers and twirling trees.
Beth whirled into the shop. The bell jangled sharply.
“Hello, Mr. Mike.”
“Hello again, Beth. What would you like to buy this time?”
“Please may I…” Beth stopped. “I forget what I wanted.”
“Was it for lunch?”
Beth nodded. All she could remember were leaping leaves and flipping flowers.
“Yes,” Beth said hesitantly. “I think it was beans.”
When Beth returned home she called out, “I’m back!”
Her mother pulled cooking pots from the stove drawer. She looked into the bag.
“Beans!” she cried. She shook her head. “No, no, Miss Forgetful. I wanted bread.
Pant…pant…pant went Beth as she raced back to the store. She would be too quick to forget this time.
“Raisin bread! Raisin bread!” she chanted. “But we need something to go with it,” she thought.
A fire truck zoomed by, the siren smothering her thoughts. Beth watched it flash down the street.
The red lights gleamed like hothouse tomatoes.
“Wow! I’m going to be a firefighter! I’d make a great firechief,” Beth dreamed.
She wailed like a siren all the way to the store. In she charged.
“Hello, Mr. Mike,” she called.
“Hello again, Beth. You sure are a busy girl today.”
“Yes. I would like to buy…”
She couldn’t have forgotten again! Beth chewed the end of her hair. She remembered striped yellow shorts, hopping Mexican leaves and red fire engines.
“Oh, no,” she sighed. “This just isn’t my day.”
“Well, let’s see,” said the storekeeper. “Last time it was beans and before that it was corn. What does your mother like to have with corn and beans?”
“Tomatoes!?” exclaimed her mother. “Beth, I don’t think you are trying to remember. I’m going to write you a note.”
“What did you want from the store?” Beth asked.
“Bread. Any kind of bread you can manage to buy.”
“Oh yeah! I remember now,” shouted Beth as she raced out the door.
“Wait! You forgot the note!”
Beth thought about bread. Bread as toast. Bread and peanut butter. Scrambled eggs on bread. French toast. Bread stuffing. Bread with jam. She kept her eyes straight ahead. She didn’t stop to pat the puppy on a front lawn. She didn’t join the girls skipping rope. She ran out of bread ideas just as she reached the store.
The storekeeper laughed. “Beth, you are my best customer today, but couldn’t you buy it all at once?”
“This is my very last trip.”
“If you say so.”
Beth marched home with her bag and stamped into the house.
“Here it is, Mom.”
“Here is what? Never mind. Whatever it is, it will do.”
At lunch, Beth told her brother, “I made four trips to the store for Mom. I was a big help!”
Her mother chuckled as she placed Beth’s food on the table.
Beth sighed happily. “Beans, corn, tomatoes and raisin bread! How did you know it was just what I wanted?”
“I can’t imagine,” said her mother. “Somehow, it just came to me.”
“A Trip to the Market” Copyright © 1997 by Bonnie Blake
Illustrations Copyright © 1997 by Bonnie Blake
All Rights Reserved