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Category Archives: Stories in Progress

Larry the Lonely Leatherback

Hello friends.

This past Saturday I had the privilege of sharing my first picture book even though I haven’t finished the paintings.  I have the rest of the pages’ backgrounds and outlines done, but haven’t finished painting the characters.  I only have 4 pages to go!

I shared it with a local writing group called Redding Writer’s Forum which my husband has been a part of for several years.  He also took over doing their monthly newsletter and website.  You can see what they do here:   https://reddingwritersforum.com/ 

I am sure there will be a new post there with information about who read their work that day along with pictures of the group.  I met a nice lady there who wants to start another small writing group to get together maybe once a week over the summer break from the Redding Writer’s Forum group. She has a lot of excitement and energy to start this, so I am hoping to do it with her and a few others.

This is my first rough draft.  I want to improve it.  Also, on the parts where there is just text, those will actually be separate pages, and I want to do some ocean backgrounds for those that I have not come up with yet.  For the purpose of sharing it on Saturday, I printed out the words that will be on the pages of the characters and cut and temporarily attached them to those pages.

So for now, this is the first picture book I have been working on longer than I have Mr. C. Turtle Makes New Friends.  I have yet to finish the drawings, much less the paintings for that one!  So I have a great deal of work ahead, and I love it!  So here it is so far…

Larry the Lonely Leatherback

© Patsy H. Parker

Larry is lonely.

He does not have any friends to play with.  Last week he had to say goodbye to his best friend, Alicia, because she wanted to go explore a different part of the ocean.

Now Larry is sad.  He feels like crying.

When Larry feels lonely,

He is hoping to find a new friend.

Then suddenly he is surprised when his tummy starts growling.  

He was missing Alicia so much, he forgot to eat!  So Larry decides to look for his favorite food.

Larry dives…

 

Diving is Larry’s favorite part of swimming.

He dives all the way down to the bottom of the ocean to rest.

 

 

He sees a swarm of jellyfish!  Then they see him, too!

 

They swim fast to get away…

To be continued…

 

Now back to the drawing/painting board!

 

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

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Mr. C. Turtle, Page 2

Hello Friends,

I thought I would share page 2 of one of my stories I am working on right now.  In case you missed it,  you can click on the category Stories in Progress to see page 1.

I had two illustrations painted on one page, but I had to divide them so I could fit the text in.  So it doesn’t look the same, but eventually I hope to get it the way I want it!!

You know, one of these days, I really hope to get a new program where it won’t be so much trouble to put text with my uploaded pictures of my paintings!  If anyone has any suggestions on a reasonably priced program, please let me know!  Thank you!

So without further ado…..here’s page 2!

© Mr. C. Turtle Makes New Friends

By Patsy H. Parker

 

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Mr. C. Turtle Makes New Friends

Mr. C. Turtle Makes New Friends

© By Patsy H. Parker

 

Hello Friends,

Several months ago I wrote a story called “Mr. C. Turtle Makes New Friends.”  I haven’t put anything about it on my blog yet because I was still tweaking the story a bit.  But this is how it starts.  I decided to put the pictures of the paintings in my Word program and put in the dialogue to get a feel for how it could be.  Hopefully, you may be able to “see” where this story might be going!! Anyway, I began doodling in my sketchbook what I want my characters to look like a couple of months ago.  But I just got to trying to paint them last week.  These are just quick sketches without backgrounds.

So there is a little fish who you’ll find out more about later.  Then there is Mr. C. Turtle, the main character.  He wears a top hat and a monocle.  Eventually you will see what kind of personality he has if you haven’t figured it out already.  I have a lot of paintings to do to get this really going.  It will be one of my many summer projects I am going to be working on.

Yesterday, I also spent a few hours continuing to paint my pictures for my picture book “Larry, the Lonely Leatherback.”   One of the drawbacks of A.D.D. is I get bored with things quickly, so I have to have several different things to be working on at the same time.  I guess you don’t really have to have A.D.D. to work that way, though.  I have read that a lot of artists and writers are working on several projects at a time.  Now all I have to do is make myself a schedule for the rest of the summer!  Wish me luck!

By the way, I am also re-organizing my blog and learning to use tags correctly which I have learned that I think I majorly messed up!  Sorry if you’ve had trouble finding anything here.  It is always a work-in-progress…just like I am.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Counting Book Idea

Hello Friends,

A while back I wrote out this little counting book idea (to teach toddlers/preschoolers about femal sea turtles, but the one I did first was much too difficult to illustrate.  I re-did it and thought this one might be easier, but I haven’t really done any doodles for it yet.  The problem with this I think is that the counting is really more for rhyming instead of actually giving a child something to count! HA, HA!!  These things just come to me sometimes…another idea that needs lots of work!

So here it is!

1, 2, swimming in the blue.  (Picture of mama sea turtle swimming alone in the ocean.)

3, 4, paddling up to shore.  (Picture of mama sea turtle paddling to shore.)

5, 6, splashing water with her kicks.  (Picture of all of her fins splashing water.)

7, 8, reaching shore where her eggs she’ll lay.  (Picture of her digging the sand and making the hole for her eggs.)

9, 10, swimming out to sea again.  (Picture of her swimming back out to the ocean.)

I think the rhythm gets off on the 7, 8 line and the grammar would be weird for kids!  Oh well, back to the writing board!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Lenny the Laughing Leatherback – Revision #1

Hello Friends!  I’m still playing around with this story!  This time I put in parentheses what kind of pictures I would want to do since it would potentially be a picture book.  I would still like to hear what you think!

 

Lenny the Laughing Leatherback

Lenny laughs.  He laughs when jellyfish sting other fish. He snickers when octopuses get tangled up in seaweed. He howls when abalone get snatched off the rocks by divers.

The fish who get stung by jellyfish do not like Lenny.  (Picture of jellyfish stinging fish and Lenny laughing)

The octopuses who get tangled up in seaweed hate Lenny.  (Picture of octopuses tangled in seaweed and Lenny laughing.)

The abalone who get snatched up by divers loathe Lenny!  (Picture of diver’s huge hand capturing an abalone and Lenny laughing.)

When Lenny swims by them…

the fish frown.  (Picture of frowning fish.)

the octopuses ogle their eyes.  (Picture of octopuses with their eyes rolled up and angry looks.)

the abalone stamp their sticky feet!  (Picture of abalone with their ‘feet’ stamping on rocks.)

(Picture of Lenny swimming right up to the others with an angry look on his face and his chest puffed out at them.)

(Next picture is of all those creatures running away and hiding from Lenny.)

Lenny laughs and begins swimming away but is not looking where he is going.  He runs right into a huge wall of coral!  (Picture of him hitting the wall and saying ‘ouch!’  Then he holds his head with a pained expression and stops to rest on the bottom of the ocean but looking very angry!)

The fish hiding in the seaweed are laughing.  (Picture of the fish scattering and hiding in the seaweed as Lenny is glaring at them.)

The octopuses camouflaged in the coral are whispering, “P…p…poor L…L…Lenny b…b…bumped his big fat head!”  (Picture of coral that looks like the octopuses.)

Lenny yells at them, “S…s…stop it!”  They laugh loudly and swim away quickly before he can catch them.

The abalone stick themselves to rocks so Lenny won’t see them shaking in their shells.  They feel sorry for him a little, but have been too afraid to try to be his friends.  (Picture of shaking abalone on the rocks and Lenny shakes to show he’s making fun of them with a mean smirk on his face.)

When all is quiet around him, Lenny suddenly hears a faint clicking sound coming from under a seashell.  He grabs the shell and shakes it swiftly.  (A picture showing him angrily shaking the shell but not knowing there is a hermit crab inside – readers see it but Lenny doesn’t.)

Plop!  (A picture of Lenny with a surprised look on his face and an angry look on the hermit crab’s face.)

Just when the hermit crab is getting ready to yell at Lenny for shaking him out of his home, his eyes grow wide with fear!  He is so scared he pees right there in the sand.

(A picture of Lenny laughing hysterically and pointing at the tiny puddle under the hermit crab.  The crab’s face is dark red.)

“Hey!  I’ve heard about you!  You’re that giant Leatherback sea turtle who keeps swimming all over the sea laughing at others who get hurt or embarrassed easily.  Why are you such a big bully?”

Lenny was stunned into silence.  His face reddened and he hung his head low.  Then he cleared his throat and said, “Others l…l…laugh at m…m…me all the t…t…time!”

The hermit crab was surprised.  He said, “Hey, you’re stuttering!  Is that why they laugh at you?”

Lenny nodded and a huge tear came sailing down on the hermit crab’s head with a mighty splash.  He fell down at the weight of it.  Then he walked back over to his house and crawled inside.  Sticking out his head he said, “I guess it feels embarrassing to stutter, huh?”

Lenny nodded again.  He said, “Everyone m…m…makes f…f…f….FUN of me all the t…t…time!  I hate it!  S…s…so I s…s…started laughing at them when they g…g…got hurt or emb…b…barrased!  Then when they were s…s…scared of me, I l…l…liked it!”

The little hermit crab said, “I don’t think that was nice of you, but I understand how you feel.  Sometimes other sea creatures don’t understand why I like to crawl inside of shells and carry them around on my back, so they make fun of me, too.  It used to hurt my feelings, but I just tell them I do it to protect myself from predators who want to eat me!”

Lenny said, “That makes sense.”

Ed asked, “Do you have any friends at all?”

“Nope.  N…n…not one.  No one l…l…likes me!  No one ever l…l…listens to m…m…me l…l…long enough for me to t…t…tell them how much it hurts to be made fun of.  I’m glad you did.  What’s your n…n…name?”

“Ed.”

Lenny started to laugh but caught himself and stopped.  He just grinned instead.  (His smile will look so goofy, it will make Ed laugh hysterically!)

Ed broke out into a fit of giggles.  He said, “I bet you were expecting me to tell you my name is Harry or Herman the hermit crab, huh?  I know everyone has a name that starts with the same letter as what they are, like Josh, the jellyfish, and Grace, the green sea turtle.  They are a couple of my friends.”

Lenny nodded his head and began laughing loudly.  “I’m sorry, but Ed?  Why are you n…n…named Ed?” he said.

“My parents thought it would be different to name me something that rhymes with my color!  You know, Ed rhymes with red?  Get it?”  He rolled his eyes.

When Ed locked eyes with Lenny, they both began laughing.  (Picture of Ed laughing so hard he falls out of his shell!)  The more they stared at one another, the harder they laughed.  Then Lenny gently picked up Ed’s shell and handed it to him.

“Thank you, Lenny.”  Ed said.

“You’re welcome, Ed.  Hey, will you be my friend?”

“I already am!” exclaimed Ed.

So Lenny and Ed became great buddies, and Lenny made many more friends in the sea.

The End

 © Patsy H. Parker

I was thinking about a softball coach I had when I was a kid who stuttered.  I loved him so much!  I don’t know if he was ever made fun of when he was a kid, though.  Anyway, this is for Ed Organ.  I love you Ed and still remember the sound of your voice!  R.I.P.

It is still rough, I know, but I am too tired to keep working on it today!  Ha, ha!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂  

And…critique away!

Lenny the Laughing Leatherback

Hello Friends,

The other night I was brainstorming my original story about Larry the Lonely Leatherback.  I wrote it and illustrated it thinking it might make a decent picture book.  Then I thought of this idea which is going in a whole different direction, and which is also longer in text.

I would love to hear what any other writers think of this story.   PLEASE feel free to leave constructive criticism.  I would greatly appreciate it!   I have not started on any artwork for this yet.

Lenny the Laughing Leatherback

Lenny loves to laugh.  He laughs when jellyfish sting other fish.  He laughs when octopuses get tangled up in seaweed.  He laughs when abalone are found and taken out of the ocean by divers.

The fish who get stung by jellyfish do not like Lenny.

The octopuses who get tangled up in seaweed do not like Lenny.

The abalone who are found and pried off of their rocks by divers do not like Lenny.

Lenny doesn’t seem to care if the fish, octopuses or abalone like him or not.  He is one of the biggest sea creatures in the ocean.  He is the largest type of sea turtle there is!  Sticking his nose up in the air as he swims by, he notices out of the corner of his eye that the other sea creatures just shake their heads at him.

The fish frown.

The octopuses ogle their eyes.

The abalone stamp their sticky feet!

So Lenny shrugs his massive shoulders and swims away.  He looks around for things to do to amuse himself.  He’s not hungry, so eating doesn’t appeal to him.  He’s tired, so swimming doesn’t appeal to him either.  In fact, Lenny’s biggest problem is…feeling bored all the time.  He doesn’t have any friends.  He just hasn’t realized yet that no one wants to hang out with bullies.  Lenny has given himself a bad reputation in the ocean so all of the other sea creatures try to get out of his way when they see him swimming towards them.

The fish who are swimming together scatter and hide in seaweed.

The octopuses camouflage themselves in the coral.

The abalone stick themselves to rocks so Lenny won’t see them shaking in their shells.

One day Lenny swims all day but doesn’t see any of the usual sea creatures about whom he usually sees.  He realizes they must be avoiding him.  His favorite place to swim is by the coral reef.  So he decides to go check and see if anyone is hanging around there.  The coral reef is Lenny’s favorite place to eat seaweed and jellyfish.  The gigantic mushroom-shaped jellyfish are his favorite food, especially the bright pink ones!  Sometimes they just can’t get away from his enormous mouth in time and he gobbles them up in one…two…three big bites.

Then he lets out a burp that can be heard all the way to China! (A bubble above his head says “Oh, pardon me!”)

Just as soon as the bubbles are gone from his enormous belch, he sees something skitter across the sea floor.  He stays as still as he can to see if it will move again, because he isn’t sure of what it is.  Lenny waits a little while and then hears a little clicking sound coming from under a seashell.  He looks at it curiously and decides to pick it up.

He doesn’t see the little hermit crab hiding inside of it at first.  So he shakes the shell swiftly.  The hermit crab holds his shell tightly with all of his claws, but Lenny is shaking his house so hard and fast that the little red crab falls out on the sand!  Plop!

Just when the hermit crab is getting ready to yell at the one who made him fall out of his home, his eyes grow wide with fear!  He is so scared he pees right there in the sand.  Lenny starts laughing hysterically and pointing at the tiny puddle under the hermit crab.  The crab doesn’t find this amusing at all.  His face turns even redder than his shell.  Then he scowls and yells at Lenny.

“Hey!  What do you think you’re doing you big bully?  You just made me fall out of my house!   That isn’t funny at all!  How would you like it if another sea turtle came along and gobbled up the jellyfish you were just getting ready to eat?  Do you think you would like that?”

Lenny was stunned into silence.  His face reddened and he hung his head low.  Then he cleared his throat and said, “Oh, I w…w…wouldn’t l…l…like that a…a….at all.”

The hermit crab was surprised.  He said, “Hey, you’re stuttering!  Have you always talked that way?”

Lenny nodded and a huge tear came sailing down on the hermit crab’s head with a mighty splash.  He fell down at the weight of it.  Then he walked back over to his house and crawled inside.  Sticking out just his head he said, “I guess it feels embarrassing to talk like that, huh?”

Lenny nodded again.  He said, “Everyone m…m…makes f…f…f….FUN of me all the t…t…time!  I hate it!”

The little hermit crab said, “I won’t make fun of you.  Sometimes other sea creatures don’t understand why I like to crawl inside of shells and carry them around on my back, so they make fun of me, too.  It used to hurt my feelings, but I don’t let it bother me anymore.  I just laugh and crawl away from them now.  Is that why you’ve gotten a bad reputation for being the biggest bully in the ocean?”

“I guess so.”

“What’s your name, big guy?”

“L…L…Lenny.  No one has ever l…l…listened to m…m…me l…l…long enough for me to t…t…tell them how much it hurts to be made fun of.  I’m glad you did.  What’s your n…n…name?”

“Ed.”

Lenny started to laugh.  He said, “I’m s…s…sorry.  I’m not making fun of you; I p…p…promise.  I was just exp…p…pecting a name like Hermie or Crabbie.  You know, like m…m…my n…n…name starts with an L, b…b…because I’m a Leatherback sea turtle.”  Then he smiled at Ed.

(Note:  The smile will look so goofy, it will make Ed laugh hysterically!)

Ed broke out into a fit of giggles.  Every time he stopped laughing, he would gaze up at Lenny and start giggling all over again.  He laughed so hard he fell out of his shell!

Then Lenny was laughing along with Ed.  He had made his first friend.  He decided it wasn’t nice to laugh at others in a mean way so he never did it again.

Lenny and Ed became great buddies, and Lenny made many more friends in the sea.

 

The End

 © Patsy H. Parker

 

I know this story needs work to become a picture book!  Please give me feedback.  I would greatly appreciate it. 

(I was thinking about a softball coach I had when I was a kid who stuttered.  I loved him so much!  I don’t know if he was ever made fun of when he was a kid, though.  Anyway, this is for Ed Organ.  I love you Ed and still remember the sound of your voice!  R.I.P.)

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

Gracie, the Green Sea Turtle, Chapter Eight

Happy Saturday, friends. Here is the next chapter of my children’s book. I would love some feedback and even kind criticisms. Thank you.
Also, I am having trouble getting my tags to work correctly. You can read the story in full on the PAGE that is called Gracie, the Green Sea Turtle.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug. 🙂

CHAPTER EIGHT

“Wait up, guys!” Gretchen puffed. She was having a hard time keeping up with everyone, because she hadn’t eaten yet, and knew her blood sugar was too low. “Wait! I can’t run that fast!”

They all stopped and turned around. “What’s the joke, slowpoke?” Samuel laughed.

Gretchen had to smile. She hadn’t heard that expression since she was little. “Ha, ha. Very funny, Samuel. I haven’t eaten since this morning so I am really running out of steam. Do you guys mind if I go back and eat something quick and catch up with you in a minute?”

Gracie said, “Do you want me to come with you? Just in case you pass out and people start walking all over you or something?”

Gretchen knew Gracie well enough to know that was a payback dig for what she had said earlier. Gretchen nodded. “If you wouldn’t mind. I’ll grab something to bring with me, okay?”

The boys looked at each other and Eddie said, “Well, okay then. We’ll wait for you down the beach. “Let’s go!” he yelled to Samuel.

“Yeah!” Then the boys took off racing each other.

When the girls began walking back, Gretchen said, “I’m not really super hungry. I just wanted to say I was sorry about what I said earlier. It totally slipped Gracie. Please believe me. I would never want to hurt you like that on purpose especially in front of the boy you like!” She grinned widely.

“It was kind of mean, but I know. I just wish I wasn’t so stupid. I wish I didn’t have to work so hard just to get a B!”

“You are NOT stupid! I wish you would stop saying that all the time. I know that is how this disability makes you feel, but everyone has some kind of limitation in some area of their life. Look at the kids at school who are physically handicapped and in Special Ed! Most of them hardly ever think about it, because they just know it is part of who they are. I think you just need to accept your disability and make up your mind to work hard. I don’t mean to sound like your mom, but I just think you would do so much better if you did. You know I’m always here to help you, too.” She bumped shoulders with Gracie, and Gracie bumped back. Then they began giggling and decided to turn around and run towards the boys and the turtle.

——————

When the girls reached the end of the beach, there was a small crowd there. They looked for the boys for a few minutes until they heard Eddie bellowing out their names and waving them over to where he and Samuel were sstanding. When the girls found them, they looked down at this amazing creature with mouths wide open.

Together they said, “Wow!” Then they bent down, slowly reached out and touched the sea turtle’s shell. The turtle’s eyes followed the movement of their hands, then she grunted.

Everyone crouched around her in a circle. They were all mesmerized by the enormity of her body. Her flippers alone were a couple of feet long and very wide. The boys didn’t have any words. They sat and examined every inch of her with curious eyes.

Suddenly she began moving her back flippers very swiftly. She began to dig in the sand. People grabbed their small children cautiously and told them to stand back. The kids squealed with delight. One child who looked to be about three years old yelled, “Look, Mama! She’s gonna dig a hole! She’s gonna dig a hole!” He clapped his hands and jumped up and down.

Eddie’s voice was speaking before he realized he was talking out loud, not just in his head. He was telling the child that she was digging a hole to lay her eggs in. The child put his hands on his hips and said, “I know! Everyone knows that!” The mother scolded him and made him apologize for being a smart-aleck. He did, but when she wasn’t looking, he stuck his tongue out at Eddie.

Samuel and the girls laughed, but Eddie scowled at him to try and scare him. It didn’t make any difference. He just stuck his tongue out again, but this time his mother saw him. She grabbed his hand and said, “Let’s go. If that’s how you’re going to behave, you don’t get to see the sea turtle anymore. I’m taking you back to your father.” Then she apologized to Eddie and left.

“Wow. What a goofy little kid!” Eddie said. “I bet he’s gonna get wailed on when he gets back to his dad!” Just then they heard a whack! and the little boy cryied out loudly. “Huh! I guess she didn’t wait to get him back to his dad after all!” Then he and the snickered.

“I wonder how long it’s going to take her to lay her eggs?” Gretchen questioned.

© Patsy H. Parker

Gracie, the Green Sea Turtle, Chapter Seven

Hello everyone. I’m getting back to my children’s book now that I have a little more time. The kids only have one more day of school before their Christmas break! However, our dog isn’t doing very well. She needs lots of prayers today.

Have a great day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂

CHAPTER SEVEN

When they came out of the water, Samuel shook out his long hair like a dog. The girls squeeled and laughed. They decided to go find Samuel’s mom. They reached the blanket a few minutes later and saw she had all of the food sitting out waiting for them. It was twilight by then, so they could still see what they were eating without flashlights. The tide was coming in a little bit, but they were far enough from shore so they didn’t have to worry about getting wet. Lucy saw the boys running towards her with the girls trailing behind laughing. She thought to herself how great it must be to feel so carefree.

Smiling, she waved them over to their spot. She said hello to the girls and welcomed them. “Wow!” Lucy laughed. “Did you decide to go swimming in your clothes?”

Samuel said, “No. The girls attacked Eddie, so I had to retaliate! Then it became a dunking contest, I think.” He smiled at Gretchen.

Lucy caught the look. She thought, Oh boy, he’s falling hard for her! How cute. Lucy asked the girls where their parents were to make sure they weren’t there alone. They pointed out Gracie’s mom.

“Is it okay if the boys come up to where my mom is so they can try some of her food, too?” Gracie asked.

“Sure. Do you guys want anything here first?”

Samuel said, “Heck yeah, Mom! Your fried chicken is the best! Of course,” he hesitated, “I haven’t tasted Gracie’s mom’s chicken yet.” He winked at her.

“Well, I’m sure hers is very tasty as well, Samuel.” She smiled at Gracie.

“Do you girls want to try a cookie?” Lucy asked.

“Sure. Thank you,” they said in unison as they reached out for one.

Eddie said, “You two sure do say the same thing at the same time a lot. It’s almost like you’re twins!”

Gracie said, “We might as well be. Our moms are best friends. We were born a month apart. I’M the oldest.” She elbowed Gretchen in the ribs.

“Yeah, I’ve been hearing that my whole life. She’s constantly rubbing it in.” Gretchen laughed. “But we both know I am smarter than she is. I’ve always gotten the best grades.”

Gracie’s smile faded quickly. She didn’t have a comeback for Gretchen’s boast either. Eddie noticed it and wondered if school was a sore subject he should avoid with Gracie. He filed the thought away.

They all sat down and started piling food onto their plates. Gracie said she wasn’t very hungry, but she took a chicken wing and some chips. Lucy asked her if that was all she wanted, and she replied that she wasn’t very hungry. Gretchen looked at Gracie and mouthed “sorry.” Gracie barely smiled and only nibbled at her food. After she was done eating, she said she wanted to go see if her mom needed anything. Gretchen asked her if she wanted company, but Gracie shook her head saying she would be right back.

When Gracie was gone, Eddie whispered to Gretchen, “Is she okay? She seemed to get upset about what you said. I thought you guys were just joking around.”

“She’s definitely upset! I shouldn’t have said that. It slipped. She has never gotten really good grades. No one could ever figure out why until last year when she had Mrs. Benson for English. Somehow she noticed mistakes in Gracie’s work that made her think she might have dyslexia. So she told Gracie’s mom. Her mom had her tested, and it was confirmed. It explained a lot about all of the problems she’s had all these years in school. It bothers her a lot, so she won’t talk about it with anyone…even me, and I’m her best friend! Her mom says she thinks Gracie just hasn’t accepted it yet. We are hoping she will come around before the school year starts again.

Eddie nodded. “Well, I understand how she feels. I have it, too. I was lucky enough to have a teacher in second grade who caught it. So there’s lots of techniques she can learn for studying that makes it a little easier once she learns them. It is still hard to study, though. Ever since I got help, I’ve liked reading a whole lot more. This might be a dumb question, but does she like reading?”

“She loves fiction, especially John Green’s books. But when her mom got one of them for her a couple of years ago for Christmas, she ended up reading it out loud to Gracie. I think that made her feel embarrassed, so she has been listening to books on CD ever since.”

“Well, maybe I can just talk to her about school sometime and bring up my dyslexia. Maybe she’ll talk with me about it. What do you think?”

“Hey!” Gretchen said excitedly. “I think that would be great! I hope she will talk about it with you. I hate seeing her like this. Oh look! Here she comes.” She held her index finger to her lips and said, “Shhh!”

Gracie was running towards them yelling, “Hey you guys! Guess what my mom heard?”

They all said, “What?” in unison. She stopped, bent over and caught her breath first. “She said someone about a half mile down the beach saw a sea turtle!”

The boys jumped up and said, “Really?”

Gretchen joined them and said, “Let’s go see! Let’s go see!” She was jumping up and down flailing her arms in the air.

Lucy said, “Well, don’t you want to eat first?”

The kids gave her a blank stare. Then Samuel said, “Mom, we want to go see it before it’s gone! Can’t you get someone to watch our stuff and go with us?”

She said, “No. I was just kidding. Go! Go! The food will keep. Just take the flashlight, and be careful.”

Samuel grabbed the flashlight and said, “Okay! We’ll be back in a little bit.” He turned to the others and said, “Come on! I can’t wait to see this! How lucky are we that it came tonight?”

Then they ran down the beach to find the sea turtle. Their laughter rang through the air while running as fast as they could.

© Patsy H. Parker

Gracie, the Green Sea Turtle, Chapter Six

By the time Samuel and his mom reached the beach, it was nightfall. They turned on their flashlights even though the back lights from people’s beach homes were all on. They walked along for awhile until they heard Eddie calling Samuel’s name. They looked in the direction of his voice to see him jumping up and down and waving his arms wildly. Samuel ran over to the spot he had saved. When he got there, he dropped all the stuff onto Eddie’s blanket.

“Wow, Eddie, you found a great spot! We’re close to the water, but not too close so that everything gets wet when the tide comes in more. There sure are a lot of people here. I hope the girls show up tonight.”

“They probably will. They usually come every year.” Eddie said. “I bet that…”

“Hi guys!” The boys turned to see the girls running toward them. They gave each other side glances and sly grins. The girls stopped suddenly in front of them giggling.

“Beat ya!” Gretchen said.

“Did not. It was a tie!” Gracie frowned. Then she looked at Eddie and smiled shyly.

“Hi ya, Eddie. When did you get here?”

“Oh, just a little while ago. How about you?”

“Yeah, me, too. We came together,” she said as she looked at Gretchen. “So whatcha guys been doing?”

“Nothing much yet. Samuel and his mom just got here. I was saving our spot. My parents are out of town.”

Gracie’s brows raised. “On the Fourth of July? Why?” she exclaimed.

Eddie blushed. He tried to look like it didn’t bother him. “Oh, ya know, some convention for work or something. They aren’t big on celebrating it. They’re always home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, though. Where are your parents?”

Gracie pointed to a spot up by the concession stand and said, “Up there. That’s our usual spot. My mom comes out here at like noon or something to make sure no one else takes it. She sits on the beach all afternoon until my dad comes. I had to sit there for a while this morning while she fixed our dinner for tonight and packed it up. We’re having fried chicken (cold of course), potato salad, coleslaw (because I don’t like potato salad), some kind of weird bean salad, a watermelon, and brownies I think. Geez, you’d think we had like ten people in our family or something! She always makes way too much food, then complains later when we have so much leftover. I don’t get it at all!”

Eddie stared at her while she talked thinking about how much he liked her and how she had been talking all this time without taking a breath. Her hands were waving all around at the same time. He thought it was cute. Then he heard her ask, “Is your mom like that, Samuel?”

Samuel was just staring at Gretchen and spacing out. Eddie poked him and said, “Hey! Gracie just asked you a question, dude! Weren’t you listening?”

Gretchen laughed and lowered her eyes without really taking them off of Samuel. She said, “Yeah, we heard her. So, Samuel. Does your mom make way too much food for you guys like Gracie’s mom does?”

“Uh…oh…no. We never have anything left. She doesn’t eat a huge amount, but Eddie and I can put it away!”

“Oh, well, then you guys will have to help put some of our food away.” said Gracie. “My mom would probably appreciate having big eaters around again since my brothers aren’t here any more. You don’t have to eat the salads if you don’t want to. You can just help with the watermelon and brownies.”

Eddie said, “I happen to like bean salads. Depending on the beans, that is. You know. I like the ones that make you f…” Samuel hit his shoulder and said, “Hey! I know what we can do. Let’s go down to the water and look for shells!” The girls looked at each other knowingly and giggled.

They said in unison, “Okay! Race ya!”

Eddie and Samuel took off running through the crowd followed by the girls. They yelled after them, “Hey! Wait up!”

Samuel turned around and yelled while running backwards, “You said it was a race! Come on. Try to beat us!” He winked.

They pumped their legs faster until Gretchen tripped and fell. Then Samuel stopped and ran to her and said, “Hey, are you okay?” just as she winked at him and kept going. He looked confused for a second until she and Gracie both yelled as they kept running, “It’s the oldest trick in the world, dude!” and giggled. He laughed out loud and yelled back, “Oh yeah? Well, we’ll see if it works.” Then he took off running after them as fast as he could, but even trying his hardest, he couldn’t catch up.

When they reached the water, it turned out Eddie had won and was doing a splashing victory dance and yelling, “Whoop! Whoop! Who’s the fastest? Yeah, that’s me!” The girls were splashing him for a minute, then looked at each other, nodded, and ran at him full force, dunking him under. Samuel ran to his rescue, pulled him up and then dunked each of the girls. They continued this craziness for a few minutes until the girls called a truce. Then they all looked at each other for a few seconds and burst into laughter. Samuel had never felt so happy in his life.

Copyrighted Patsy H. Parker

Gracie, the Green Sea Turtle, Chapter Five

At dusk Samuel and his mom started getting ready to meet Eddie at the beach. They could hear all the local people gathering near the shore already. The people who shot off the fireworks every year did it from the boat dock down the street by the harbor. They drove a boat out on the water as far away from the people as they could get. Samuel had never heard of anyone getting hurt from fireworks around there before. The men and women who put on the display had been doing it for many years.

Lucy asked him, “So do you have the blanket?”

“Check!” Saumuel said.

“The flashlight?”

“Check!”

“The picnic basket?”

“Check!”

“The food?”

“Ch…hey! What? The food is IN the picnic basket, Mom!”

“Gotcha!”

Samuel laughed and said, “Mom, you’re goofy!”

“Yep, that’s me! Okay, let’s go! Did Eddie say he was coming over or meeting us there?” she asked.

Samuel said, “Oh I guess he’s meeting us. He said he’d get there early and save our usual spot. I guess his parents had some kind of business barbecue to go to. He’s pretty bummed, so it’s up to us to cheer him up, okay?”

“That’s a shame. I can’t believe his father can’t just have one holiday with his family for a change. He really doesn’t know what he’s missing, does he?”

“Nope! Eddie’s such a great guy, and he never gets in trouble like other kids whose parents don’t spend enough time with them. I’m glad you leave your job at the office when you come home, Mom! I can’t imagine hardly ever getting to see you! That would be awful!”

“It would…just like racoons do to chicken eggs!”

“What?”

She grinned, “Oh that’s just something silly my mom used to say. You remember how she was!”

“Yeah. I miss Grandma and Grandpa, Mom. It’s not fair that everyone in our family had to die!”

“Well, not everyone died! There’s still my sister.” She raised an eyebrow.

“Hmmm. Yeah, it’s not fair that everyone in our family died!”

“Samuel! She means well. I think losing Clay hit her harder than any of us, even me. They were so close. She loved you, too, of course, but there was just something extra special about their bond. I’m not sure what it was. I think being around us is harder for her now.”

“Well, let’s go, Mom. No more serious talk tonight, okay? Let’s go have some fun!”

“Okay, buddy.”

© Patsy H. Parker

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